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Should ONLY Churches Marry Couples?

December 8, 2012

I want your thoughts and responses today, please….  I have hesitated to wade into the debates and battles over gay marriage, either here or more privately.  But I do now want to throw out one simple idea for discussion.  Honestly… I haven’t spent time thinking through all the implications and really want your input and discussion among comment-ors.  Same-sex marriage is an important issue on more than one level, as my explanation of the idea will bring out.

English: A woman makes her support of her marr...

English: A woman makes her support of her marriage, and not civil unions, known outside the Mormon temple at New York City’s Lincoln Center. Photographer’s blog post about this photo and the protest. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The idea is a step that, if taken in my state of California, and potentially all states,  could eliminate all the wasteful, untasteful fights over things like our “Prop 8” and the “Defense of Marriage Act”.

It is not original to me, but I’ve heard little about the idea…. It is this:

Let each state or pertinent government now issuing “marriage” licenses move to issuing ONLY “civil union” licenses, to everyone wanting one, under the same age criteria and such now in place.

THEN anyone wanting to be “married” in a moral, spiritual or social sense (but legally unnecessary and irrelevant) could go to a church/minister for such a ceremony and consider themselves married in a way that their civil license might not satisfy for them.  (IRS regulations and such would switch terminology from “married” to “civilly united” if necessary.)

Seems to me that pretty simply could solve the “gay marriage” issues on the political level, with the bonus that it would enhance separation of church and state rather than perpetuate their current entanglement on this issue.

I’m sure there would still be resistance to this from many religious or other conservatives but I think that might diminish quicker and a broadly acceptable situation settle out faster than under the current political, legislative, judicial battles.

What are your thoughts and opinions?

(If you are from another country than the USA, please share your perspectives also…. We need to learn from others’ experiences and wisdom beyond our borders.  Thank you!)

2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 8, 2012 10:09 pm

    Two thoughts, from a conversion with my gay aunt…

    1. There are too many laws, etc, on the books to make rolling all laws relating to marriage back practical.

    2. Why not give gay people the right and dignity afforded by joining the ranks of the married folk?

    • December 9, 2012 4:35 am

      Thanks, “Atimetorend”. I agree with affording gay people “the right and dignity” that marriage currently carries. It may well be that that will increasingly come via merely broadening current marriage laws and customs to include them. I’m not suggesting we stop that trend. My suggestion may indeed be too complicated legally to be practical…. I don’t have enough legal knowledge to know one way or the other.

      But I do think it at least deserves a discussion which I’m not hearing. My personal intention for “church only” marriages would be to impart equal societal dignity or recognition to same-sex marriage as opposite-sex marriage, if and when a given couple (of either sort) seeks it. There are already a lot of churches which do or would do same-sex marriages and I know the number will increase.

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