"We're cutting off our straight nose to spite our gay face." - AL.com
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Ever since the Supreme Court made it legal for gay couples to marry, Alabama has been engaged in a series of public temper tantrums led by the state's Supreme Court's chief justice, Roy Moore. This week, the legislature took its turn, passing a bill that aims to get Alabama out of the marriage business.
The Alabama Senate passed Senate Bill 143 Wednesday, which would end the requirement for state issued marriage licenses. Instead, a couple wanting to marry would sign affidavits agreeing to enter into a civil contract, and state probate judges would record those contracts. Opponents of the law - and quite a few amused spectators - are calling Senate Bill 143 the "Alabama Threeway" because it would make marriage between two parties and a lawyer.
“All requirements to obtain a marriage license by the State of Alabama are hereby abolished and repealed," reads the bill. "The requirement of a ceremony of marriage to solemnize the marriage is abolished."
The "Alabama Threeway" bill was introduced in February by right-wing state senator, Greg Albritton, (photo right,) who told reporters the intent of the bill was to remove the state from an issue it should have never involved itself with in the first place.
“When you invite the state into those matters of personal or religious import, it creates difficulties,” Sen. Albritton said. “Early twentieth century, if you go back and look and try to find marriage licenses for your grandparents or great grandparents, you won’t find it. What you will find instead is where people have come in and recorded when a marriage has occurred.”
Senator Albritton did not mention marriage between same-sex couples, but no one doubts that is what Senate Bill 143 is all about: homophobia. Alabama does not want to participate in the marriages of gay and lesbian couples.
The proposed law would still maintain a few state requirements for a civil marriage contract. Minors between the ages of 16 and 18 would have to obtain parental permission, and the state would refuse to record a marriage contract if either party was already married. Parties who are related by blood or adoption would not be allowed to enter into a marriage contract.
Under the provisions of Senate Bill 143, the state’s role in marriage would be limited to recording marriages that have already occurred. How long do you think it will take some probate judge to claim it is his "religious liberty" right not to record the contracts of gay and lesbian couples?
The bill now goes to the House, where it has already undergone its "first reading." We'll let you know what happens.