Gay Marriage

If a State Can't Get Out of the Marriage Business, Can It at Least Get Out of the Licensing Business?

Legislation in Alabama aims to do just that.

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Is this enough info for the government?
Credit: Andrea Lodi aka Pelodia / photo on flickr

Alabama, home of infamous religious conservative Chief Justice Roy Moore, is not accepting the Supreme Court's decision to require states to recognize same-sex marriages all that peacefully. Marriage law in Alabama declares that county probate judges "may" issue marriage licenses, not "shall" or "must." As a result, probate judges in several counties have stopped issuing licenses altogether rather than be forced to license gay couples. Bigoted nonsense, but that's how the state set up its marriage system.

Now the state is casting about for solutions, and Republican state Sen. Greg Albritton is pushing forward a proposal to simply make it so that probate judges aren't responsible for handing out marriage licenses at all, nor is anybody in government in Alabama. Rather, he wants to make it so that marriage contracts are handled privately, then turned over to the county as records. The state would not be validating the marriages of the participants. The ceremony itself would be a private matter and the judge "would have no authority or responsibility to make determinations of eligibility of the parties to the contract for marriage, other than age determination."

The full Senate bill can be read here. I looked over it carefully for signs of some sort of trickery for Alabama to decline to recognize same-sex marriages. I didn't see it. It doesn't demand any particular type of private ceremony requiring a minister or religious solemnization. It declares the opposite:

A civil and independent or religious ceremony of marriage, celebration of marriage, solemnization of marriage, or any other officiation, and administration of the vows of marriage may be conducted or engaged in by the parties to the civil contract by an officiant or other presiding party to be selected by the parties to the contract. The state shall have no requirement for any such ceremonial proceeding which, if performed or not performed, will have no legal effect upon the validity of the civil contract.

What SB4 appears to do is set up the very basic terms to declare yourselves married in Alabama and then tell you to turn in a form to the state. Any confusion about the validity of one of these private marriages is pushed over to the courts, and the bill notes that this change in process doesn't affect any other "legal aspects of marriage in the state, including, but not limited to, divorce, spousal support, child custody, child support, or common law marriage."

So what say we? I know there's some libertarian disagreement on the viability of getting the government entirely out of marriage. In the absence of a clear path for doing so, is it worth pursuing a system where citizens tell their government that they're married (if they want to), rather than the other way around?

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  1. CAPTION

    “Welcome to Hell”

    1. +1 Nadine Cross

    2. I’ll see you in Hel…

      It all seems a bit redundant now,

  2. Shikha says ‘no’.

    1. ohhhhhh SNAP!

      1. Shikha should write a really chirpy and passive-aggressive article calling him out.

        1. I’d suggest an MMA style cage match between Scott and Shikha to settle the matter, but I’m pretty sure she’d choke him out in the first round. Since I support Scott’s position, better not go there.

  3. “Bigoted nonsense, but that’s how the state set up its marriage system.”

    If they’re not issuing licenses to anyone, how is it bigoted?

    1. They only stopped issuing licenses after SCOTUS told them to do so regardless of the licensees’ sex/gender.

        1. So,

          Equal rights.
          9th Amendment
          14th Amendment

          1. How is anyone not being treated equally?

            1. Did someone say they were?

              People are being treated differently based on what county they live in, though not based on sexual orientation as far as i can see.

              1. Micheal Hign is.

                1. I try to ignore him most of the time.

            2. Umm, homosexuals treated differently than heteros.
              Plus the Ninth and Fourteenth Amendments.

                1. I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT’S GOING ON!

    2. I took this to mean not the result is bigoted, but the means of getting there.

      1. What difference does it make? And why is it nonsense?

        1. It doesn’t in the end, it’s just an interesting fact.

      2. I still don’t see how it can be bigoted if the result isn’t arbitrary discrimination. It seems more like they’ve accepted the change of the law so they refuse to participate in the process altogether. It’s no more bigoted than if a doctor protested Obamacare by refusing to treat anyone. There’s a difference between protesting and discriminating.

        1. *sigh* Again… I think he is not talking about the result. Do you disagree that the only reason they’re doing this is so they don’t have to bless gay marriages?

            1. Well, *that’s* the bigoted part.

    3. Alabama is conforming to Kennedy’s ruling in a way that does not socially signal spproval of homosexual relationships. He is upset thaz winning in court does not mean that everyone accept his ideology.

  4. “Bigoted nonsense, but that’s how the state set up its marriage system.”

    If they’re not issuing licenses to anyone, how is it bigoted?

    1. mind the squirrel droppings

    2. Excellent question.

      I thought the bigotry was in treating gays different from straights.

      Treating them both the same is bigoted, how, Scott?

      I mean, isn’t this the pie-in-the-sky libertarian solution? And now its “bigoted”?

      Your resistance to proggy/SJW memes needs boosting, my friend.

      1. It’s bigoted because of the underlying motivations for this particular burgh to stop issuing licenses. The fact that they accidentally made the correct libertarian solution increasing individual liberty and reducing the footprint of the state is the icing on the cake.

        1. It’s almost like intentions matter more than results.

          1. The intentions were bigoted nonsense.

            The result was libertarian.

            Separate questions.

          2. That’s why Scott spent two words denouncing the judges and the rest of the article neutrally describing the development, with a pretty clear hint that this is a positive step.

            God damn it, people.

            1. What do you mean “people”?

      2. If you still currently need a license and they are refusing to issue them to anyone, then they are just being crybabies.

        Who knew they were such fragile little things?

        1. So you support licenses? If not, why do you care why they stopped? It looks to me like you want to stick it to the evil fundies than you care about freedom.

          1. The legislation to make it registration only hasn’t passed yet, so licenses are still required to be marry in Alabama. That they won’t allow anyone to get married just to keep gays from getting married has all the philosophical nuance of a 2-year-old holding their breath until they get what they want.

            1. So if you don’t have the government’s permission, you are not married? I don’t think so.

              People are still getting married. You are just pissed the gays can’t stick it to the people you hate.

              1. Come on, John. Until the new law goes into effect, you need the license for things like employer health insurance and other things that require proof of marriage. So the judge is making life difficult for anyone who wants to get married in the county so he can stick it to the fags.

                1. No you don’t Zeb. Why do you think those companies won’t accept the contracts? There is nothing that says they can’t and I doubt insurers want to fuck all of their married customers in Alabama

                  1. The law that says private contracts are what counts as marriage is not in affect yet. So the contracts don’t exist yet. Once that change has been made (assuming it passes), everything will be fine. But in the interim it makes things difficult for some people.

