Information > Should Christians Obtain A State Marriage License:

Daily, Christians stand before God and "these witnesses" and enter into a contract with the state in which they live. This process is commonly known as the institution of marriage. Marriage was ordained by God as one of His first acts after creating the world, beasts, and mankind. God was very specific in His instructions concerning the sanctity of marriage and His order for the family. Somehow we have missed the boat and have given that which is holy unto dogs.

I am amazed that pastors, during the course of a marriage ceremony, have the audacity to utter the words "Now, by the power vested in me by the State of _____, I now pronounce you man and wife." Insofar as I am aware there is no state in the United States of America that actually requires a pastor obtain a license to preach the gospel. However, many willingly bow the knee to Baal in every area of their ministry; hence it is not surprising, although it is heartbreaking, that pastors willingly surrender the sacred covenant of marriage to the state in which they pastor. It is a sad commentary on just how far the church has been willing to compromise and capitulate in matters regarding rendering unto Caesar and forgetting that God is due allegiance first and foremost.

In order for you to completely understand the sin of surrendering the God-ordained and instituted act of marriage (and that marriage is a God-given right) it is needful for you to understand the legal ramifications of entering into a license agreement with the state and further the history of marriage licenses in America.

To understand the full impact of obtaining a marriage license one must understand the definition of the word license. Black's Law Dictionary defines license as "The permission by competent authority to do an act which without such permission would be illegal." A more expanded definition comes from the dictionary which states: What is a "license"?

  1. n. governmental permission to perform a particular act (like getting married), conduct a particular business or occupation, operate machinery or vehicles after proving ability to do so safely or use property for a certain purpose
  2. n. the certificate that proves one has been granted authority to do something under governmental license
  3. n. a private grant of right to use real property for a particular purpose, such as putting on a concert.
  4. n. a private grant of the right to use some intellectual property such as a patent or musical composition.
  5. v. to grant permission by governmental authority or private agreement.

As you can see from the foregoing definitions, the granting of a marriage license by the state carries with it several legal implications and assumptions. First, the government assumes it has the right to regulate and license that which is a God-given right. It does not! Secondly, why on earth would a Bible-believing Christian seek governmental permission to enter into that which God ordained and blessed? When you seek a license, you enter into a contract with the government; thus your marriage becomes a three-sided agreement--you, your spouse and the state--thereby leaving very little room for God in the equation. By seeking the permission of the state to marry, you are, in essence, implying that marriage is an institution of the state and not of God, which is wrong. The state cannot grant the right to marry; it is a God-given right, and it is a holy and precious thing in His sight. Thirdly, your marriage license extends to the fruit of the marriage (i.e. your children). Your children are a gift and heritage from the Lord and He has instructed YOU to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. Nowhere in His instructions for the family did God ever include the government in the rearing of children. There is a great deal of case law that confirms the fact that a marriage license extends to the offspring of the marriage. The license agreement is a contract; and the government will hold you to it at any time they so desire and in arbitrary and capricious manners that defy any notion of fairness and justice.

It is important that we recognize the history of marriage licenses. In colonial America there was no requirement to obtain a marriage license. It was absolutely unheard of. The only requirements in those days was you had to obtain your parents' permission and had to post a notice of the marriage 5-15 days before the ceremony. With rare exceptions the state no longer requires that you have parental permission to get married. In most cases they do not require it for one to have an abortion, but they demand that you seek their permission to marry. Why do you suppose that is?

The license grants control; and our government is ever expanding its tentacles of control. If they control the family, they pretty much control it all.

Many of our founding fathers, including George Washington, were married without a license. From the outset of our country all of the states had laws forbidding interracial marriage. In the mid-1800's some states began to permit interracial marriage, provided the parties obtained a license from that state. This was a defining moment, as the enactment of laws that granted permission to do that which was otherwise illegal is a cornerstone in our modern-day marriage license disaster.

In reading Black's Law Dictionary definition of "marriage license" one finds the all too revealing historical perspective of the enactment of the marriage license laws. Blacks contains the original definition of marriage license which is "A license or permission granted by public authority to persons who intend to intermarry." And as a flood begins with one drop of rain, thus the deluge of laws concerning marriage licenses. In 1923, the government established the Uniform Marriage License Act; and by 1929 every state had adopted laws concerning marriage license. And so it goes today.

The government is attempting, quite successfully I might add thanks to pastors and couples who willingly give that which belongs to God to the state by entering into the marriage contract with them, to control and regulate that which is created and ordained by God.    

What should we do, you ask? I firmly believe that a marriage license is wrong and that it is a sin to surrender the God-ordained covenant agreement of marriage to the state. I suggest you utilize a marriage covenant or use the family Bible marriage page. Make sure the covenant is signed by the pastor performing the ceremony and two witnesses. If you choose to use your Bible as your record of marriage, make sure it is also signed by the pastor and two witnesses. You can record the covenant at your local courthouse as an official document and, after having obtained a certified copy of the document, you may utilize it to change names on records, etc. There have been incidents of elected officials balking at the thought of recording marriage covenants; but I have yet to find an instance where, when confronted by the law, they refused to comply. I pray you will be obedient to our Lord in the sacred covenant of marriage.

Reportedly written by Kent Hovind - Found on's Kent Hovind page