Bill nixes marriage licenses

Published 12:04 am Wednesday, May 29, 2019

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Marriage licenses will soon be no more in the Yellowhammer State.

The Alabama House of Representatives passed the final version of the bill last week, which ends the issuance of marriage licenses by probate judges.

Those married in Alabama will instead have to record documents that are deemed officials records of marriage.

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Gov. Kay Ivey still has to sign the bill into law.

Locally, Probate Judge Doug Agerton said once the governor signs the bill, his office will have more instructions.

Right now, Agerton said his office will continue issuing licenses as they have been with one party required to be an Escambia County, Ala., resident.

The Alabama legislature passed the bill in response to the 2015 landmark Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

That year and since, some probate judges in the state stopped issuing marriage licenses.

Probate judges held firm that the current law only states that they “may” issue licenses.

The new bill only requires probate judges to record the marriage document.

Local Sen. Greg Albritton, who sponsored the bill said it allows anyone to be married in their own county.

Those who wish to be married in Alabama must be 16, if OK’d by parents, or 18 without parental consent.

The new affidavit would simply require marriage applicants to confirm their age, that they are not already married, are not related and are competent.

The law also does about with the need for a minister to become married.

“The state shall have no requirement for any ceremony or proceeding and whether or not a ceremony proceeding is performed or not performed shall have no legal effect on the validity of the marriage,” the law reads.

Albritton said the only thing the state requires based on the new law is the form, or affidavit, be filed with the probate’s office.

He said he first filed the bill in March 2015. Some three months later, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to allow same sex marriages in the country.

Albritton said the bill, if signed, will allow every couple in every county of the state to get married.

If signed, the bill will take effect in 90 days.