                    1. Does not matter Zeb. They don’t need a law to do it and they have every reason to do so. What on earth makes you think the employers and insurance companies will not adapt to this on their own?

                    2. There are reasons why employers would not give the spousal insurance. If you aren’t married in the eyes of the state, you (or your employer) have to pay taxes on your spouse’s insurance. That is one huge reason right there.

                      I give up. You seem determined to believe that everyone but you is lying about their motivations. Pretty much everyone here thinks that the proposed change in the marriage law is good. The only problem here is the judges who are, for the moment, not allowing any marriages in their counties. It is not obvious as you seem to think that employers will all immediately change their benefits policies for the benefit of the residents of a few counties in Alabama. That’s it. Hopefully it will be sorted out soon and it won’t be a problem anymore.

                    3. You offer spousal benefits as a benefit Zeb. You do that to attract employees and keep them happy. It would be a pretty stupid employer who would deny the benefit to newly married employees over this. And any insurance company who did it would be screwing their customers.

                      Do you honestly think that private employers and judges have no ability to adapt? I give up if you are that stupid.

                    4. There is a reason why a lot of employers offer benefits to spouses, but not unmarried domestic partners. And that is because of how they are taxed. You know damn well that a big part of the reason employers offer health insurance benefits is tax policy. And that marital status has a lot to do with how you are taxed.

                2. I don’t recall at anytime while I was married being required to provide proof (the actual license/certificate/whatever it was) to anyone (employers, government, etc)

                  1. I don’t recall at anytime while I was married being required to provide proof (the actual license/certificate/whatever it was) to anyone (employers, government, etc)

                    I definitely did. In fact it was the entire reason why I got legally married.

                3. Until the new law goes into effect, you need the license for things like employer health insurance and other things that require proof of marriage.

                  Forcing employers to provide insurance upon government validation of your relationship is, of course, libertarian as all fuck.

              2. OK, I see you are just going to spew gibberish. Have fun jacking off into your own mouth for yet another fucking thread.

                1. So you can’t be married without the government? Why can’t you sign a contract if that is what the state says to do? Why would an employer or even the Feds not recognize it given the circumstances?

                  You butt hurt over this is revealing. You apparently love government marriage as long as the gays are ion on the action

                  1. You are the only one butthurt here, John. You been whining about this for weeks now.

                    Also, try reading the fucking article.

                    1. I am not butt hurt at all. I think this is great. Don’t you?

                    2. Go try to project on someone else.

                    3. Are you happy about this or not? I am very happy. If you are not, why not?

                    4. Also, try reading the fucking article.

                      LOLOLOL

              3. Come on John, there are plenty of reasons to have the government recognize their marriage other than sticking it to people they hate. For example, getting spousal benefits from their work (I don’t know if there are civil union mandates in Alabama or not). Additionally, you mentioned all the stuff about the marriage law that comes along- divorce, custody, etc.

                I agree that, given time, private solutions to these needs can arise. But those solutions don’t exist unless you go and spend time with lawyers who are willing to try a bunch of speculative contract writing with no clear understanding of how it will be interpreted in court.

                That a judge is inflicting these costs on everyone because he doesn’t want gays to enjoy those same benefits is pretty bigoted.

                1. Yeah, the companies in Alabama won’t change their policies and treat the contracts like licenses?

                  You really believe that? You guys are desperate.

                  1. John, I want to point out once again that the contracts are not yet considered legal marriages.

                    I think that the proposed change in how marriage is handled by the state is great and every state should do the same. But it is not in place yet. So, no, I don’t think it is likely that companies will change their policies until the law is settled and it is clear what will be considered a valid marraige.

                    1. Zeb there is nothing in the law that says they are not legal marriages and nothing to stop courts and employers from considering them as such. That is exactly what is going to happen and you know it. Hundreds of couples get married every week in Alabama. No way in hell are those couples contracts not going to be treated just like licenses.

                      You people are just but hurt over this because you can’t use gay marriage to fuck your enemies. That is it.

                    2. No way in hell are those couples contracts not going to be treated just like licenses.

                      Marriage Certificates are not licenses.

                    3. So what? That doesn’t mean employers won’t treat them like they are.

                    4. And you are wrong Zeb. Whatever the law, people are still married and companies have no reason to treat them otherwise. You are just pretend they won’t because you let this subject make you stupid.

                    5. Companies absolutely have a reason to treat them otherwise: the exercise of religious freedom. After all, that’s exactly why you back laws like this.

                    6. No, I’m not wrong. Show me a court in Alabama which has recognized a private contract as a valid marriage. The law allowing that hasn’t fucking passed yet. Yes, people are in fact married whether or not they are registered with the state. But as far as tax status goes, they are not. The legal fiction is, unfortunately, what matters here, not the reality.

                    7. Providing “family” health insurance in one reason to treat them differently, and many more employers provide only single coverage since ACA. Also true for other benefits which are far less costly than healhcare.

                2. That a judge is inflicting these costs on everyone because he doesn’t want gays to enjoy those same benefits is pretty bigoted.

                  It’s not a judge inflicting anything, it’s the way the AL law is written

                  FTFA:

                  Marriage law in Alabama declares that county probate judges “may” issue marriage licenses, not “shall” or “must.”

                  So, the gayz can still be married in AL, they just need to find a willing probate judge. This also means a county probate judge in AL doesn’t have to marry a hetero couple either if they don’t want to.

                  1. This also means a county probate judge in AL doesn’t have to marry a hetero couple either if they don’t want to.

                    They issue licenses.

            2. Reminds me of the counties in Virginia that shut down their public schools in the 1950s rather than comply with Brown vs. Board of Education.

              1. And if that had stuck, it would have been a bad thing?

              2. Reminds me of the counties in Virginia that shut down their public schools in the 1950s rather than comply with Brown vs. Board of Education.

                Heaven forbid someone send their kids to the school they want to send them to.

      3. I thought the bigotry was in treating gays different from straights.

        No, that’s discrimination, possibly motivated by bigotry. The attitude toward gay people that lead to stopping issuing licenses would appear to be the bigotry part.

        I don’t think Scott is saying that the state of affairs is bigoted (I don’t think that even makes sense), just the judge’s motivation.

        1. Did ANYONE read the fucking article?
          The bigotry is probate judges being allowed to violate equal rights.

          1. violate equal rights

            What are those?

            1. What are those?

              Ask Scott

              1. Give me your theory of “equal rights”. I’m eager to learn.

                1. Give me your theory of “equal rights”. I’m eager to learn.

                  You said that in public?

                  The foundation of rights is that they are endowed by a Creator. Or natural law. How could they NOT be equal? It’s YOUR job to prove equal rights do not exist. Here’s that foundation:

                  We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.-

                  Which is the foundation for the 9th Amendment.

