A Brief History of Marriage Licenses in the US

Related Topics: Marriage, George Washington, Government

As Pastor Trewhalla mentions, “George Washington was married without a
marriage license.” This is true. In fact, before the middle of the
nineteenth century, no license was required to marry at all. Then,
horror of horrors, some people started wanting to marry interracially!
What a concept! Miscegination up until that point had been totally
illegal, then some states started to adopt marriage licenses - specifically
for interracial couples
. Meaning that, basically, anyone could get
married… unless you had different skin colors. That, of course,
required permission from the state.

The reason any license throughout history has been
instituted was so that it could be denied to some people. In the
mid-1800s, this happened to be interracial couples. Then, in 1923, the
“Uniform Marriage and Marriage License Act” was passed by the federal
government – 6 years later, marriage licenses were being distributed in
every state to ALL people, not just interracial couples. Marriage had
become a government institution.

Let me say that again for clarity. Marriage licenses have only
existed on any significant scale since 1929.
one in the US before that was required to have a marriage license in
order to practice their fundamental right to marry.

Read more: http://privatizemarriage.org/

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  • ML Caron 2015/04/10 23:01:10
    ML Caron
    An interesting premise, but you offer no citations to support it. Virginia required a 'lycence or asking in church' to contract a legal marriage almost from it's founding in the 17th century. Even before laws existed in the colony the residents were governed by English law. Marriage law and custom varied from colony to colony, and it still varies from state to state. Marriage licenses have the effect of denying marriage to some, but to claim marriage laws existed only or even primarily to deny marriage is simplistic at best, and just opinion at worst.
  • Striker 2010/08/04 03:01:45
    If one gets married without a license, oh my, will they come and spank you?
    Many preachers and other marriage mills probably will want to see the license before they'll perform a "ceremony", being the dutiful enforcers of Gov that they are. But they can also fill out their own certificate of marriage, sign it, and if the couple cares to record that, it seems quite enough for me.
  • merlinskiss 2010/08/03 18:59:03
    Licenses generate revenue. End of story!
  • Will on the road again 2010/08/03 18:29:12
    Will on the road again
    Pretty much anything the government does is to control some part of our lives.
  • Xavier 2010/08/03 17:43:53
    My wife and I were married without a license. If you "purchase a license" that gives the state power over your marriage and children.

  • disinter Xavier 2010/08/03 17:51:21 (edited)
  • The Electrician 2010/08/03 17:29:48
    The Electrician
    1929, Republican Administration ? They've been twarting Progress since their inseption in 1856. They "bitch" about Democrats ! Never in the history of this country have they done anything to change the "status quo." Republican Agenda, Bah, Humbug.
  • Autarchic 2010/08/03 17:19:17
    100% correct! A license is only so one can do what is normally illegal.
  • disinter Autarchic 2010/08/03 17:26:50 (edited)
    Actually, licensing is used to prevent people from doing what is normally legal.
  • Autarchic disinter 2010/08/03 17:32:26
    I have to disagree. If I had a 100 acres of trees and you just started cutting them, that would be a crime. However, if I gave you a license, no crime would be committed.
  • Xavier Autarchic 2010/08/03 17:44:30 (edited)
    Exactly. However, Disinter is agreeing with you.
  • disinter Autarchic 2010/08/03 17:50:43
    So if the government manufactured a law requiring you to beg them permission (license) for the ability to grant that permission to me to cut your trees, and this regulation went into effect after your gave me permission, did you do something that is "normally illegal"?

    That is what you are implying.
  • Autarchic disinter 2010/08/03 18:07:21
    Now, we are getting technical. The US Constitution prohibits the making an ex-post facto law (after the fact). The federal government can only make laws for its employees.

    Section 10. [1] No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance, or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex-post-facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contract; or grant any title of nobility.
  • disinter Autarchic 2010/08/03 18:08:54 (edited)
    Exactly! LOL

    You just made my point.

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2010/06/04 02:10:49

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