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Orr's bill requiring photo IDs for marriage licenses advances

By M.J. Ellington · (334) 262-1104

MONTGOMERY — Couples applying for a marriage license in the future would need government-issued photo identification under a local lawmaker’s bill that cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.

Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, said his SB 58 addresses a weakness in state law that results in some probate judges issuing marriage licenses to couples without proof that they are who they say they are.

The issue came up during Orr’s Senate District 3 campaign against former Morgan County Probate Judge Bobby Day, but Orr said there are other concerns as well. He denied the bill is aimed specifically at Hispanics.

Orr said the bill would affect illegal immigrants, but that is not the only reason he wants it. Identity theft and homeland security are others.

“A marriage license is a first step toward getting legitimate within the system,” Orr said. “In this day of identity theft, people should be concerned about people getting government documents without showing proof of their identity.”

Under current Alabama law, applicants can get marriage licenses using false identification, Orr said. Unless there is concern that the applicants are not old enough to acquire marriage licenses, there is no requirement that they show identification or that probate judges verify their identities.

For U.S. citizens, ID forms include a valid driver license or identification card issued by a state or federal government agency containing a picture of the applicant. Valid ID for applicants who are not citizens includes a valid passport or a government-issued non-citizen identification card with a photo.

The bill now awaits action by the full Senate.

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