                  1. You said that in public?

                    I don’t understand why you keep saying this. Are you trying to conjure up the dark forces of groupthink to crush me?

                    The foundation of rights is that they are endowed by a Creator. Or natural law. How could they NOT be equal? It’s YOUR job to prove equal rights do not exist. Here’s that foundation:

                    Yeah those are called natural rights. Not “equal rights”. Equality before the law is a principle of natural law, not an natural right in and of itself.

                    We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,

                    They’re not actually. Some men are stupid, some are smart. Some have serious defects that prevent them from exercising even very basic agency. That’s not to say that people aren’t born with the same rights by virtue of their humanity. Or that their rights aren’t equally applicable, but there does not exist a separate category of rights called “equal rights”.

                    Now give me a theory of “equal rights” or you can just call them “rights” or “natural rights”. The concept of equal rights is a pseudo classification of rights in and of themselves.

                    As far as the constitution goes, equality before the law isn’t even close to being practiced in any way. Equality of individuals before the law precludes a state.

                    1. I don’t understand why you keep saying this. Are you trying to conjure up the dark forces of groupthink to crush me?

                      Umm, that you’d make an ass of yourself in public,

                      The foundation of rights is that they are endowed by a Creator. Or natural law. How could they NOT be equal? It’s YOUR job to prove equal rights do not exist.

                      Yeah those are called natural rights. Not “equal rights”. Equality before the law is a principle of natural law, not an natural right in and of itself.

                      (Laughing hysterically) “They’re called natural rights not equal rights, but they’re equal.”

                      I put “foundation” jn bold for the mentally challenged.
                      Equality before the law is not equal rights?.(OMG)

                      We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,

                      They’re not actually. Some men are stupid, some are smart. Some have serious defects that prevent them from exercising even very basic agency. That’s not to say that people aren’t born with the same rights by virtue of their humanity.

                      Same rights = equal rights (snicker)
                      Made a TOTAL ass of yourself on “all men are created equal.”

                      I already knew you’re a blowhard playing mindgames.

          2. Did you? The judges *aren’t* violating equal rights.

            They are refusing to do their fucking jobs because to do so would mean serving homosexuals.

          3. The bigotry is probate judges being allowed to violate equal rights.

            There is no violation of the law or of equal rights. The judges have stopped issuing licenses to anyone who asks for them universally, as is there prerogative under state law.

            Did ANYONE read the fucking article?

            Does it really matter when you can’t comprehend what you read?

        2. I don’t think Scott is saying that the state of affairs is bigoted (I don’t think that even makes sense), just the judge’s motivation.

          BINGO.

          1. OK, that’s a distinction I can live with. Doing the right thing for the wrong reasons. Got it.

            Hihn’s assertion that probate judges are being allowed to violate equal rights is nonsense. Equal rights are only violated if they treat gays and straights differently. They aren’t.

            1. Hihn’s assertion that probate judges are being allowed to violate equal rights is nonsense.

              1) I was correcting the error on WHY Scott said it was bigotry.
              2) People in a small number of counties are treated differently than the majority of state residents.

              1. 2) People in a small number of counties are treated differently than the majority of state residents.

                Jurisdiction, people are treated differently in different jurisdictions, but not differently within those jurisdictions. That’s how jurisdictions generally work.

                1. That’s how jurisdictions generally work.

                  I was correcting the errors on WHY Scott said it was bigotry.

                  Are you aware of any states where counties have different qualifications for drivers licences?

                  1. Are you aware of any states where counties have different qualifications for drivers licences?

                    States don’t deal with driver licenses the same way as marriage licences. Driver’s licenses are handed out by a state bureaucracy and marriage licenses are traditionally dealt with by a court or magistrate.

                    Your point is lacking.

                    1. Jurisdiction, people are treated differently in different jurisdictions, but not differently within those jurisdictions. That’s how jurisdictions generally work.

                      States don’t deal with driver licenses the same way as marriage licences.

                      Get back to me when you make up your mind on this.

                    2. Get back to me when you make up your mind on this.

                      Get back to me when you make your point.

            2. Hihn’s assertion that probate judges are being allowed to violate equal rights is nonsense. Equal rights are only violated if they treat gays and straights differently. They aren’t.

              He’s also wrong because “equal rights” aren’t a real concept.

              1. He’s also wrong because “equal rights” aren’t a real concept.

                You said that in public? 14th Amendment? Unalienable rights in 9th Amendment?

                1. The pertinent section of the 14th is about equal protection of the laws, which is not “equal rights”.

                  The 9th is safeguard against the argument that ‘the only rights people have, are the ones directly spelled out in the constitution’.

                  1. The 9th is safeguard against the argument that ‘the only rights people have, are the ones directly spelled out in the constitution

                    Where does it say they’re unequal?

                    The pertinent section of the 14th is about equal protection of the laws,

                    BECAUSE we have equal rights! We cannot delegate that which we don’t have/

                    which is not “equal rights”.

                    The consequence of them.

                    1. Where does it say they’re unequal?

                      You’re the one who brought up the 9th amendment to support your case for some reason. It’s up to you to tell me how it says that everyone has “equal rights”.

                      BECAUSE we have equal rights! We cannot delegate that which we don’t have/

                      Try to start making some sense. The 14th ostensibly binds government to enforce the laws equally. That doesn’t mean there is a category of rights called “equal rights”.

  5. It still restricts people’s right to contract by mandating things like community property if there is ever a split. It is unclear how much it limits the other coercive end of government marriage, the requirement for everyone to recognize a marriage. In leaving the issue to the courts, it likely won’t do much to solve that either. It is, however, a good start. Once you stop giving licenses and start calling marriages contracts, then it is much easier to make it so people don’t have to recognize them if they don’t want to and to get courts to enforce the terms of them instead of just enforcing terms set by family law.

    1. Exactly, it is a good start. Right now there is so much law wrapped up in marriage that it is going to take awhile to disentangle it. Ideally, we’d see everything around community property, custody, etc relegated to a private contract. But until then, this is the first start.

      And as you noted, regarding “forcing marriage recognition” there is a real problem with how the law interacts with private parties. We’ve mandated all these things around spousal benefits that something needs to happen. Either the government says “It’s all up to the business what it will recognize” or they need to switch everything to Civil Unions or something like that. I have a hard time seeing how either gets through the shrill cries of activists on both sides.

      1. Here’s a question: Is there any useful purpose to having state licensing or registration of marriage if some requirement that other people recognize the marriage doesn’t exist? As long as tax laws consider marital status, it seems like employers, at least, would have to be required to accept that certain employees are married if the state says so. Of course, I would prefer that marital status have nothing to do with how you are taxed.

