Alabama senator seeks to remove marriage licenses

The bill to remove marriage licenses passed through the Alabama Senate. Now, it will make its way to the House of Representatives.

Posted: Mar 22, 2019 7:23 PM
Updated: Mar 22, 2019 8:28 PM

A plan is going through Alabama government to stop marriage licenses. The Senate unanimously passed the measure, which is aimed at stopping local probate judges who don't condone same-sex marriage.

Under the new plan, couples would get "marriage forms." These are basically the same, but they are not technically "licenses." WAAY 31 spoke to couples getting their marriage licenses, and they said as long as it still means the same thing, it doesn't matter much.

"We don't care whether it's called a license, a form, a contract, smoke signal," said Reverend Richard Barham.

Barham has been presiding over marriages for more than 20 years at the Spirit of Cross Church in Huntsville. When he heard about a bill to end marriage licenses, he said it doesn't bother him.

"The forms would be on the state side of things. As far as the church goes, we'll continue to have our marriage ceremonies as we always have," said Barham.

In the past, some Alabama probate judges have refused marriage licenses to gay couples. This bill will get rid of the requirement to have a judge-issued license. Instead, couples will be required to fill out "marriage forms" at courthouses. Reverend Barham is gay, and he said he's monitored activity in Madison County over the years, and is happy with what he sees.

"Madison County Probate Office has been professional and welcoming. Even gay couples," said Barham.

He said he doesn't care what the document is called.

"Our position is that as long as the marriage rights are given to same-sex couples, that's the most important thing," said Barham.

Reverend Barham said he'll be watching closely as the bill now moves to the house.

"Every person is made in the very image of God and that it is a recognition of the love that our people have for one another," said Barham.

Madison County Courthouse officials said they only reject marriage licenses when couples don't have the required documents.

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