Getting the state out of the marriage business


This past June, I wrote a guest editorial column published on AL.Com Here’s an idea: Get the government out of marriage all together. In it I posed the question, “Why is the government in the marriage business anyway?”

My premise was that while the government has a duty to recognize the contractual obligations of a marriage it should get out of the business of defining marriage and allow churches decide on an individual basis who they want to marry.

This week, Sen. Greg Albritton filed legislation that does just that.  Senate Bill 377 changes the law dealing with marriage and all references of marriage to “contract of marriage.” While I disagree with the fact in his bill he raises the fees associated with marriage, this bill offers an opportunity to get the state out of the contentious place of blocking same-sex marriages and allows individuals and families to move forward and focus on the many other important things happening in our state.

In an interview discussing his bill with AL.Com, Albritton said, “The sanctity of marriage cannot be sanctified by government of men. That is where we have gotten ourselves in trouble.”

This week as the U.S. Supreme Court looks at the definition of marriage and seeks to answer the question of whether there is in fact a right to marry, it is a positive step for those in our state who have been caught in limbo that Alabama is looking to change its own laws.

Photo Credit: Hal Yeager/AP