        1. Yes. It lets the public know you are married. It is just notice so you can’t defraud people that is it.

          1. What does defrauding people mean with respect to marriage if your whole issue is that no one should be required to recognize anyone else’s marriage anyway?

            1. Then don’t require it to be registered. I don’t care.

              why are you so butt hurt over this?

              1. Because you’re contradicting yourself all over the thread.

                1. No I am not. Above I was talking about how it will work in the aggregate. Here I am talking about how it can work in the off case where the person has a reason to object to the marriage.

                  It is not hard. You just let this topic make you stupid.

                  1. where the person has a reason to object to the marriage.

                    A reason such as what? Serious question. Your whole thing is to let people say, “no, actually you’re not married” whenever they want to. That tosses the idea of fraud out the window by making marriage a subjective state rather than an objective one.

            2. What does defrauding people mean with respect to marriage if your whole issue is that no one should be required to recognize anyone else’s marriage anyway?

              So that those who do want to recognize a marriage aren’t cheated. I’m for abolition of legal tender laws, so nobody has to accept an official currency, but I’m not for legalizing counterfeiting.

        2. Well I see two purposes today.

          1) Law gives married couples default presumptions that would have to be delegated to contracts. Having spent good money setting up family trusts, there would be additional cost for married couples to hammer out contracts rather than using defaults provided by the state. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing- I definitely believe it would be good for each couple to set all terms of their marriage- but it is a benefit that married couples enjoy today.

          2) There are certain areas where the government may force businesses to recognize a legal spouse (or Civic Partner). In some states, if you offer any spousal benefits (like life insurance) you have to offer it to all eligible employees spouses or perhaps to civil partners as well. In a free market, a business could say “I’m only giving this benefit to the employee and an opposite gender partner of their choosing”.

          #2 will be difficult to undo since the left will reject any legislation freeing businesses to have anti-gay benefits. There might be room to create a legal “Incorporated Family” construct that lets an employee purchase (through labor and paycheck withdrawals) any benefit for the Family, blind to the employer.

          Tax law is least of your worries, since those are federal/state forms that really don’t impact the employer other than administrative (how many deductions, etc).

          1. Law gives married couples default presumptions that would have to be delegated to contracts. Having spent good money setting up family trusts, there would be additional cost for married couples to hammer out contracts rather than using defaults provided by the state.

            If you want your contract to follow the conventions of state law, what is there to “hammer out”? Write it up and make 10,000 copies if you need them

          2. There would be additional cost . . . to hammer out contracts rather than using defaults provided by the state.

            Here’s the deal.

            Not every contract has to be written from first principles.

            1. Those default provided by the state are already written down – its just a matter of copying them over to your contract and making appropriate changes.

            2. Eventually people will experiment and those experiments will provide a *variety* of contracts that serve different niches. All people have to do then is, again, copy those new defaults that work well and make any changes as appropriate.

            The ‘upfront’ cost of getting the government out of marriage is negligible. Its on the *back* end, as conflicts arise in ‘non-standard’ marriages that require adjudication, where the majority costs lie.

    2. Once you stop giving licenses and start calling marriages contracts,

      They’ve been called marriage certificates for at least 50 years, likely longer. There seems to be confusion between marriage licenses which grant permission — and marriage certificates, which record the marriage (like a deed or title)

      1. You don’t need a license to be married. Marriage is a civic institution that the government recognizes not something it creates. If the government stopped existing tomorrow would you no longer be married??

        1. The license is valid for only 30 days in Alabama. You may be confusing the license with the Marriage Certificate.

          For them to stop recording certificates would be like stopping to record property deeds.

    3. Once you stop giving licenses and start calling marriages contracts, then it is much easier to make it so people don’t have to recognize them if they don’t want to

      But you’ve been saying above that of course they’ll be recognized by people’s insurance companies…

      1. Yes in most cases they will be. They very few people who don’t will be free not to. The point is to protect the minority who refuse to recognize gay marriages. The vast majority will. And even the minority will recognize straight marriages.

        1. First, let’s note that one of the big reasons this even matters is that the government has fucked up Health Insurance- giving employers too much control over our insurance.

          That said, if we didn’t fix that component (giving employees more power to purchase “gay friendly” insurance policies), a way to address it is by (as I noted above) giving employees the ability to form a Family incorporation that is blind to the employer. The employee get’s to purchase whatever benefits they want and the employer doesn’t know if they are going to kids, woman, man, whatever. That is a pretty complicated remedy though.

          1. So the employer has no right to know what his money is being spent on? The solution is to let employers provide whatever benefits they want.

  6. I wonder if Alabama is getting one over or if they just think they are getting one over.

    But registration with the state is freer than license by the state, and it seems that religious conscience is only being violated in the abstract rather than the individual level.

  7. If I can tell my government that I’m a woman, and become qualified for women & minority low interest reparation loans, I can tell my government I’m married!

    Now the last step is the ability to tell your government you’re divorced.

    “Nope, sorry, don’t know anything about that credit card, I’m divorced!”

  8. From what you say, it sounds like a perfectly reasonable policy instituted for dubious motives.

    To which I say, “So what?”.

    A policy like this would have obviated the whole Kultur War bullshit we got stuck with around the issue. It would really be best if we could find ways to extend the underlying principle to as many cultural-political issues as we can find.

  9. Awesome first step.

    Now all they need to do is start repealing all the laws that establish entitlements based upon it.

    *Fd’A takes a deep breath and holds it*

    1. List these entitlements.

      1. 1. Spouse gets a police officer’s pension for life if he wrecks his car and is killed while texting an underage girl.

        1. That is a contract issue. Most pensions require you to pay a steep price for survivor benefits.

          1. I’m not sure I understand. If the state will only award legal spouses survivor benefits, and they deny gay people the right to become a legal spouse, then that’s pretty clearly unfair.

            1. Paul, you should understand by now that all of the legally-created benefits that spouses enjoy currently are nothing more than a semantic game of jerking off. They aren’t real benefits.

              Go lay your objective reality on someone else. We’re not fooled one bit.

            2. The problem is that the unmarried straight partner can’t get it either not marriage. But I have this weird idea that straights are equal to gays.

              1. So, it sounds like an ‘entitlement based on marriage’ to me.

      2. We already covered the ludicrous immunity from testifying against your spouse. Then there’s presumptions of inheritance and power of attorney, etc. etc.

        1. Those aren’t benefits Hugh. They just give your spouse an advantage when you are dead or incapacitated, whether you like or not.

          1. Silly me. How could I have confused a ‘benefit’ with an ‘advantage’, which is a wholly and categorically different thing?

