In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing gay marriage, Alabama lawmakers are considering legislation to take the state out of the marriage process.
The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider a bill by Sen. Greg Albritton (R-Range) on Wednesday that would do just that.
The bill, which passed the Senate 23-3 last month, does away with state-issued marriage licenses. Instead, couples would bring in a signed marriage contract and file it with their county probate office.
The contract would include an affidavit declaring they are not related by blood or adoption, are not already married, are legally competent, and are of legal age to marry else have parental consent.
Civil or religious ceremonies would have no legal effect upon the validity of the marriage. The state would only recognize the legal contract signed by the two parties entering into the marriage.
Albritton introduced a similar bill in 2015 that also passed the state Senate, but died in the House.
‘“When you invite the state into those matters of personal or religious import, it creates difficulties,” Albritton told the Associated Press in 2015. “Go back long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. Early twentieth century, if you go back and look and try to find marriage licenses for your grandparents or great grandparents, you won’t find it. What you will find instead is where people have come in and recorded when a marriage has occurred.”