Goodbye, marriage licenses? Maybe

Published 4:58 am Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Alabama Senate last week passed a bill to eliminate marriage licenses and instead move to a system in which marriages are recorded by probate judges.

Sponsored by Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Range), SB20 abolishes the requirement that a marriage license be issued by the judge of probate and replaces existing state marriage law to provide that a marriage would be entered into by two parties. Once the couple presented affidavits to the probate court, the judge of probate would record each marriage.

Under Albritton’s bill, a couple would submit a document to the probate judge signed by both parties that would include notarized affidavits certifying that they are of legal age, not already married and not related by blood or adoption.

If passed by the House, the only requirement for a marriage in Alabama will be for couples that are otherwise legally authorized to be married to enter into a marriage agreement as provided herein.

The legislature has seen similar bills proposed since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, but they have not passed.

As of October, there were eight counties that do not issue marriage licenses in light of the same-sex marriage issue. To be issued a license in Escambia County at least one party be a resident of the county.

The Senate passed the bill 22-6. It now goes to the House.