Friday, August 06, 2010

In Reply: Marriage and The State: Time for a divorce

In reply to: Time for a divorce - David Harsanyi - The Denver Post:
In the 1500s, a pestering theologian instituted something called the Marriage Ordinance in Geneva, which made "state registration and church consecration" a dual requirement of matrimony.

We have yet to get over this mistake. But isn't it about time we freed marriage from the state?

I support divorcing the religious rite of marriage from the legal rights involved in "civil unions" (for lack of a better term), for sure. Much of the argument over "the definition of marriage" involves the foolish use of the term for a religious rite to define legal rights.

As many have said, the state does have an interest in the legalities between two people who choose to unite--property rights, protection of children, settling domestic disputes--but the state should have no interest in the religious definitions and rites involved in the term marriage. I do believe that "married" and "civilly united" should have two different meanings, and I'd support replacing every form of the word "marriage" with "civil union" (or some similar legal term) in every federal state and local law.

And then if the Catholic church wants to ban gay marriage, fine. If the Unitarians want to perform same sex marriages, that's up to them. The state can either choose to recognize all marriages performed by religious officiants as legal unions, or it can choose to recognize none of them, and require it's own "ceremony" to legally unite two people.

We can't remove the state and the law from our unions, but we can divorce the religious and moral conception of marriage from the legal trappings involved, and vice versa...

Posted 8/6/10, 5:59 PM (WIS blog time)

Also at: memeorandum

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