Or, more accurately, it appears Alabama may be getting out of the business of violently regulating marriage. Alabama Senate Bill 20 passed a key procedural hurdle last week, receiving a 9-0 vote from the state’s Senate Judiciary Committee on 23 February. The bill now moves before the full state Senate.
This legislation would effectively nullify the state’s regulation of marriage – which historically serves as a violent, de facto permission-granting licensing cartel, and finds its 19th century statutory origins in the draconian efforts to stifle interracial marriage (among other unethical ends).
According to Section 2. (g) of the bill’s text: “All requirements to obtain a marriage license by the State of Alabama are hereby abolished and repealed. The requirement of a ceremony of marriage to solemnized [sic] the marriage is abolished.”
If this holds, as is expected, it is certainly a monumental modern step in the right direction with respect to adherence to the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment as well as basic non-aggression principle governance. Not only does this approach eliminate the State’s arbitrary and often special interest-driven efforts to legally “define” marriage in a one-size-fits-all fashion, it effectively relieves the possibility of religious and other entities from having to perform procedures and ceremonies that lay outside their beliefs, wishes, or otherwise agreeability. Absent a legal requirement for a ceremony, there can be no legitimate legal punishment for refusing to perform one.
I have previously discussed just how the Left and Right “sides” of the Big Government coin are generally equally wrong – both legally and ethically – about the relationship between the State and marriage and the modern political fights surrounding it. Hopefully, this federative, interstate legislative competition will spur a new constituent market demand, and other states will subsequently follow suit in short order.