Bill raising Utah marriage license fees passes legislative committee

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A file photo of wedding rings. Photo: Jeff Belmonte / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

SALT LAKE CITY — A bill that raises marriage license fees (but offers a rebate if you take a pre-marital counseling course) has passed a Senate committee.

In a 3-1 vote on Wednesday (with three lawmakers absent), Sen. Allen Christensen’s Senate Bill 29 passed with a favorable recommendation. The bill would raise the cost of a marriage license in Utah by $20, but offer a $20 discount if couples take a pre-marital counseling course online or in person.

Sen. Christensen, R-North Ogden, has argued the bill will be good for couples considering marriage and what goes into it. Former Utah First Lady Jaqueline Leavitt testified in favor of the bill, saying the counseling reduces the chance of divorce.

“It can make a difference in marriage,” she said. “It’s about encouraging and promoting couples.”

The bill passed after Sen. Daniel Thatcher, R-West Valley City, changed the words “husband and wife” to “spouses.”