5 Reasons Why Christians Should Not Obtain a State Marriage License
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. They do it because their pastor has told them to go get one, and besides,
"everybody else gets one." This pamphlet attempts to answer the question - why should we not get one? 1. The definition of a "license"
demands that we not obtain one to marry. Blackís Law Dictionary defines "license" as, "The permission by competent authority to do an act
which without such permission, would be illegal." We need to ask ourselves- why should it be illegal to marry without the Stateís
permission? More importantly, why should we need the Stateís permission to participate in something which God instituted (Gen. 2:18-24)? We
should not need the Stateís permission to marry nor should we grovel before state officials to seek it. What if you apply and the State says
"no"? You must understand that the authority to license implies the power to prohibit. A license by definition "confers a right" to do
something. The State cannot grant the right to marry. It is a God-given right.

2. 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. What is the fruit of your marriage? Your children and every piece of property you own. There is plenty of case law
in American jurisprudence which declares this to be true. In 1993, parents were upset here in Wisconsin because a test was being
administered to their children in the government schools which was very invasive of the familyís privacy. When parents complained, they were
shocked by the school bureaucrats who informed them that their children were required to take the test by law and that they would have to
take the test because they (the government school) had jurisdiction over their children. When parents asked the bureaucrats what gave them
jurisdiction, the bureaucrats answered, "your marriage license and their birth certificates." Judicially, and in increasing fashion,
practically, your state marriage license has far-reaching implications. 3. When you marry with a marriage license, you place yourself under
a body of law which is immoral. By obtaining a marriage license, you place yourself under the jurisdiction of Family Court which is governed
by unbiblical and immoral laws. Under these laws, you can divorce for any reason. Often, the courts side with the spouse who is in rebellion
to God, and castigates the spouse who remains faithful by ordering him or her not to speak about the Bible or other matters of faith when
present with the children. As a minister, I cannot in good conscience perform a marriage which would place people under this immoral body of
laws. I also cannot marry someone with a marriage license because to do so I have to act as an agent of the State! I would have to sign the
marriage license, and I would have to mail it into the State. Given the Stateís demand to usurp the place of God and family regarding
marriage, and given itís unbiblical, immoral laws to govern marriage, it would be an act of treason for me to do so. 4. The marriage license
invades and removes God-given parental authority. When you read the Bible, you see that God intended for children to have their fatherís
blessing regarding whom they married. Daughters were to be given in marriage by their fathers (Dt. 22:16; Ex. 22:17; I Cor. 7:38). We have a
vestige of this in our culture today in that the father takes his daughter to the front of the altar and the minister asks, "Who gives this
woman to be married to this man?" Historically, there was no requirement to obtain a marriage license in colonial America. When you read the
laws of the colonies and then the states, you see only two requirements for marriage. First, you had to obtain your parents permission to
marry, and second, you had to post public notice of the marriage 5-15 days before the ceremony. Notice you had to obtain your parents
permission. Back then you saw godly government displayed in that the State recognized the parents authority by demanding that the parents
permission be obtained. Today, the all-encompassing ungodly State demands that their permission be obtained to marry. By issuing marriage
licenses, the State is saying, "You donít need your parents permission, you need our permission." If parents are opposed to their childís
marrying a certain person and refuse to give their permission, the child can do an end run around the parents authority by obtaining the
Stateís permission, and marry anyway. This is an invasion and removal of God-given parental authority by the State. 5. When you marry with a
marriage license, you are like a polygamist. From the Stateís point of view, when you marry with a marriage license, you are not just
marrying your spouse, but you are also marrying the State. The most blatant declaration of this fact that I have ever found is a brochure
entitled "With This Ring I Thee Wed." It is found in county courthouses across Ohio where people go to obtain their marriage licenses. It is
published by the Ohio State Bar Association. The opening paragraph under the subtitle "Marriage Vows" states, "Actually, when you repeat
your marriage vows you enter into a legal contract. There are three parties to that contract. 1.You; 2. Your husband or wife, as the case
may be; and 3. the State of Ohio." 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! You are like a polygamist! You are not just making a vow to your spouse, but you are
making a vow to the State and your spouse. You are also giving undue jurisdiction to the State. When Does the State Have Jurisdiction Over
a Marriage? God intended the State to have jurisdiction over a marriage for two reasons - 1). in the case of divorce, and 2). when crimes
are committed i.e., adultery, bigamy. etc. Unfortunately, the State now allows divorce for any reason, and it does not prosecute for
adultery. In either case, divorce or crime, 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, and the wedding day guest book should be kept. Marriage was instituted by God, therefore it is a God-given right. According to
Scripture, it is to be governed by the family, and the State 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 laws outlawing the marriage of blacks
and whites. In the mid-1800ís, certain states began allowing interracial marriages or 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 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 Blackís 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. Some have said to me, "If someone is married without a
marriage license, then they arenít really married." Given the fact that states may soon legalize same-sex marriages, we need to ask
ourselves, "If a man and a man marry with a State marriage license, and a man and woman marry without a State marriage license - whoís
really married? Is it the two men with a marriage license, or the man and woman without a marriage license? In reality, this contention that
people are not really married unless they obtain a marriage license simply reveals how Statist we are in our 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. Whatís 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. This pamphlet is not comprehensive in scope. Rather, the purpose of this pamphlet is to make you think and give you a
starting point to do further study of your own. If you would like an audio sermon regarding this matter, just send a gift of at least five
dollars in cash to: Mercy Seat Christian Church 10240 W. National Ave. PMB #129 Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53227.