Bill to eliminate marriage licenses moving quickly in Alabama Legislature

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. ( — A bill to eliminate marriage licenses and end the requirement for a marriage ceremony in Alabama is on the move in the state Legislature.

Sen. Greg Albritton, R-Range, has introduced the legislation several times since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in 2015 in the case Obergefell v. Hodges.

Albritton's bill, which has changed some from the initial version, has passed the Senate previously. Last week, senators made it one of the first bills they passed this session when they approved it on a 19-1 vote.

The House Judiciary Committee is scheduled to consider it on Wednesday, which could set it up for a final vote in the House next week.

Instead of applying for a marriage license, a couple would submit a form to the probate judge swearing that they are of legal age, are entering the marriage willingly, are not already married and are not related by blood or adoption. The probate judge would record the form as the official marriage document.

Albritton said he opposed the decision in the Obergefell case. But the senator said the bill is intended to bring the state into compliance with it and eliminate the discretion by probate judges on whether to issue a license.

"It requires that the form that's presented to be recorded must be accepted," Albritton said.

The cost of having a marriage document recorded would be the same as applying for a license.

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