Passed on 11 Aut'yet, LY 899, the adult license law established an official set of rules for determining when people on The Land would be considered legal adults, and granted certain rights based on the holding of a valid license, with certain stamps. All four stamps must be obtained before a person is considered a legal adult, and people are not allowed to vote unless they have all four stamps. (See also further subclauses.) If one fails to obtain a stamp on their first try, they may reapply any number of times, though the results of previous attempts would be shared by those who had examined the applicants and denied them, with any officials who subsequently examined them. (This is most common with the emotional stamp.)
This was one of the earliest laws to be passed by the court system, after the public voted to give the courts the power to enact laws without the requirement of voting by the people, on 8 Su'yet, 899 (three months before the adult license law was passed). It was a matter of much debate, and there were those in the public who believed it should be a matter for public referendum (a means of enacting laws which still existed, but which since the passing of power to the courts could only be used by the public once per year, on 8 Su'yet, as opposed to any time of year, as it had been done in the past). Ultimately, the courts passed the law, but made it understood that the public was free to repeal the law by referendum, the following year. And in fact there was a referendum on that issue in 900, but only card-carrying adults were legally allowed to vote, which severely limited the number of votes for repealing the law (much to the dismay of anyone without an adult license). So, the law stood.
Before the passing of this law, anyone on the Land had always been allowed to vote on various issues in their villages, upon reaching the age of 13. This did not mean they were considered adults; in fact, no one had ever given much thought as to how to determine the onset of adulthood, in any sort of standardized way. Everyone agreed that adulthood implied a certain degree of maturity in various categories, but that everyone matured at their own pace. But in 899, The Order suggested a method which seemed fairly reasonable (unlike on other worlds people had heard of, where adulthood was normally determined by reaching a particular age, which Landians considered entirely too arbitrary). The method proposed by the Order said that when a person turned 13, they would be given a card, with their name, date of birth, description, and a few such bits of information. Also on the card would be places for four stamps, each of which acknowledged a different type of maturity.
A stamp for physical maturity would be given by a physician when it was determined that the individual had entered puberty. Of course, for some this happened up to a few years prior to receiving their card, and for some, a bit later. Although in some cases, an individual (upon consent of his or her parents or legal guardian(s), or even themselves, if they had no guardians) might appeal to be granted a card early, if he or she was granted a maturity stamp (usually physical, but not necessarily) before turning 13.
(Or educational stamp) A stamp for mental maturity (or rather educational maturity) would be given by a master when an apprentice had learned a trade; this would be altered somewhat in 905, with the establishment of centralized schools, including a curriculum of various courses by various masters. Upon successful completion of the entire curriculum, most importantly but far from exclusively including a primary chosen trade, each student would receive a stamp from the school's headmaster.
Some masters would refuse to teach in these schools, and some of them might still receive apprentices. The law allowed for them to grant mental stamps, though because the public was beginning to look somewhat disdainfully upon anyone who received an education from a single master, most parents sent their children to schools, and many masters who refused to teach in these schools were forced to fall back on plying their own trade rather than teaching it, or else simply failed to find any work at all, and became street rats.
A stamp for emotional maturity would be given by a psychotherapist. This stamp was not particularly difficult to obtain. One basically just had to convince the psychotherapist that they were sane, which was the assumption going into therapy, anyway. It was perhaps a bit more complicated than that; more than a simple matter of sanity, a therapist had to believe the individual was developing emotionally in a reasonably healthy manner. A person could have some emotional problems, even, but if it seemed clear that they could deal with it, that they had a firm grasp of reality, life, the world at large, and could keep everything in its proper perspective... Well, it's hard to explain precisely what they were looking for. Psychotherapy is far from an exact science, and each therapist may look at things differently, as well as looking at each person as an individual, and not so much expecting them to fit some preconceived notion of a pattern, or standard of behavior or outlook. It was all done on a case by case basis. Complicated, in a way, but still simple. Few people ever failed to obtain their emotional stamp. However, the stamp could be revoked at any time, again by a psychotherapist (upon review by an oversight committee, so that no one therapist could wield too much power). See Subclause 1.
A stamp for spiritual maturity would be given by a spirit-talker. This was probably the easiest stamp aside from the physical, to obtain. The law allowed for this stamp to be granted by spirit-talkers of any religious organization, including the Order, the Protestants, or Independents, with the possibility (upon review) of extending the power to grant the stamp to any other religions, should any ever arise in the future. There wasn't much to it at all, really. Like psychotherapists, spirit-talkers were subject to a (secular) review board, in the event anyone was denied (or had revoked) their spiritual stamp, and wished to appeal the decision. But it was exceedingly rare for anyone to be denied this stamp, in the first place. In fact, no one was entirely sure, in the beginning, upon what basis a spirit-talker would ever possibly consider denying the stamp. Even if an individual swore allegiance to Lucifer rather than God, this was not necessarily grounds for denial, as most people on the Land never worried much about the difference between the two.
1. The adult license law also states that no known gang members could bear an emotional maturity stamp, which meant that few gang members were legal adults. This led to some gangs hiring people for a position they called "Adult," with a capital 'A,' in case the gang had any use for adult privileges, such as voting, etc. (This position is thought to have originated in 905.) Most people weren't anxious to take such a position, and tended to have other occupations to fall back on. In fact being an Adult was mostly just done for extra cash, if desperately needed for some reason. Gangs considered their Adults precious commodities, and made every effort to ensure these employees were never discovered to be working for them.
2. While people could still technically make private vows to each other, and later inform friends and family that they were now married, the adult license law declared that the government would not legally recognize any marriage unless both individuals had their physical and emotional stamps. (This was of little concern to the general public, as they had no idea what business marriage was of the government's, anyway. It was not a legal matter, and it had no real affect on a marriage, whether the government recognized it or not. At least, not at first. In time, new laws would come to exist which would have an impact on marriages, but even then, it didn't matter much. There were still no such things as marriage licenses, or legal documentation of any kind, regarding these relationships. Besides which, it was quite uncommon for anyone to consider themselves married without these two stamps, anyway. It seemed perfectly reasonable to them all that people should be physically and emotionally mature before getting married, and indeed, couples had always tended to be mature in these ways before making such a decision, which would presumably affect the rest of their lives.)
3. No one shall be permitted to purchase alcohol unless they have both their physical and emotional stamps. However, those who do not have both stamps may be permitted to consume alcohol under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian who has all four stamps.