Alabama curbs ‘state meddling’ in marriage

Ceremony, officiant no longer required under new law

WND Staff August 31, 2019

The ripples from the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision creating same-sex marriage – a ruling the chief justice said was unrelated to the Constitution – continue to be felt.

One of the biggest impacts has been the prosecution of Christian florists, photographers and cake bakers who decline to promote same-sex marriage because of their religious beliefs.

Alabama lawmakers apparently have had enough.

A law went into effect Friday that eliminates the state’s role in approving marriages, making it largely a record-keeper.

AL.com reported the law makes obtaining a marriage license as simple as filling out a state form and returning it.

No ceremony or signature by an officiant, such as a minister or judge, is required. Applicants simply put their names on the form, have it notarized and return it.

At the Tenth Amendment Center blog, Mike Maharrey said that while the change in the law “may seem like semantics, it is quite significant.”

“It ends the requirement to get state permission before getting married. The state will now record signed contracts between consenting individuals. In effect, it removes the state from the approval process and relegates it to a mere record-keeper,” he said.

He pointed out the law will maintain a few state requirements governing marriage.

“Minors between the ages of 16 and 18 still must obtain parental permission before applying to record a marriage, the state will not record a marriage if either party was already married, and the parties cannot be related by blood or adoption as already stipulated in state law.”

But civil or religious ceremonies will no longer be required.

Maharrey said the law is “a step toward returning to the traditional Western custom in which the state had little to no involvement in marriage, even though it was a legal contract as well as a religious institution.”

“Marriage in medieval Europe technically fell under the legal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church, with priests officiating weddings at the door of the community church,” he noted. “However, it was ultimately a private arrangement that did not require a third party in order to be considered legitimate.”

He noted the state’s role in defining and regulating marriage “has become a contentious issue and places a burden on government officials torn between the legal requirements of their jobs and their personal religious convictions.”

“By limiting the state’s role in marriage, the legislation will allow Alabamans to structure their personal relationships as they see fit without interference or approval from the government.”

He said that that removing “state meddling in marriage will render void the edicts of federal judges that have overturned state laws defining the institution.”

“The founding generation never envisioned unelected judges issuing ex-cathedra pronouncements regarding the definition of social institutions, and the Constitution delegates the federal judiciary no authority to do so.”

Original here

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Supremes Turn Back Atheist’s Demands Again

Man has been seeking to remove mention of Almighty for decades

 

in_god_we_trust

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday turned back – again – a demand from an atheist who insists on removing any reference to “God” from the discourse of government.

There are references to a deity on money – the motto “In God We Trust” – and in the Pledge of Allegiance, as well as in other scenarios.

Michael Newdow, who has lost other, similar, cases at the high court already, was unsuccessful again when on Monday the justices declined to take up Newdow’s latest fight.

He was targeting the inscription “In God We Trust” on coins and currency.

The Washington Examiner reported Newdow, “an activist who filed the case on behalf of a group of atheists,” claimed that the instructions from Congress to the Treasury Department to include the words violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

That prevents Congress from setting up a national church.

The words first appeared on coins in 1864 and in 1955 Congress decided to have it on all coins and currency.

Newdow’s claim had stated that the government was turning atheists into “political outsiders” with the decision.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had similarly rejected his claim last year.

Besides “In God We Trust,” and “Under God” in the Pledge, he’s also demanded that high government officials such as Supreme Court justices and presidents be censored from stating “So help me God,” when they affirm an oath to uphold the Constitution.

WND has reported on his fight against references to “God” for nearly two decades.

When the 6th Circuit threw out his case last year, it ruled the motto doesn’t burden atheists’ free exercise, nor does it impact their free pssech.

“The court ruled that the national motto is a symbol of common national identity and did not discriminate against or suppress plaintiffs’ beliefs,” the American Center for Law and Justice said at that time.

The court had said, “Because plaintiffs do not allege that the motto is attributed to them and because the Supreme Court has reasoned that currency is not ‘readily associated with’ its temporary carrier, the district court properly dismissed plaintiffs’ Free Speech claim.”

Newdow’s claim was that “the mere presence of the national motto on currency violates their Free Speech and Free Exercise Clause rights. The atheists asserted that carrying currency equated to governmental compulsion to speak in support of the national motto and to bear a ‘religiously offensive’ message, in violation of the Free Exercise Clause and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).”

“Every court that has considered any challenge to the national motto has rejected it. When we filed our amicus brief, we let the court know we were representing over 315,000 supporters who signed on to our Committee to Defend ‘In God We Trust’ – Our National Motto – on Our Currency,” ACLJ said.

 

https://www.wnd.com/2019/06/supremes-turn-back-atheists-demands-again/