Friday, September 03, 2010

Of Marriage Licenses and Statism



BrendaK and I went to Marietta, GA today and got our marriage license...yay!

However, the entire process has been instructive of statist assholery here in (allegedly) "conservative" Georgia. Around here, "conservative" seems to mean "31 varieties of Baptists", rather than, y'know, small government.

Otherwise, we could have just gone about 1.5 miles up the road to the Larryville civic center. 'Cept here in Gwinnett County, one must produce a birth certificate in order to procure a marriage license. Showing a valid GA Driver's License, which also requires a birth certificate to procure, jest ain't good enough.

Neighboring Cobb County requires only a valid GA DL, so off we went to Marietta, their county seat. Where there's quite a gummint construction boom going on, which is clearly being financed by outrageous fees extorted from the taxpayers lumpenproletariat.

First off, the flat parking fee of $5.00 is basically subsidizing parking for lawyers. In all of the other cities I've lived, the only time you see flat-rate parking anywhere is either "early-in" for folks working in the vicinity, "after 5:00 p.m." in areas where there some sort of night life or other attractions and "special event" parking.

A flat $5.00 fee in the middle of the day at a busy court or government complex isn't anything more than parking welfare for fucking attorneys. Even in Los Angeles, where I pulled many a building permit over the years, they didn't have the audacity to charge such a high flat rate.

Our destination was "Building D2", since the statist fuckers who run Cobb County apparently haven't the imagination to name any of their copious new buildings the "Clem Milsaps Taxpayer Fleecing Facility" or the "Cletus and Lucinda Fayette Memorial Mouth-Breathers Employment Tower". "Building D2" sounds like something from the script of a particularly lame dystopian film written by an independent video store clerk who's convinced he's the next Quentin Tarantino.

Immediately upon entering the building, there was a security checkpoint. (Whoever thought that putting the probate clerk's office in the same new facility as actual courtrooms was a good idea needs to be used as a special treat for killer whales; just sayin'.) We had to empty our pockets, remove our belts and deposit all our personal posessions in a plastic tub for electronic scrutiny before passing through a metal detector overseen by a deputy who was trying to look gimlet eyed, but merely succeeded in resembling a rejected extra from "Deliverance".

After being cleared through Deppity Jimmy Joe's "magic picture thingummy", we proceeded to the probate clerk's office. Amazingly, that office - while being in a building which I would estimate to be less than five years old - looked like one which had been extant since 1923 and never maintained save for the occasional coat of poorly-applied paint. Seriously. It appeared old and dilapidated, replete with one of those 8' folding tables generally seen at church socials heavily laden with a variety of Jell-o concoctions containing Mandarin oranges, celery, carrot shavings, fruit cocktail and/or Miracle Whip.

We approached the window, at which point we learned that we could only pay the outrageous $56.00 fee in cash. (Crikey...even in relatively sleepy, suburban Gwinnett County, I have yet to pay any sort of baksheesh to the local gummint which cannot be done using an ATM card.)

Upon being informed of a Bank of America branch a couple of blocks away, I volunteered to make the trek while Brenda filled-out the “Application for Permission from Ol’ Massa to Get Married”. As I returned to Building D2, I once again emptied my pockets, removed my belt and waited for Ossifer Squinty to wave me through his "Testicle Irradiating Device Mark IV", after which I proceeded to the probate clerk's office.

I signed the paperwork and we forked over our cold cash and Driver's Licenses to an older woman who was actually quite pleasant and efficient. (Although she did ask us if we were cousins, but we think it was 'cause we were joking about that while affixing our scrawls to the government "permission slip".)

And voila...about three minutes later, we had our Official Gummint Permission to Marry. Which is a Very Good Thing, indeed.

But yet, I cannot see where the government has any vested interest - save extorting $56.00 plus parking for all of three minutes' work - in demanding that we must ask for official permission to wed. As an added indignity (and revenue source for Cobb County), in order to get "certified" copies of our Marriage Certificate (after it has been signed by our paid State Certified and Licensed Wedding Officiant, duly filed and processed), we have to pony-up an additional $10 a pop.

Fuck me...in previous times, we could have just jumped over a sword together and been done with it. Plus had a keen souvenir weapon as a keepsake...and as a weapon. (But we'll be getting a Mossberg 500 with a pistol grip soon.)

While I am overjoyed to be marrying Brenda, I still think it is utter bullshit - as well as contrary to individual liberty - to have to apply for permission from the state and pay fees before the state will oh-so-graciously allow us to get married.

Fortunately, she's worth it.

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