I am operating under the assumption that - whether you like it or not, believe it or not, want to admit it or not - the term 'marriage' is inseparably saturated with religious, spiritual, ritualistic connotations. I'm not sure it's been enunciated in quite this way, but certainly the idea is embedded within campaign slogans from the right such as 'protecting the sanctity of marriage' which have been used in attempts to bar same-sex couples from access to legally recognized union.
I'm reposting a blog piece I wrote back in November of 2009 and which, on the great whole, I still agree with...um... wholeheartedly. Recently I mentioned to a good friend that keeping a blog is weird. I can look back on my own writing and argue with it, wish to flesh it out more or even make huge changes.
One thing I didn't make as clear as I would have liked in my 2009 piece, is the idea above. "Marriage" is a religious term and regardless of any arguement you make about how certain individuals treat it (ala quicky Vegas ceremonies or hopping from one into the other like changing lanes on I-5, or notorious public figures found together outside In & Out Burger), the word and its institution is considered a holy sacrament by many private groups; groups which have been and should remain protected under the law just as every individual citizen should be. Add to that the idea in our constitution that Church and State must be kept seperate and I come to the conclusion that our government's involvement in the 'marriage' business is a breach of that necessary seperation. As far as Mormons go, I also note that, to my knowlege, the LDS (Mormon) church, has not opposed legalizing same-sex marriage other than in California with the infamous Prop 8. I certainly heard not a peep of protest when same-sex marriage was legalized here in New York. I would argue the reason for this is that though, yes indeed, LDS theology teaches marriage only between a man and a woman, more importantly, because California's same-sex marriage law does not have satisfactory safe-guards embedded in it protecting private religious institutions from having the law imposed on them. Again, I believe the government has no business in the... marriage business. If we are to have a seperation of church and state, it has to work both ways - we must protect the state from undue religious influence but also, we must protect religions from the same encroachment by the state. To make it fair for everyone and to protect both equality for every citizen and the seperation of church and state, I believe more strongly than ever that we must remove the term 'marriage' from the civil arena and leave it to private institutions to grant or withold as they wish. As far as government and the legal privileges and protections it provides, each and every coupling would have access to a civil union, right across the board, be it man, woman, or tangerine. That's right people on the right and the left and all variations in between - I think it's time for the government to get a divorce from marriage. Truly it is a bad, bad romance.
Here's my original blog post from 2009. I'm curious what you think. Would you get behind such a move? I think it's a good idea - one I've fielded with a lot of people. I think that it makes an equitable solution for everyone and will work wonders toward saving our national union. What do you think?