A bill that seeks to eliminate marriage
licenses in Alabama has cleared a House committee.
The House Judiciary Committee approved
the bill on a 9-5 vote on Wednesday, a week after it cleared the
Alabama Senate, the AP reported. The bill cleared the Senate with a
19-1 vote. It now heads to the House floor.
The bill would replace marriage
licenses with affidavits and couples would not be obligated to
participate in a marriage ceremony. In Alabama, probate judges issue
Republican Senator Greg Albritton first
introduced his bill ahead of a landmark 2015 ruling by the U.S.
Supreme Court that found that gay and lesbian couples have a
constitutional right to marry. At the time, Albritton predicted that
without his legislation chaos would follow if the nation's highest
court struck down state bans on marriage.
According to the AP, about seven
probate judges have stopped issuing marriage licenses in an effort to
avoid issuing them to gay couples.
Representative Merika Coleman, a
Democrat from Pleasant Grove, called the bill “unnecessary” and
“very confusing to some Alabamians.”
“So why is the legislature taking up
this bill, because there are some county officials that don't want to
adhere to federal law and give marriage licenses to same-sex couples?
If you don't want to honor the rule of law, you shouldn't serve in a
public capacity,” Coleman said.
While Republicans control both
chambers, Democrats hold a greater share of seats in the House.