Get government out of the marriage business!
Posted by MJ
Before addressing the title of this post I’d like to give a little background on why I wrote this. The Republican Party, for many years, seems to have no concern for the trade or budget deficits, the health care crisis, the declining middle class, or even border security. The three main campaign platforms they use to rally their base are gun control, flag burning, and of course, gay marriage. Now people have said that they think I am homophobic – I tend to disagree and just think I am an enthusiastic heterosexual individual. What I do believe in is equal protection under the law for everyone, which is fundamental to our Constitution. So the question is – how can we extend marriage to everyone and get the conservative Christians to go along with it?
To start with, I think we need look at the current situation. Under the Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, marriage is explicitly defined as a union of one man and one woman – federal law does not recognize same-sex marriage. This leaves it up to the states to define marriage, each in it’s own way. Since 2004 only the State of Massachusetts recognizes same-sex marriages, while nine states and the District of Columbia grant legal unions which allow for varying rights regarding same-sex couples. On the other hand, 26 states have constitutional amendments explicitly barring the recognition of same-sex marriages, and every election cycle sees new measures on state ballots trying to change these numbers both ways.
What a mess!
I guess same-sex couples married in Massachusetts are trapped in that state! To add to the confusion, some companies offer benefits to same-sex couples but most don’t offer anything at all. This does not reflect equal protection under the law! Why can’t we have a federal legal standard that allows all people to enter into marriage and enjoy these constitutional protections?
The answer, of course, is embodied in conservative Christians who think marriage is only for heterosexual people. So how do we fix this and attempt to limit opposition? This brings me back to the title of this post. I propose we get government out of the marriage business! How would this work you ask? First we pass a new federal law that only recognizes civil unions which would have the same protections as current legally defined marriages. This would assure legal standing for all couples in all states, effectively forcing all companies to deal with their employees equally.
Now that we have equal protection under the law for everyone, what about marriage? We simply give marriage back to the church. If a couple wants to be viewed as married, they would have to get blessings from their church. If a church does not think marriage applies to same-sex couples, then that couple would not receive a marriage license in that situation. If same-sex couples wish to be viewed as married, they would simply need to join a church that recognizes their situation.
I believe this would make it hard for conservative Christians to oppose gay marriage. Could they say other religions can’t sanction marriage for everyone? We would be using freedom of religion, separation of church and state, and equal protection under the law to solve this issue. So let’s just get government out of marriage once for all and end the debate on this.
I have never heard anyone take this angle on this issue and believe it is original thinking on my part, therefore, I felt I needed to write a post to take credit if this idea ever takes off. Does this idea have merit or is it unworkable? Looking forward to comments of criticism, approval, and rants regarding this post.
Posted on September 25, 2007, in Gay Rights, Politics, Religion, Social Policy and tagged anti-gay rights, constitutional protections, Defense of Marriage Act, Gay, Gay Marriage, gay marriage referendums, Gay Rights, Law, Marriage, Politics, Religion, republicans and gay rights, state gay marriage laws. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.