            1. Benefit: something people in unions get.

              Advantage: Something white people have.

        1. Hey, I started him with 1 (random), let him find the rest.

          1. Cue John telling us that those are restrictions… oh, I see he already has.

      3. Spousal Elective Share

        1. That is not a benefit. It is a restriction on the right to contract.

      4. The ability to file taxes jointly.
        Inheritance entitlements.
        Automatic responsibility for debt.
        Automatic child custody.
        No fault divorce.
        The ability to make health decisions for spouses unable to.

        None of these things need to be law. People can pick and choose what they want in a marriage contract and then the only government action required is to mediate disputes if such a contract is reneged upon.

        1. The 1,138 statutory provisions in which marital status is a factor in determining benefits, rights, and privileges, is just a figment of your fevered imagination FdA, so that you can stick it to the people you hate.

          It’s pathetic, really.

          1. Thanks for the llnk, JW

          2. There are tens of millions of unmarried couples who live together, with children and property, and forgo these 1,138 statutory provisions.

            Perhaps they are not as essential as you think.

            1. Choice. How the fuck does it work?

        2. None of these things need to be law. People can pick and choose what they want in a marriage contract and then the only government action required is to mediate disputes if such a contract is reneged upon.

          To a point. Pubsec employees shouldn’t get to choose if a spouse gets their survivor benefits. Why do I have to reach into my pocket to keep your wife in catnip if you wrecked your car while sexting a teenager?

          1. They pay for that. You give up benefits to get that. And if your spouse dies first, you don’t get your money back. The government generally makes money on that. It is called an annuity table. Look it up.

            You guys literally know nothing about this subject

            1. An Annuity is fixed amount of money, distributed at an amount per month until depleted. An Annuity Table shows how long the sum will last, typically at various interest rates,

              It has nothing to do with the lower monthly payments from a “Joint and Survivor” option at retirement, which apply to fixed benefit pensions.

      5. List these entitlements.

        Here you go, John.

      6. Hmm.

        How about combining income on tax forms. Me and my best friend live together – we’re not going to get to file a joint return because we most definitely do not live as spouse.

        Larger deduction when filing.

        Spouse can’t be forced to testify against spouse

        Estate planning

        SS/Medicare/Disability benefits can be ported over to a spouse after your death

        Spouses can access military veteran benefits, including college tuition

        Worker’s Comp for deceased spouse

        Making medical decisions for a spouse if they are incapacitated

        Consenting to after-death examinations and other procedures

        Equitable division of property protections in divorce

        Living in neighborhoods *zoned* for families only

        Suing someone for the wrongful death of your spouse.

  10. “Bigoted nonsense”

    Nuh-uh it’s just a remarkable coincidence in the service of freedom.

  11. Rather, he wants to make it so that marriage contracts are handled privately, then turned over to the county as records.

    What? This is anarchy! Dalmia convinced me this was not possible.

    1. No, she said it might be possible but we cannot do it because the Conservatives pushing it are icky.

  12. OT: CEO who made headlines by enacing a $70,000 minimum wage for ALL company employees has employees explain incentives to him:

    Two of Mr. Price’s most valued employees quit, spurred in part by their view that it was unfair to double the pay of some new hires while the longest-serving staff members got small or no raises. Some friends and associates in Seattle’s close-knit entrepreneurial network were also piqued that Mr. Price’s action made them look stingy in front of their own employees.

    Maisey McMaster was also one of the believers. Now 26, she joined the company five years ago and worked her way up to financial manager, putting in long hours that left little time for her husband and extended family. “There’s a special culture,” where people “work hard and play hard,” she said. “I love everyone there.”

    1. She helped calculate whether the firm could afford to gradually raise everyone’s salary to $70,000 over a three-year period, and was initially swept up in the excitement. But the more she thought about it, the more the details gnawed at her.

      “He gave raises to people who have the least skills and are the least equipped to do the job, and the ones who were taking on the most didn’t get much of a bump,” she said. To her, a fairer proposal would have been to give smaller increases with the opportunity to earn a future raise with more experience.

      A couple of days after the announcement, she decided to talk to Mr. Price.

      “He treated me as if I was being selfish and only thinking about myself,” she said. “That really hurt me. I was talking about not only me, but about everyone in my position.”

      Already approaching burnout from the relentless pace, she decided to quit.

      Now the company is struggling financially.

      To be fair to the CEO, I don’t think he’s a socialist, and I think some of the criticisms of him are wrongheaded. It’s clear by his age that he got the idea from a BuzzFeed Listicle and decided to act without thinking. This kind of thing is to be expected when the CEO of a corporation is 14 years old.

      http://www.zerohedge.com/news/…..edy-ensues

      1. I didn’t know he was a hipster doofus – tho I guess I should have. What a dope.

        1. Note the ages of the top corporate employees. She is now 26, and she joined the company 5 years ago. She was “swept up in the excitement”.

          I mean, this whole thing is a microcosm of the stupid that goes into the $15 Now! campaign. Get caught up in the excitement, the press, the glowing media, and then shit yourself when you start seeing the long term, real-world consequences.

        2. I’m beginning to think we need not only an increased minimum age, but an increased minimum age.

          1. first age should be wage. But it kind of needs to be said twice.

          2. I’ve started thinking that about driving: the older I get, the older should be the age for a driver’s license. Right now, I’m thinking it should be about 35.

            1. Was that you I passed on the way to work doing 10 under in the fast lane with the blinker on?

              1. You laugh now, youngster. Actually I think the driving age should be limited to the age group, 35-65. This age range, of course, will move as I get older.

              2. You live in Seattle too?

                1. Nope. Summers in western CO, rest of the year in the midwest.

      2. This is what I love about Washington state. I know so many brilliant people there who are bleeding heart liberals- not your anti capitalist raging progs, just people who want to ameliorate suffering and haven’t thought about the consequences of these types of decisions. And without fail they call for this type of action until it impacts them personally and they realize the consequences.

        1. That and people who think Jimmy Graham is going to be totes awsum in an offense that requires him to block 70% of the time…

        2. And without fail they call for this type of action until it impacts them personally and they realize the consequences.

          I mentioned this to Epi yesterday (I’m too lazy to hunt for the link), but there are many smart people who cruise through decision making without engaging their thinking (system 2) brain. This is especially true with politics. Their method is:

          1) Establish a “solution” to the problem at hand through a gut feel. As a result, an “anti-solution” becomes apparent. (This engages the FEELZ and kills all nuance)

          2) Anchor on the “solution” and rationalize away any weaknesses to your “solution.” (Keeps the analysis in the FEELZ realm and makes the dialogue superficial)

          3) Associate moral outcomes with the “solution” and “anti-solution,” making the “solution” “good” and the “anti-solution” “bad.” (This torpedoes any rational discussion and ensures that the only consequences associated with the solution are moral equivalences “minimum wage = helping the poor”)

      3. You are supposed to be selfish and think of yourself when negotiating wages. That’s how it works.

        1. It’s SeaTown, dog, rules are different here.

      4. “This kind of thing is to be expected when the CEO of a corporation is 14 years old.”

