Thursday, June 4, 2015

Pay Attention To The Magistrate

And while I've got you in the mood, it seems Alabama will go to extraordinary lengths in order to circumvent any SCOTUS ruling authorizing same-sex marriages.

In Alabama, resistance to same-sex marriage continues. We saw a weekend of rallies in favor of traditional marriage. Beyond that, we have legislation making its way through the house right now that could get rid of the entire institution of marriage as we know it in Alabama. 
Right now, if you want to get married you go to the courthouse and the probate judge gives you a marriage license. 
Attorney Jake Watson explains, “[SB377] does away with that and requires parties to enter into a contract and file it at the courthouse, as I understand it.” 
This alters the fundamental way we’ve approached marriage for a long time. 
Watson continues, “It really does away with the traditional sense of a marriage certificate and what we’ve been dealing with in Alabama as far as marriage certificates for more than a hundred years, I believe.” 
The bill itself disposes of marriage certificates and replaces them with a contract that you file with the probate judge. 
But that could add confusion for all kinds of folks who rely on marriage to prove a link to the federal government, insurance companies or anyone else. Plus it would put up another barrier for same-sex marriage. 
Watson elaborates, “A statement that the parties are legally authorized to be married, that’s going to be the catch. What is legally authorized to be married? Under the State of Alabama Law, that would not include same-sex marriage.”

It's a pretty clever technicality that's going to cause serious headaches for anyone getting married in the state, and most likely make sure that same-sex marriages will continue to be outlawed in Alabama regardless. The courts will be tackling the question long after any June ruling.

So the real question is "what's the unintended consequences of the state getting out of the marriage license business" and how many other red states will follow suit?

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