Senate passes bill taking state out of marriage business

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The Alabama Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would abolish the requirement that state probate judges sign off on marriages. To replace the age-old courthouse process, the bill would required a marriage contract to be signed under the witness of two adults. Those contracts would then be documented by the local probate judge.

A marriage ceremony would not be required

SB143 from Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Range) follows the U.S. Supreme Court ruling finding a ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional. Some Alabama probate judges have already stopped issuing marriage licenses, claiming that in providing a marriage certificate to a same-sex couple they are violating their religious convictions.

Albritton contends that the legislation will do away with such controversy.

Some senators voiced concern over the bill, noting that it would add to the current confusion and make it more difficult for military personnel to navigate receipt of marriage entitlements.

Rep. Patricia Todd (D-Birmingham), Alabama’s only openly gay lawmaker, opposed the legislation and advocated for county probate judges to do the job for which they were elected.

With its passage in the Senate, the bill is now on its way to the House of Representatives.

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