According to Associated Press, several probate judges have already stopped issuing licenses to all couples so that they’re not providing those licenses to same-sex couples. Gay and straight couples in those areas must now go to different counties to get licenses to marry. The state senate bill would end the practice of issuing marriage licenses. Instead, couples would go to the same probate judge and sign a marriage contract.
What isn’t clear is why issuing a marriage license in some way supports same-sex marriage and filing a contract signed by a same-sex couple doesn’t support same-sex marriage. Also not clear is whether the federal government would recognize these marriage contracts rather than marriage licenses. Normally a person needs to show a marriage license to have a name changed on a social security card or to file joint federal income taxes. And if issuing marriage licenses is one of the duties of a probate judge in Alabama, just why is the state allowing some of them to not do their jobs?
Oklahoma is also debating a bill that would stop county clerks from issuing marriage licenses.