Indiana state representative Jim Lucas (R) has introduced legislation that would abolish state issued marriage licenses and replace them with private contracts.
The signing of the contract would need to be witnessed by two other people according to the Indianapolis Star.
Lucas, who has also introduced legislation that would repeal all license requirements for carrying firearms, represents one of the most conservative areas of the Hoosier state. He says that marriage will not change under his plan and cites the recent controversy over same-sex marriage as his reason for introducing the legislation.
“I’m tired of being beat over the head on marriage issues. It basically gets the state out of marriage. It’s really that simple,” Lucas told the Star. “I’ve seen marriage being used as a hammer on both sides of the fence. We’re taking the hammer away from people.”
The proposed legislation, HB 1041, would apply equally to both heterosexual and homosexual couples. County clerks would not be required to issue licenses, thereby eliminating the possibility of another Kim Davis-style fiasco over religious liberties according to Lucas.
It would also allow church weddings to continue since members of the wedding party or church officials can sign the document as witnesses.
Other legal limits on marriage like age requirements would remain in effect. Divorce would still go through the court system.
The bill has been sent to committee for further study, but it’s not expected to pass.