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A Pastor Explains Why You Should Never Get A Marriage License

Marriage 9825 Characters =~9.8Min. Reading Time
5 Reasons Why Christians Should Not Obtain a State Marriage License
Adapted from an essay by Pastor Matt Trewhella

Every year thousands of Christians amble down to their local county courthouse and obtain a marriage license from the State in order to marry their future spouse.
They do this unquestioningly, because their pastor has told them to go get a license, and besides, "everybody else gets one."
This pamphlet attempts to answer the question - why should we not get a marriage 'license?'

A marriage license is not necessary for the courts to determine whether a marriage existed or not.
What is needed are witnesses.
This is why you have a best man and a maid of honor.
They should sign the marriage certificate in your family Bible.
The wedding-day guest-book should be kept.
Marriage was instituted by God, therefore it is a God-given right.
According to Scripture, marriage is to be governed by the family, and government only has jurisdiction in the cases of divorce or crime.

History of Marriage Licenses in America

George Washington was married without a marriage license.
Abraham Lincoln was married without a marriage license.
So, how did we come to this place in America where marriage licenses are issued?
Historically, all the states in America had statutes outlawing the marriage of blacks and whites.
In the mid-1800s, certain states began allowing interracial marriages ("miscegenation") as long as those marrying received a license from the state.
In other words they had to receive permission to do an act which without such permission would have been [considered] “illegal.”
Blacks Law Dictionary points to this historical fact when it defines "marriage license" as, "A license or permission granted by public authority to persons who intend to intermarry."
"Intermarry" is defined in Blacks Law Dictionary as, "Miscegenation; mixed or interracial marriages."
Give the state an inch and they will take a 100 miles (or as one elderly woman once said to me "10,000 miles.")
Not long after these licenses were issued, some states began requiring all people who marry to obtain a marriage license.
In 1923, the Federal Government established the Uniform Marriage and Marriage License Act.
(They later established the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act).
By 1929, every state in the Union had adopted marriage license laws.

What Should We Do?

Christian couples should not be marrying with State marriage licenses.
Nor should ministers be marrying people with State marriage licenses.
People have said to me, "If someone is married without a marriage license, then they aren't really married."
Given the fact that States now legalize same-sex marriages, we need to ask ourselves:
"If a man & another MAN marry WITH a State marriage license,
and a man & WOMAN marry WITHOUT a State marriage license - who's really married?
Is it the two men with a marriage license, or the man and woman without a marriage license?"
This contention that people are not really married unless they obtain a marriage license simply reveals how Statist people are in their thinking.
We need to think biblically.
You should not have to obtain a license from the state to marry someone anymore than you should have to obtain a license from the state to be a parent, which some in academic and legislative circles are currently pushing to be made law.
When I marry a couple, I always buy them a Family Bible which contains birth and death records, and a marriage certificate.
We record the marriage in the Family Bible.
What's recorded in a Family Bible will stand up as legal evidence in any court of law in America.
Both George Washington and Abraham Lincoln were married without a marriage license.
They simply recorded their marriages in their Family Bibles.
So should we.

(Pastor Trewhella has been marrying couples without marriage licenses for ten years.
Many other pastors also refuse to marry couples with State marriage licenses.)