Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Proposition 8: Why is Government Defining Marriage?

It's no great surprise that a court decided California's Proposition 8 isn't legal today. The problem with the whole problem isn't a matter of equal rights under the law, but rather the artifact within law that allows the government a hand in what is really a religious matter.
Maxine Waters proclaims marriage all a moot point.

There are two sides to marriage. One is the legal aspect--the tying of two legal entities into one, in many respects. The law concerning inheritance, the laws regulating the commitments that are spread between the two people involved when entering into contracts for employment, finance, and so on. The other side is the religious bond, which is defined by the faith of the participants in the marriage.

An attempt at correcting the problem of the intertwining of the legal and religious aspects of marriage was created with the legal concept of the civil union. In effect, it is supposed to provide the legal benefits of marriage without the religious aspects. The problem is, there is still the institution of marriage under law.

Having marriage as an act performed by the state, devoid of any religious involvement, as well as a religious act regulated by the state when performed as a religious act, is a hold over from the days when there was no significant separation between the state and religion. That hold over is what's causing so much trouble today. Having the state define marriage, and who can engage in it is in effect allowing the state to define religious tenets. Those tenets can never be defined in a way that does not favor one set of religious principles over another.

Rather than defining marriage, and defining who has the "right" to engage in it, the state should instead be abandoning it as a legal principle. The state should only have a hand in the legal aspects of such a bond, in other words, the state should only have a hand in civil unions. A courthouse marriage would then be a civil union, only, no matter the nature of the people involved. Marriages would be performed exclusively by religions. Where the state warrants it, and the religion itself chooses, such marriages would also be recognized as legal civil unions.
Nancy Pelosi extends the reach of government in religious matters.

This would remove much of the basis for the unnecessary strife over the state's role in marriage. Yeah, there will be plenty of religious people who claim it denigrates the role of marriage in society, but having the state put a stamp of approval on any particular religion's marriage ceremony will necessarily conflict with some other church's views. It's like having a legal definition of baptism, which then militates toward state interference in who can and who cannot be baptized, as well as non-denominational courthouse baptisms to extend the legal benefits of baptism to those who profess no specific religion.

It's silly and medieval to have the state taking a hand in a spiritual matter like this. It's also silly to have law force recognition of one person's spiritual views on others who consider them odious.

It's time to kick the state out of marriage, and leave it up to churches and their members. Civil unions for all, get rid of the state "marriage".

No comments:

Post a Comment