USA: no marriage licences

Religion Today  |  World
Date posted:  1 Apr 2018
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USA: no marriage licences

photo: iStock

It was reported in March that the whole of Alabama state is considering stopping issuing marriage licences due to opposition to same-sex marriage which many district judges feel they cannot endorse by the provision of licences.

When the Supreme Court legalised same-sex marriage in 2015, Christians in the business of officiating at marriages faced a challenge. To avoid going against biblical teachings on marriage, some judges in Alabama skirted the conflict by simply closing down their marriage licence divisions. To these judges, no marriages at all meant no same-sex marriages. This, in turn, meant preserving the belief in marriage as the sacred union of one man and one woman. Alabama judge Wes Allen explained that ‘I couldn’t put my signature on a marriage licence that I knew not to be marriage’.

After closing down these marriage licence divisions, some judges expected to face lawsuits. But no one sued them, as the law says a judge ‘may’ issue a licence, not ‘shall’. This nuanced language has frustrated advocates of the LGBT cause.

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