Alabama likely to trade marriage licenses for certificates

Local News

The state of Alabama is looking to get out of the marriage license business.

A bill that would replace the license with a certificate has passed both chambers of the legislature and now heads to the governor’s desk.

The bill passed the senate 26 to 0.

Lawmakers who support the bill say it would get the state out of the marriage business. But opponents say it’s born out of prejudice.  

It carries the same weight. It’s the same state recognizing this certificate of marriage, said Matt Simpson of Mobile. “It carries the same weight and approval from the state.” 

This bill comes after a few probate judges refused to issue marriage licenses following the Supreme Court decisions legalizing same-sex marriage. 

“I support it because it doesn’t require the probate judges to sign off on a marriage license,” said Representative Wess Allen of Troy.

During his time as probate judge, Allen stopped issuing marriage licenses all together. 

I believe marriage is between man and woman, as do a lot of Alabamians.  We passed a constitutional amendment back in 2006, about 80 to 20, in favor of defining marriage in the state, Allen said.

Representative Neil Rafferty voted against the bill. 

This bill was born out of prejudice. It accommodates a handful of judges that couldn’t check their personal feelings at the door, Rafferty said.  

This bill now heads to governor’s desk, where she is expected to sign it.

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