SB 29: Increasing the Cost of a Government Marriage License

This Bill failed in the Senate 14-14.

Libertas Institute opposes this bill.

Last year, Representative Ed Redd sponsored legislation that would have given a $20 rebate to individuals who, in participating counties, obtained pre-marital education/counseling. The bill narrowly passed the House but did not receive a vote in the Senate.

Senator Allen Christensen, who was the Senate sponsor of last year’s bill, is taking a different approach. Rather than establishing a pilot program for counties that desire to participate, the bill forces a new program on the entire state. And rather than giving a $20 rebate to participating couples—a discount off of the existing fee to obtain a permission slip to marry—Senate Bill 29 raises the license fee for every couple statewide, offering a rebate off of the new fee increase to couples who obtain the government-approved pre-marital education.

Government should not be in the business of marriage. Absent that needed change, it should certainly not increase the hurdle one must jump over in order to obtain the state’s permission to marry. While pre-marital counseling can be helpful, it should not be used as extortion to reclaim one’s own money.