The Alabama Senate has passed a bill which would eliminate marriage licenses in the state and establish a process under which probate judges would accept affidavits from couples as official records of marriage.
The requirement of a ceremony to solemnize a marriage would be eliminated under the legislation, and the cost of submitting an affidavit to a judge would be the same as the current cost of a marriage license in the Alabama, AL.com reported.
According to Sen. Greg Albritton, the Republican who sponsored the measure, the new legislation would remove the state from any role in marriage ceremonies, properly separating church and state.
Albritton has proposed similar bills in the past, with the first being presented in 2015 following the legalization of gay marriage by the Supreme Court.
Alabama probate judges are not required to issue marriage licenses under current law. Following the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage, some initially declined to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples.
Albritton’s legislation would remove any discretion by probate judges. Under the new bill, the only requirement to obtain an official record of marriage in Alabama would be the submission of proper documents to the probate judge.
Required documents include an affidavit declaring that the spouses are at least 18 years of age, or at least 16 years of age and have obtained have parental consent, are not currently married and are not related by blood or adoption.
The bill now moves to the Alabama House of Representatives for its consideration.