Alabama Senate Decides To Abolish Marriage Licenses Rather Than Give Them To Gay Couples

Alabama’s State Senate has decided to take their ball and go home, voting to abolish marriage licenses in the state so that judges don’t have to issue them to gay couples. Which is super cute.

The Senate voted 23-3 to pass a bill that would replace marriage licenses with a form couples would fill out to register their marriage with the state. Several Alabama judges have stopped issuing marriage licenses to all couples, gay or straight, since the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage at the federal level last June.

Before the bill can actually be made law, it has to be debated and voted on in the House and signed by Governor Robert Bentley, who in June said that despite his disagreement with the Supreme Court’s decision, Alabama must “follow the law.” Now that Alabama’s lawmakers have found a potential workaround, though, who knows?

The question then will be whether the forms are adequate to ensure marriage benefits. Kim Davis, Rowan County Clerk, instituted a similar workaround when she created marriage license forms that didn’t bear her name. The licenses issued in Rowan County are valid, but whether that gives us any clue as to how the Alabama workaround will work out is unclear. If the fact that Davis wasn’t investigated for misconduct is any indication, though, it seems like this bill and the non-issuing Alabama judges might be just fine in the end.


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