During the past four years a number of state legislatures have imposed restrictions preventing the marriage of persons found to be afflicted with syphilis. This has been accomplished by the amendment of existing laws or the setting up of new statutes. The requirements to be met vary greatly in the twenty-six states which have adopted this type of legislation. In general, the issuance of a license is based on the result of physical examination, laboratory tests or in some instances the mere certification of freedom from venereal disease by a registered physician.
The medical profession has not been unanimous in its sanction of such legislative efforts. The most definite expressions of disapproval have come from eminent syphilologists.1 A summary of the dissenting opinion indicates the following objections: (a) Too great a reliance is placed on the results of blood examinations. (b) Many patients who have positive reactions of the
SHEPPE WM. THE EVALUATION OF PREMARITAL LEGISLATION. JAMA. 1941;116(18):2006-2008. doi:10.1001/jama.1941.02820180012004