While studying the history of marriage in the United States, I found an interesting point about marriages in my home state of Alabama. When getting married in Alabama, you only have two choices, a Christian marriage or go to the courthouse and wait on a judge to marry you. From the Code of Alabama.
“Marriages may be solemnized by any licensed minister of the gospel in regular communion with the Christian church”
In other words, a Jewish Rabbi, a Islamic Iman, an American Indian, a Buddhist, an Atheist, an Agnostic, or a member of any other belief system cannot legally perform a marriage ceremony in Alabama.
Even within the Christian tradition, how would the state define “In communion”. For example, would Mormons be considered “In communion”? Would snake handlers in the mountains be considered “In communion”? And, most of all, why should the state be in the business of defining who is “In communion”?
I have heard that many county licensing departments recognize this problem and will except a license signed and witnessed by anybody. But, the law is still on the books.
This is a problem that needs to be fixed.