        I’m his same age and I wouldn’t be that stupid. In my early 20s I worked for a place that did something similar, it was a catering/event company and they were moving from a low hourly wage + tips model for servers to a higher wage + no tips, without increasing the now-slightly higher compensation for the supervisors. All of the supervisors quit.. The company probably didn’t care that much because everyone was part-time and service workers are fairly easy to replace, but if they were highly skilled it would’ve been catastrophic.

        My guess is this CEO just doesn’t have much life experience or critical thinking.

      5. To be fair to the CEO, I don’t think he’s a socialist, and I think some of the criticisms of him are wrongheaded. It’s clear by his age that he got the idea from a BuzzFeed Listicle and decided to act without thinking.

        The NYT story sure made him seem like a crunchy Christian commie.

        1. That actually makes sense and sounds like something my born again step brother would do.

        2. I’ve read a couple of articles and he felt that the attention he got from the media was distracting. And based on some quotes from him, he seemed to indicate that it was a ‘process’ that would take time to work out.

          My interpretation of him might be wrong, but he seemed a bit innocent and befuddled.

    2. Heard about that on the radio yesterday. Hilarious. It’s almost as if when you reward everyone equally, regardless of skill or effort, then you destroy any incentive to be a better employee. Who’d a thunk it?

  13. It will be interesting to see how this plays out, and especially to see if some federal agency starts to lean on Alabamer to change their law to “shall issue.”

    1. What you did there, I’m surprised no one did it.

      Now if we can only get 1st amendment rights on a shall issue basis, then we’d be good.

  14. Can we get a fucking Mexican, deep-dish, circumcised, pot-smoking, illegal-immigrant thread going, for fuck’s sake?

    TEH GAIZ!!1!1 “Mawaj, is what bwings us togever dwives us apart”

  15. The states have never been delegated any power over marriage anyhow.
    And even libertarians seem to confuse a wedding license with a marriage certificate.

    1. Because it isn’t a real marriage unless it has god government’s blessing.

      1. But never so delegated. The license is only permission. The wedding certificate is what’s recorded, no different that recording a deed and has nothing to do with a blessing. The state will still be issuing wedding certificates, as they have for at least a century.

        1. Ever heard of the Tenth Amendment?

          1. Umm, trumped by the 9th. Ignore Ron Paul.

            1. Umm, no. No amendment “trumps” the others. Ignore the misfiring neurons in the far recesses of your diseased, decrepit old noodle.

              1. PM
                Umm, no. No amendment “trumps” the others. Ignore the misfiring neurons in the far recesses of your diseased, decrepit old noodle.

                Ummmm (laughing hysterically)

                The 10th Amendment reserves unenumerated POWERS to the states.
                The 9th Amendment reserves unenumerated RIGHTS to the people only.
                Thus, the 9th trumps (limits) which powers the states are allowed,
                Despite your bullshit to the contrary (at the following link, where you reverse yourself!)

                https://reason.com/blog/2015/08…..nt_5490987

                the misfiring neurons in the far recesses of your diseased, decrepit old noodle

                . (walks away laughing at the foulmouth bully)

    2. The states have never been delegated any power over marriage anyhow.

      Assumes facts not in evidence.

      Indeed the Constitution delegates a whole bunch of shit to the states. And those states have their own constitutions stating what they are and are not allowed to do with respect to marriage.

      1. The 10A delegates all powers not enumerated in the Constitution to the states.

        1. The 10A delegates all powers not enumerated in the Constitution to the states.

          Ron Paul’s bullshit.

          The 9th Amendment reserves all unenumerated rights to only the people.
          Ours is a government of delegated powers. So rights trump powers.

          1. I see you have never actually read the 10A.

            The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

            Here’s the 9A:

            The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

            I fail to see how one “trumps” the other. The 10A says that the federal government only has the enumerated powers delegated to it, leaving everything else, like marriage for example, to the states. The 9A says that the rights of the people are not limited to those enumerated in the Bill of Rights.

            Enumerated powers and unenumerated rights.

            Try reading the Constitution sometime before commenting on it. Seriously.

            1. I fail to see how one “trumps” the other (lol) So government powers are superior to individual rights, in a government of delegated powers. States have whatever powers they want and — as Ron Paul says — we are powerless to do anything about it.

              Try reading the Constitution sometime before commenting on it. Seriously.

              Try thinking. Seriously,

              1. The 9A and 10A are pretty clear. And the 10A clearly talks of powers, as opposed to what you said before I gave you the opportunity to read it for the first time. Oh, and states have constitutions of their own that are intended to limit their power, just as the federal one is intended to limit federal power. And they’re all different. So I really don’t know what you are talking about or who you are arguing with. Get back to me after you take a basic course on civics for the first time.

                1. sarcasmic, exposed as a dumbass, now squirms …

                  And the 10A clearly talks of powers, as opposed to what you said before I gave you the opportunity to read it for the first time.

                  (laughing) The 9th deals with RIGHTS!!! Now it goes totally off the rails!

                  Oh, and states have constitutions of their own that are intended to limit their power, just as the federal one is intended to limit federal power.

                  Paulista cult follower claims state constitutions can restore slavery, deny property rights to blue-eyed blondes, and … whatever they want … and we have NO defense against that (per Ron Paul)

                  Get back to me after you take a basic course on civics for the first time.

                  C’mon, we all love it when a sarcastic goober humiliates itself in public

                  (My tone, and the ridicule, are in defense of agggression)

                  Goobers also re-attack, because that is their sole purpose.

              2. Government powers and individual rights are different things. You might as well argue that the 18th amendment “trumps” the 2nd amendment. There’s no nexus there. It’s nonsense.

                The states, via the 10th, have the ability to delegate for themselves powers not granted to the federal government. That’s why different states have different laws and regulations on a broad range of issues, based in part on their differing constitutions.

                The people, via the 9th, retain the entire panoply of rights not explicitly enumerated in the constitution.

                Neither is “superior” to the other, neither “trumps” the other. They refer to completely different things. The only way these come into conflict in the context of marriage is if you hold that a piece of paper from the government solemnizing your sexual relationships and conferring benefits on that basis is a “right”. That’s progressive positive-rights theory, and is universally rejected by libertarian and classical liberal orthodoxy.

