Alabama Moves Closer to Getting Rid of Marriage Licenses

Last week the Alabama state Senate overwhelmingly approved legislation to get the state out of the marriage business.

SB377 would get rid of state-issued marriage licenses. Instead, the state would provide marriage contracts. The Tenth Amendment Center, which advocates for state rights, hails the legislation as a proper response to federal judges invalidating state bans on same-sex marriage.


First, it would render void the edicts of federal judges that have overturned state laws defining marriage. The founding generation never envisioned unelected judges issuing ex cathedra pronouncements regarding the definition of social institutions like marriage and the Constitution delegates the federal judiciary no authority to meddle in the issue. Marriage is a realm clearly left to the state and the people.

Second, the bill would get the state government out of defining marriage entirely as well, ending the squabble between factions that seek to harness the power of the state, thereby taking the burden off government officials who may be torn between what is legally required of them and their religious convictions.

The bill still has a few big hurdles to get over as it still must pass an Alabama House committee and then a full debate in the House. 

The proposal is similar to a proposal put forward by an Oklahoma lawmaker earlier this year after a federal judge struck down that state's ban on same-sex marriage.