CHAPTER 313

PROVIDING FOR EXAMINATION PRIOR TO ISSUANCE OF MARRIAGE CERTIFICATE

AN ACT TO PROVIDE FOR A LIMITED PHYSICAL EXAMINATION, REPORT AND CERTIFICATE PRIOR TO ISSUANCE OF MARRIAGE LICENSE.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the State of Delaware in General Assembly met:

Section 1. Certificate from Physician When Applying for Marriage License:--Before any person, who is or may hereafter be authorized by law to issue marriage licenses, shall issue any such license, each applicant therefor shall file with him a certificate from a duly licensed physician which certificate shall state that the applicant has been given such physical examination, including a standard serological test, as may be necessary for the discovery of syphilis, made not more than thirty days prior to the date of issuance of such license, and that, in the opinion of such physician, the person either is not infected with syphilis, or if so infected, is not in a stage of this disease which is or may become communicable to the marital partner. Applicants may be examined without charge, at a Health Center of the Delaware State Board of Health, or of the City of Wilmington or other organized community. Any person who by law is validly able to obtain a marriage license in the State of Delaware is validly able to give consent to any examination and tests required by this Act. In submitting the blood specimen to the laboratory the physician shall designate that this is a premarital test.

Section 2. Statement from Laboratory to Accompany Certificate from Physician:--The certificate shall be accompanied by a statement from the person in charge of the laboratory making the test, or from some other person authorized to make such reports, setting forth the name of the test, the date it was made, the name and address of the physician to whom the test was sent and the name and address of the person whose blood was tested, but not stating the result of the test. Except as hereinafter provided, the certificate of a physician and the statement from a person in charge of a laboratory or from a person authorized to make reports for the laboratory shall be on a form to be provided and distributed by the Delaware State Board of Health to laboratories in the state approved by the Delaware State Board of Health. This form is hereinafter referred to in this Act as "the certificate form."

Section 3. Certificates from States Other Than Delaware: --Certificate forms provided by other states having comparable laws will be accepted for persons who have been examined and who have received serological tests for syphilis outside of the State of Delaware; provided, such examinations and tests are performed not more than 30 days prior to the issuance of a marriage license. Certificates provided by the United States Army, Navy or United States Public Health Service will be accepted for military personnel; provided, such certificates are signed by a medical officer commissioned in the United States Army or Navy or United States Public Health Service will be accepted for military personnel; and provided, the certificates state the examinations and serological tests for syphilis were performed not more than 30 days prior to the issuance of the marriage license.

Section 4. Serological Test:--For the purpose of this Act a standard serological test shall be a test for syphilis approved by the Delaware State Board of Health, and shall be performed by the Delaware State Board of Health on request, free-of-charge. An approved laboratory shall be the laboratory of the Delaware State Board of Health, or a laboratory approved by the Delaware State Board of Health, or any other laboratory the director of which is licensed by said State Board of Health according to law. In case bf question concerning the accuracy of tests prescribed in this Act, it shall be mandatory upon the Delaware State Board of Health to accept specimens for checking purposes from any district in the State.

Section 5. Laboratory Report Form:--The Delaware State Board of Health shall issue a "Laboratory Report Form" to be distributed upon application to all laboratories approved to do tests called for in this Act. Any laboratory performing tests called for in this Act shall prepare the report in triplicate. The original of this report shall be transmitted by the laboratory doing such test together with the certificate form to the certifying physician. The duplicate reports shall be forwarded at weekly intervals to the Delaware State Board of Health. The triplicate shall be retained by the laboratory on file for two years and shall be open during that time for inspection by any authorized representative of the Delaware State Board of Health.

Section 6. Exceptions to Requirement for Certificate:--The judge of the Superior Court in the county in which the license is to be issued is hereby authorized and empowered, on joint application by both parties to a marriage, to waive the requirements as to medical examinations, laboratory tests, and certificates and to order the licensing authority to issue the license applied for, if all other requirements of the marriage laws have been complied with, and if the judge is satisfied by affidavit or other proof that an emergency or other sufficient cause for such action exists and that the public health and welfare will not be injuriously affected thereby. In any case, where such examinations and tests have been made and certificate or certificates have been refused because one or both of the applicants have been found to be infected with syphilis, the judge shall nevertheless be authorized and empowered on application of both parties to such marriage to order the licensing authority to issue the license, if all other requirements of the marriage laws have been complied with and if the judge is satisfied by affidavit or other proof that an emergency or other sufficient cause for such order exists and that the public health and welfare will not be injuriously affected thereby. In every such case, however, the clerk of the court shall transmit to the Delaware State Board of Health a transcript of the record and the order thereon for such follow-up in said department as is required by law or deemed necessary by said department for the protection of the public health. The order of the court shall be filed by the licensing authority in lieu of the certificate form. The court when it is deemed necessary may, to the extent authorized by law or rules of court, order all proceedings instituted under the provisions of this Act to be confidential and private. There shall be no fee for these court proceedings. The certificate forms and the court orders shall be filed in the office of the county clerk.

Section 7. Misrepresentations:--Any applicant for a marriage license, physician, or representative of a laboratory who shall misrepresent his identity or any of the facts called for by the certificate form prescribed by this Act; or any licensing officer who shall issue a marriage license without having received the certificate form or an order from the court, or who shall have reason to believe that any of the facts on the certificate form have been misrepresented, and shall nevertheless issue a marriage license; or any person who shall otherwise fail to comply with the provisions of this Act, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Certificates, laboratory statements or reports, applications and court orders, in this Act referred to and the information therein contained, shall be confidential and shall not be divulged to or open to inspection by any person other than state or local health officers or their duly authorized representatives. Any person who shall divulge such information or open to inspection such certificates, statements, reports, applications or court orders, without authority, to any person not by law entitled to the same shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Section 8. Appropriation:--The sum of $6000.00 to June, 1948, $4000.00 to June, 1949 is hereby appropriated out of any money in the State Treasury not otherwise appropriated, to be expended by the Delaware State Department of Health for printing, necessary expenses relative to checking and approval of laboratories, clerical and technical assistance involved in administration of this Act and any other expenditures necessary for carrying out the provisions and purposes of this Act. All claims against this appropriation shall be submitted for approval and audit to the Delaware State Board of Health, and shall be paid in accordance with law.

Section 9. Conflict with Other Laws:--Nothing in this Act shall impair or affect existing laws, rules, regulations or codes made by authority of law, relative to the reporting by physicians and others of cases of syphilis discovered by them.

Section 10. Severability:-If any Section, subsection, sentence, clause or phrase of this Act is for any reason held to be unconstitutional, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions thereof. The Legislature hereby declares that it would have passed this Act, and each and every section, subsection, sentence, clause and phrase thereof, irrespective of the fact that any or more other sections, subsections, sentences, clauses or phrases be declared unconstitutional.

Section 11. This Act shall become effective on the first day of the third month following its approval.

Approved April 18, 1947.