                1. PM fucks up even worse here

                  https://reason.com/blog/2015/08…..nt_5491228

                  Government powers and individual rights are different things.

                  And rights are superior to powers, dude.

                  You might as well argue that the 18th amendment “trumps” the 2nd amendment. There’s no nexus there. It’s nonsense.

                  For the learning disabled.
                  9th = unenumerated rights
                  10th = unenumerated powers.
                  Rights trump powers.
                  The 9th trumps the 10th. Umm, states cannot have powers to deny or disparage fundamental human rights. Despite the claims of the dumbfuck bigots in the Pauiista cult.

                  That’s progressive positive-rights theory, and is universally rejected by libertarian and classical liberal orthodoxy.

                  PM confirms his conviction that states have (a) powers to deny individual rights, (b) that have never been delegated (c) in a government of delegated powers.

                  NOBODY can invent wackiness like that!!

                2. PM
                  The people, via the 9th, retain the entire panoply of rights not explicitly enumerated in the constitution.

                  That’s what I said, Sport! Now you repeat your fuckup:

                  Neither is “superior” to the other,

                  FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS ARE SUPERIOR TO GOVERNMENT POWERS, WHICH MEANS THAT RON PAUL IS FULL OF SHIT, .AND YOU’RE A PUPPET (an eager puppet if a homophobe).

                  neither “trumps” the other.

                  (sigh) States cannot have powers over what YOU describe as “entire panoply of rights not explicitly enumerated in the constitution”

                  The 9th trumps the 10th, because rights trump powers. Your total befuddlement, as a (laughable) libertarian shows how badly your people are brainwashed .

                  you hold that a piece of paper from the government solemnizing your sexual relationships and conferring benefits on that basis is a “right”.

                  Ummm, Sparky? The state cannot deny the equal rights of homosexuals. Stay focused: when have states ever been delegated such a power???

                  Just to show that the Paulista Cult (among others) is TOTALLY statist, and shits on individual rights with memorized soundbites as lame excuses. (while pounding their chests and grunting about libertarianism) Is this a major raeson why the libertarian brand is rejected by 91% of libertarians? (Cato)

      2. i believe you have this backwards. Certain powers were delegated to the United States and those not delegated remain with the States. In other words, the States had/have the powers and in instituting the Constitution gave some of those powers to the United States (the federal gov’t). Contrary to popular belief, the federal government, the United States, was created by the States and is therefore subservient to the States. It is the nature of Law, that what one creates, one controls.

        1. It is the nature of Law, that what one creates, one controls.

          C’mon bro. Do you even Frankenstein.

          It is the nature of reality that what one creates, usurps control and tries to destroy its creator.

        2. i believe you have this backwards

          The 9th Amendment proves you wrong.

          Or, just explain how states can have powers that have NEVER been delegated,

          The federal government, the United States, was created by the States and is therefore subservient to the States.

          That’s downright scary.

          “That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed

          Out government was created by the people and is subservient to the people.
          Aka a government of delegated powers. Delegated by whom?

      3. The states have never been delegated any power over marriage anyhow. Assumes facts not in evidence.

        YOU need facts, as in a delegated power.

        Indeed the Constitution delegates a whole bunch of shit to the states. And those states have their own constitutions stating what they are and are not allowed to do with respect to marriage.

        Try again. All levels of government are denied any power over fundamental individual rights … Jefferson’s unalienable rights are inserted in the 9th Amendment,.

    3. The states have never been delegated any power over marriage anyhow.

      The feds never had authority over marriage to delegate. Its always been a state thing.

      1. The states have never been delegated any power over marriage anyhow.

        The feds never had authority over marriage to delegate. Its always been a state thing.

        Wrong, 9th Amendment.

        The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

        The people are supreme. WE retain EVERY right which is not enumerated in the Constitution. The notion that states have powers which have never been delegated violates every founding principle. And the 9th Amendment denies powers to every level of government. Discover individual liberty!

        1. The “right” to rob your neighbor because you agreed to fuck the same man or woman for the rest of your life is a fiction of your deranged, diseased, aging, rotted brain. In addition to confusing individual rights with government powers, you are simultaneously arguing for federal supremacy and claiming the issue over which you are claiming federal supremacy is not an enumerated power of government at any level. You can’t even win an argument with yourself.

          1. Watch the foulmouth retard (laughing)

            The “right” to rob your neighbor because you agreed to fuck the same man or woman for the rest of your life is a fiction of your deranged, diseased, aging, rotted brain.

            Ummm, where did I claim such a right, Einstein?

            In addition to confusing individual rights with government powers,

            Dumbass believes government powers supersede individual rights. And said it in public!

            you are simultaneously arguing for federal supremacy and claiming the issue over which you are claiming federal supremacy is not an enumerated power of government

            This fuckup means Einstein cannot grasp that the 9th Amendment restricts ALL levels of government. (smirk) Umm, that means it has nothing to do with federalism!!!

            For any other retards and cyber-bullies. Government has never been delegated any power over marriage. In our form of government, states can do things forever … unless the constitutionality is challenges, because … wait for it …. rights supersede government power

            Per the 9th amendment!!! (I have tears from laughing so hard)

            (My tone, and the ridicule, are in defense of aggression by the thug.)

  16. This is a vast improvement over pretty much every other state system for marriage out there, from a libertarian standpoint.

    1. I will be, assuming it passes.

      1. I’m wondering what the chances are that there will be great gnashing of teeth and a lawsuit filed by some group to FORCE the state to hand out marriage licenses.

        1. There absolutely will be, the only question is the outcome of that suit.

          1. Wouldn’t it be interesting to see progressive gay rights groups coming out to fight for their right to make arbitrary decisions about other people’s marriage.

            1. The inevitable is rarely very interesting.

              1. I disagree. The eruption of the supervolcano at yellowstone is inevitable, but when it happens it will certainly pique my interest. And like an eruption the cultural marxists will almost certainly smother the land.

        2. It depends. I don’t see how there would be standing to sue over license vs. registration. Given that the state is recognizing the marriage either way (because accepting a marriage is valid is not that much different than licensing them if the outcomes remain the same) then I don’t know what the argument is.

          1. Will other states recognize these marriages, I wonder?

            1. Well, if Alabama does, I’m not sure how the other states can’t, given the recent ruling.

              I guess a deep blue state could be churlish enough to try and argue that registration isn’t enough for cross-state recognition in a gambit to reverse registration and force issuing of licenses, but it seems pretty esoteric a point and should still be covered under Obergefell.

              1. The Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause. And it’s not the license they honor but the Marriage Certificate.

