House to vote on taking the state out of the marriage business
January 30, 2018 Share

House to vote on taking the state out of the marriage business

PHOTO: Alabama Senator Greg Albritton (R – Range), released a statement yesterday explaining his bill, SB 13, which seeks to eliminate most of the state’s role in marriages. (Tyler Pruett | Southern Torch)

By Alabama Senator Greg Albritton (R – Range)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — EDITOR’S NOTE: Alabama Senator Greg Albritton (R – Range) wrote an explanation of his bill, SB13, which seeks to take the State of Alabama out of the marriage business. 

Albritton lists some of the intended things the bill will accomplish, and lists specific misconceptions that the bill will not do, including, “not eliminating marriage as an institution recognized by the State of Alabama or any other government entity.”

Senate Bill 13 has passed the vote of the senate and has currently cleared the House committee it was assigned. The bill must now pass the vote of the Alabama House of Representatives as House Bill 162, sponsored by Rep. Paul Beckman (R – Prattville). The issue could be voted on in the house this week. 

Once passed in the house, Governor Kay Ivey must approve the bill for it to be law. We’ll update as this issue progresses. 

Read the full statement from Albritton: 

“God established the institution of marriage for the benefit of mankind. Indeed, His purpose was to begin the human family within His bonds of marriage; as a Holy Union. I truly believe this.

Then Government stole marriage….. for its own purposes. A classic example is Henry VIII, who established his own church in order to achieve the destruction of his marriage. Henry is not the only example that we have, however throughout history the government has used marriage as a tool to effect its ends, including protecting government power (such as kings reigns), to the control of property and estates, to keeping a “pure” race.

And, then came the federal legalization of same-sex marriage.

Here in Alabama, the present codification of the marriage process, which came into effect in the 1920’s, requires that every couple must receive a State authorized license to be married. Additionally, that license must be presented to a licensed “minister of the gospel” so a “solemnization” may be accomplished. Afterwards, this form is filed in the courthouse, which establishes the marriage as recognized by the state.

Obviously, we have the state heavily engaged in a religious sacrament of the Church. It is no surprise that judges are confused about the line between government activities and church ceremonies. “Ministers of the gospel” may be just as confused when they pronounce a couple husband and wife “by the authority granted by the State of Alabama.”

My bill, SB13, clarifies and separates these very different roles by simplifying the procedure. The requirement of a State License is eliminated. No longer does a couple need permission, nor a license, from any government official to marry.

However, the protections of competency, age, incest, polygamy, or bigamy remain intact, and under my bill must be openly and legally stated in the documents by affidavit.

Further, the statutory requirement of a religious ceremony is eliminated. My bill allows ceremonies to take place, but the ceremony is not controlled or governed by the government.

This allows people to enter into religious ceremonial marriages, according to the dictates of their faith, without intoning the State of Alabama over this sacrament.

The procedure of recording a marriage remains intact. My bill requires a government form that is recorded in the Probate Office which establishes the marriage as recognized by the state, just as the present system.

There are specific things that this bill DOES NOT DO:

  1. It does not eliminate marriage as an institution recognized by the State of Alabama or any other government entity. The prepared form states “Marriage Certificate”
  2. It does not re-define marriage.
  3. It does not open the gates to all kinds of malfeasance.
  4. It continues to restrict marriage to two people who are of legal age, mentally competent, unrelated, and not already married, just like now.
  5. It does not increase any costs or fees.

The specific things this bill DOES accomplish are:

  1. It opens EVERY county to marriage. No public official can deny a properly completed form.
  2. It allows all religious beliefs to practice their religious ceremonies of marriage according to their faith and doctrine.
  3. It simplifies the process and gives greater freedom by removing the government from religious activities.
  4. Should the House see fit to pass this bill, Alabama will be the only state in the union that has appropriately and successfully resolved the dissensions brought on by the Obergefell decision.

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