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Commentary on The Capital Markets- Category [Social Issues]

It comes from an unlikely corner of the nation, and is probably a mostly-unintended consequence.

Alabama is set to strike marriage licenses from the books, replacing it with a ministerial requirement that the clerks record private contractual arrangements for marriage.

This is a potential watershed.  Marriage "licenses" were put into place by the states as a means of enforcing racial segregation.  Nobody likes talking about that, but that you refuse to discuss something doesn't make it untrue; it just marks you as dishonest.

Along the way in the 100+ years since the right of the people to negotiate and enter into a private contractual arrangement to live together and raise a family has been destroyed.  The State has come in with ever-more onerous claims on both property and children, culminating today in states that will actually arrest you if you let your eight year old kid walk to school or, for that matter, walk to a park a couple of blocks from your house.

Yes, that has really happened, and I've reported on it.

Alabama may be reversing this, at least in small part when it comes to the adult side of said relationships.  See, by getting rid of marriage licenses and reducing clerks to the ministerial role of recording a private agreement entered into the ability to reject the terms also disappears.

This now allows you and your paramour to negotiate whatever sort of deal in that regard you'd like and then expect the State to uphold it, unless it is blatantly in violation of public policy (e.g. "if you divorce you get to flog your ex-spouse" or similar.)

It also will give rise to a cause of action against the state if they refuse to adjudicate your private agreement in good faith under the 5th Amendment as a taking without compensation.

While the law will develop over time, this is a huge positive step forward -- despite being driven by Alabama being "disgusted" with gay marriage rulings out of the USSC and elsewhere.

Nonetheless, irrespective of the motivation behind this action in the Alabama State House it is a huge and positive step forward should it pass and be signed into law.  Credit where credit is due to the result irrespective of the reason the act was taken.

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