Saturday, June 20, 2015

"Straight, Gay, Religious, Non-Religious," Courser Says Marriage Legislation Works For Everyone

By Brandon Hall   
(Email him at

Most Michigan media is completely ignoring a part of State Rep. Todd Courser's marriage reform legislation that allows any two individuals who don't want a religious based marriage to be able to file an affidavit of marriage with their local county clerk.

Despite false claims Courser wants to make traditional, religious-based marriage mandatory in Michigan, Courser tells West Michigan Politics:

"We want legislation that works for everyone. It's a set of three bills to get government officials out of the marriage business if the Supreme Court rules for gay marriage. I will be glad to work through any details so it works for everyone-straight, gay, religious, non-religious. We will need to have a very public discussion on it and then come up with a final solution that works for everyone. The main thrust is to get the officiating totally out of government, and move to protect the clergy (who don't wish to perform gay marriages."

And remember-part of HB 4733 says that Michiganders not wanting to have a religious ceremony may file an affidavit of marriage with their County Clerk:

"a marriage that is not contracted by a formal ceremony according to section 1( 2) may be acknowledged by filing an affidavit of common law marriage with the county clerk. The affidavit of common law marriage shall be signed by both parties, notarized, and must include all of the following:

(a) The place where each party resides.

(b) The full legal name and age of each party as they appear on or are calculable from a certified copy of the birth certificate, the current driver license or state personal identification card, the current passport or visa, or any other certificate, license, or document issued by or existing under the laws of any nation or of any state, or a political subdivision of any state, that is accepted as proof of identity and age.

(c) The full name by which each party will be known after the marriage, which shall become the full legal name of the party upon filing of the marriage certificate.

(d) That the parties are not disqualified from or incapable of entering into marriage."

Courser's legislation has gained a lot of attention, with media outlets making some interesting claims:

CBS Detroit: "Michigan Bill Would Require All Marriages To Be Sanctioned By Religion"

Patch.Com: "Clever' Bills Would Require Clergy to Bless All Marriages"

Detroit News: "Bills would require clergy to sign off on marriages"

>>>Courser Introduces Legislation Ending State Involvement In Marriage As SCOTUS Ruling Draws Near

Brandon Hall is a lifelong political nerd from Grand Haven, and is the Managing Editor of West Michigan Politics.
>>>Email him at 


Photo By Darlene Dowling Thompson


  1. After 90 days of a SCTOUS judgement, the law as written changes, without a valid license the civil contract of marriage has no weight. This package of bills is attempting to legalize bigotry, plain and simple. Courser needs to be recalled by the citizens of his constituency. No amount of backpedaling, or disingenuous spinning of his bills can change the outcome of the reality of this bill- attempts to bar or make it harder for gays to marry.

    1. "This package of bills is attempting to legalize bigotry, plain and simple. "

      And why is it that the people who claim to be "tolerant" are in reality THE most intolerant people on the planet?

      I don't know where you're from, but thought crime isn't illegal here in this little place I like to call America. We don't tell people what to think, how to feel, or to whom they should interact with under penalty of law.

      Look, if you're gay and you want to marry, then find a Unitarian (they live for the sort of thing) or do what republican Greg McNeilly did when he married his husband and find (what looks like) a willing justice of the piece to perform it.

      Not good enough for you? You'd rather control people via the use of gov't coercion and force?

      Then hit the bricks!

    2. "Justice of the piece?"

  2. "See what the people fail to realize with these procedures for marriage given by the Government unto States is that, when you marry with a marriage license, you grant the State jurisdiction over your marriage. When you marry with a marriage license, your marriage is a creature of the State, it is a corporation of the State, therefore, they have jurisdiction over your marriage including the fruit of your marriage, in which the fruit of your marriage is your children and every piece of property you own. When you marry with a marriage license, you are not just marrying your spouse, but you are also marrying the State. With This Ring I Thee Wed, is of the state and is found in most county courthouses in many States. That phrase was published by the State Bar Association. They don't tell you that when you repeat your vows, you enter into a legal contract, in which there are three parties to that contract, with the first being you, the second being the person you are marrying, and the third being the State you marry in. See the State and the lawyers know that when you marry with a marriage license, you are not just marrying your spouse, you are marrying the State, thus giving undue jurisdiction to the State."
    Marriage License Truth

  3. State Rep. Courser proposes filing a common law marriage in lieu of a validated marriage license. Unfortunately, several analysts have observed, as it were, that he is palming an ace.

    Michigan no longer recognizes common law marriage, having rescinded earlier state laws that did back in the 1980s.

    In addition, given the large number (even, I daresay, in Michigan) of "ministers of the Gospel, clergy, and religious practitioners" (even within Christian communions, not to mention outside them) who have no objection whatsoever to performing a same sex marriage ceremony, the bill's most obvious target (same sex couples) are not likely to be discommoded that much, though that does not negate the blatant violations of the free exercise and establishment clauses inherent in these bills.

    Secular couples, regardless of gender, are the ones who must either compromise their principles by seeking what is usually called "benefit of clergy," or marrying out of state, or risking a common law marriage which state law is not required to recognize.

    And the state cannot compel a citizen to perform a religious observance, Rep. Courder might as well draft a bill requiring everyone to say the Angelus, or banning cheeseburgers because they are treyf.