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Indiana Lawmakers Debate Marriage License Bill

An Indiana House committee Wednesday discussed but took no action on a proposal that would quadruple the cost of marriage licenses and certificates for couples unless they complete marriage preparation classes.Republican bill sponsor Rep. Cindy Noe (pictured) says it’s intended to give Hoosier couples the tools they needfor a strong marriage. Under the bill, those who complete premarital classes would pay the standard $18 fee for a marriage license and certificate. Couples who don’t take the course would pay $72.Noe chairs the House Committee on Family, Children and Human Affairs, which is considering the measure.Fellow committee member and Democrat Vanessa Summers asked Noe whether the proposal might be heavy-handed."For someone that doesn’t believe in government intrusion, don’t you think this is government intrusion into the lives of people?" she said.Noe argued that the government already steps into people’s lives in other ways."We just passed a ‘don’t text while you’re driving' kind of thing. That’s government intrusion, because there’s a cost to pay," she said.The bill could come up for a committee vote next week.

Rick Howlett is host of WFPL's weekly talk show, "In Conversation." Email Rick at rhowlett@lpm.org.