Something Old, Something New
72-hour marriage license waiting period in Louisiana to be lowered to 24 hours
On May 9, the Louisiana Speaker of the House Taylor F. Barras signed HB747, changing the law in Louisiana for obtaining a marriage license from 72 hours to 24 hours. It will now be sent to Gov. John Bel Edwards to be signed.
The bill was proposed by Rep. Julie Emerson, R-Carencro, in March and on May 8, it passed in the Senate 33-0, the final legislative passage (it had previously been voted 86-2 in the House).
Though at the time of this blog post we could not find any definitive historical facts on the matter, local lore behind the law is that American sailors would dock on leave in New Orleans, have a little too much fun and marry a, shall we say, lady of the night. The women were allegedly seeking military pensions in the event that the soldier died in combat. The 72-hour hold would allow the servicemen to either sober up or ship out before making it legal.
However, in the modern age, this law caused more problems than good and was an inconvenience often complained about to New Orleans Bride Magazine and Let Them Eat Cake by wedding professionals and couples.
If signed into law by the Governor, the change to a 24-hour waiting period will begin Aug. 1.