Mississippi Lawmaker Floats Getting Rid Of Marriage Licenses Altogether

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex couples have a right to marry, some state officials are looking into opting out of issuing marriage licenses entirely.

Republican Mississippi state Rep. Andy Gipson, the chairman of the state house judiciary committee, told the Clarion-Ledger that the state is looking into eliminating state marriage licenses.

“One of the options that other states have looked at is removing the state marriage license requirement,” he said. “We will be researching what options there are. I personally can see pros and cons to that. I don’t know if it would be better to have no marriage certificate sponsored by the state or not. But it’s an option out there to be considered.”

Clerks in Mississippi were ordered on Friday not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples until the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals lifts its stay on gay marriage.

Lawmakers in two other states have considered bills that would nix state marriage licenses. Oklahoma legislation would eliminate marriage licenses and instead allow officials to sign off on marriage papers.

A bill in Alabama that would have directed officials sign off on marriage contracts rather than issue marriage licenses died in the state house earlier in June. And two counties in Alabama have stopped issuing marriage licenses following rulings on gay marriage.

In his first comments on the ruling, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Sunday also suggested that the government simply stop recognizing all marriages.

“The government should not prevent people from making contracts but that does not mean that the government must confer a special imprimatur upon a new definition of marriage,” he wrote in an op-ed in Time Magazine. “Perhaps the time has come to examine whether or not governmental recognition of marriage is a good idea, for either party.”

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