              2. Even then, the burden would be on the state not recognizing the marriage to show its not violating reciprocity.

          2. The only way it would have any legs is if you get a judge to break from legal precedent and acknowledge that the motivation for a law of general applicability is evidence of “discrimination.” I know, I know. General applicability means from a definitional perspective there can’t be discrimination.

            But outcomes and shit.

            1. But if the law passes, everyone will be treated equality intra-Alabama, so a discrimination case would have to be made that Alabama marriage registration results in a marriage that is so substantially different that it constitutes discrimination against all married couples in Alabama with respect to married couples in the other 49 states.

              Unless it creates a difference (which is something Scott cannot detect in the proposed law in the current form), then I don’t see where standing would come from.

              1. You’re right, Sug, that the case will have to be based on the difference between Alabama and other states.

                And that would be truly unprecedented. Very difficult to win.

                1. RC.

                  Do you honestly think the courts won’t give the gay lobby anything it wants? I like this system but it has a snowball’s chance in hell of making it through the courts.

  17. Welcome back common law.

  18. Scott? Is there anything in the proposed law that Alabama will only allow registration of couple contracts? In other words, will it allow registration of poly groups?

    1. Apparently “age” is the only deal breaker that can invalidate the contract.

    2. I am not entirely sure, honestly. I thought about bringing it up in the piece but felt like that needed a better legal expert. The law tells the gov’t to essentially assume legality and file. If it’s not legal, that’s for the courts to deal with. Since polygamy hasn’t been legalized, I assume the courts would not acknowledge a poly marriage. But I’m not sure what would happen if they tried to file marriage docs.

      1. Thanks.

      2. Simple. Only put room for two names on the form. How can you register a poly marriage if the registration is only between two people?

        1. A marries B. B marries C. C marries A. Three forms are filed, three licenses certificates issued. All are married to each other until the arrangement is challenged in court.

          1. I wouldn’t say “challenged in court” so much as the court, for the purposes of adjudicating a dispute, wouldn’t necessarily recognize the validity of such contracts.

            1. Probably would recognize the first of the 3 filed.

              1. But would they regard the other certificates as fraudulent, I wonder?

      3. Do they require ID when filing, because it’s my understanding that such a policy would be racist.

  19. I had a Super Beetle. It wasn’t pink, though.

  20. Nothing new here. Marriage has never needed a license. It simply made it easier for one to require the gov’t to recognize your marriage if you wanted gov’t benefits tied to marriage. Common Law marriage has always been here and it requires no gov’t involvement. Marriage licensing was initially begun in order to allow, or disallow, mixed race marriages and has, over time, morphed into general use by an indoctrinated populace.
    Licensing cannot be required of free people, because taking on the restrictions of a license requires the surrender of a right. A legal definition of a license: “The permission, by competent authority to do an act which without permission, would be illegal, a trespass, or a tort.” People vs. Henderson, 218 NW.2d 2, 4.
    It seems to me that the Alabama legislature is finally recognizing, regardless of the reason, that government, the servant of the people, doesn’t have the authority to intervene in the right of man/woman to marry.

    1. Marriage licensing was initially begun in order to allow, or disallow, mixed race marriages and has

      False. It was begun so the state could take control from the church. It began in Venice, IIRC.

    2. Indeed, Jayman.

      Licenses are just prohibitions, wrapped in a bureaucracy.

  21. Its a step in the right direction, making it closer to a true contract. The state is still setting the terms of the contract though.

  22. So what say we? I know there’s some libertarian disagreement on the viability of getting the government entirely out of marriage. In the absence of a clear path for doing so, is it worth pursuing a system where citizens tell their government that they’re married (if they want to), rather than the other way around?

    Of course. This is the way most of us wanted it to be in the first place. The libertarians fighting gay marriage were at least giving lip service to this solution and those of us supporting GM wanted *this* but were willing to settle (in the short term at least) for what we got.

    Marriage is, at its core, a set of contractual duties and privileges between two or more parties (whether those parties come up with the conditions on their own or buy into a pre-built framework). As such having the government be an arbiter-of-last-resort is as acceptable here as it is in any other private contract.

    1. It is, however, absolutely hilarious that Alabama is taking the lead on this. Even though this outcome will likely lead to *more* freedom for marginalized people to arrange their personal affairs as they see fit, expect to see a huge pushback from the liberal side because AL is doing this for the *wrong* reasons.

  23. what is the point of a license if there are no qualifications and everyone can have one?

    1. Control.

      Not everyone can have one even now.

  24. I can’t get altogether behind Albritton’s proposal. It’s the abolition of a witnessing requirement to the solemniz’n (or whatever it’s called) that bothers me. The point of marriage is to be a public act.

    1. Two witnesses will still be required in the filing.

    2. Being a witness to something doesn’t require someone to be a government official either.

      1. When friend of mine from grad school got married by the city clerk, they specifically required an add’l witness who was not a gov’t official. That was me.

  25. the bill notes that this change in process doesn’t affect any other “legal aspects of marriage in the state, including, but not limited to, divorce, spousal support, child custody, child support, or common law marriage.”

    That’s a very cute assertion, in a kindergarten finger-pointing sort of way, but it won’t survive the first contested divorce where a spouse insists that there is no legal marriage is dissolve in the first place, so “bye and I’m taking the kids to another state…”

  26. As noted in the previous comment, this bill would not change the laws about the rights and duties of married couples.

    Also, the people who file the contract must be “otherwise legally authorized to be married.” Here’s how I understand it: For example, at least for now, polygamous unions are illegal in Alabama (bigots!). So even if Mustapha signs a purported “marriage” contract with his four “wives,” and duly registers that contract with the probate judge, the state *still* won’t recognize it. But as I understand it, the probate judge will still have to record the purported contract and send it to the Vital Records Office. The only exception, apparently, is that the judge has to make sure that Mustapha and his honies are all 18. (caution: I may have gotten this wrong)

    If Joe Bob and Randy sign a gay-marriage contract, the probate judge will likewise have to register it, without ruling on the validity of the marriage (except to make sure they’re both 18). If the validity of the marriage later comes up in some *other* court, presumably the court will recognize the marriage based on Oberdorfer (sp?).

    So as Shackford, at least, recognizes, and as I’ve been explaining until I’m blue in the face, the state will still be in the marriage business even if it no longer hands out licenses.

  27. Wait, did anybody notice this?

    “The bill is unlikely to pass, however, because it would require a two-thirds majority. The state legislature is currently in emergency session over a budget shortfall. Any bills proposed during emergency sessions must have a two-thirds majority to pass.”

    http://www.rawstory.com/2015/0…..ltogether/

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