Marriage licenses are a fairly new invention, created in the mid-nineteenth century as a tool the state could use to enforce social proscriptions on interracial marriages. By the early twentieth century they were nearly universally required as enforcement tools for the state’s increasing regulation of inheritance, parental authority, taxes and other matters. Churches were subsumed into the new regulatory scheme — required to themselves obtain licenses both as establishments and for their officiants, in order to perform wedding ceremonies and act as agents of the state in enforcing those licenses.
A license is defined as “the permission by competent authority to do an act which without such permission, would be illegal.” By obtaining a marriage license, a couple is begging for permission of the state to marry, which places both love and the church under the authority of government. While the state often condemns polygamists, it requires couples to marry a de facto third spouse — the government itself.Read more at c4ss.org