Bill would take Alabama out of marriage license business

Jessica Dent, left, and Carolee Taylor, right, show their marriage license at the Montgomery County Courthouse on Friday, June 26, 2015 in Montgomery, Ala.

Jessica Dent, left, and Carolee Taylor, right, show their marriage license at the Montgomery County Courthouse on Friday, June 26, 2015 in Montgomery, Ala. Albert Cesare, The Montgomery Advertiser via AP

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama House committee has approved a bill that would replace state-signed marriage licenses with contracts in a bid to free probate judges from signing licenses for gay couples.

The House Judiciary committee voted Wednesday for the bill, which passed the Senate in March.

Republican Sen. Greg Albritton’s bill would require couples to file a form to record their marriages.

Following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that effectively legalized same-sex marriage, some probate judges in the state refused to issue marriage licenses altogether rather than give them to gay couples.

Albritton says the bill brings Alabama law into compliance with the Supreme Court ruling. Current law states judges “may” issue licenses, while Albritton’s bill says judges “shall” record the marriage contracts.

A similar bill failed last year.

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