Can “privatized” marriage work?

posted at 2:01 pm on February 14, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Years ago, I advocated that the best way to protect the traditional definition of marriage was to get government out of the business of it. Many traditionalists objected to it, and there are good arguments for conserving the tradition in law as the basis to keep families and children prioritized over the desires of adults seeking government recognition for their own non-traditional relationships. That argument relies on the moral force of law in the culture, but the momentum of the culture clearly has accelerated in the opposite direction, and moral force in the definition of marriage with it.

The greater issue for traditionalists, and the bigger risk, will be that religious institutions will find themselves trapped by the changing definitions. We’ve already seen evidence that participants in the wedding industry will find themselves under fire for sticking with their own values in choosing when and how to participate in the market. Ministers occupy a rather unique position in the confluence of state and church, operating in an official capacity as an agent of the state to certify marriages. Even though advocates of same-sex marriage insist that they don’t want to force churches into performing these ceremonies, it’s not going to be long before such challenges arise, and will push churches out of the marriage business instead of government — which is a big reason for getting government out first. And if you doubt that this will become an issue, just look at the HHS contraception mandate and their treatment of religious organizations.

Francis Beckwith disagrees, calling such an arrangement unworkable, and insists that traditionalists need to keep fighting to retain the historical definition of marriage instead:

Imagine, for example, as one of my former doctoral students once suggested in a dissertation that defended this idea of privatization, that marriage becomes exclusively the domain of “the church.” Suppose Bob and Mary, both devout Catholics, marry in the Church under the authority of canon law.  Over the next decade, they have three children. Mary decides to leave the Church, however, to become a Unitarian and seeks to dissolve the marriage. Because the Church maintains that marriage is indissoluble, and Mary has no grounds for an annulment, the Church refuses her request.

Mary then seeks the counsel of her pastor at the Unitarian Church. She tells Mary that the Unitarian Church recognizes her marriage with Bob, but maintains that divorcing him is perfectly justified, since the Unitarian Church holds that incompatibility is a legitimate ground for divorce.  So, Mary now requests a divorce from the Unitarian Church, and it is granted. The Church also grants her full custody of her children, since, according to Unitarian moral theology, what Bob teaches their children about contraception, abortion, and same-sex relations are “hate sins,” and thus is a form of child abuse.

So, who wins in this case? Suppose you say that because it was originally a Catholic marriage, it should remain so, even if Mary changes her religion. But who has the authority to enforce such a rule? The Catholic Church? The Unitarians? What if the Catholic Church agrees to it, but not the Unitarians?

Suppose Mary, on the authority of the Unitarian ruling, simply takes the children and moves out of state. Is that kidnapping? Can a Catholic ecclesial court issue an order to a local Knights of Columbus office to return Mary and her children to their original domicile so that she can be tried in an ecclesial court for violations of canon law? And if she is convicted, can the Church put her in an ecclesial prison or fine her?

Suppose that Mary not only leaves with all the children, but also empties the couple’s bank accounts and donates their contents to the Unitarian Church? Is it a crime? Who decides? Imagine that all these issues were addressed in private contracts that Bob and Mary drew up and signed upon the commencement of their marriage in the Catholic Church. Who has the power to make sure these breaches are remedied and compensation given to the wronged parties?

The problem with all of these scenarios is that they are based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what privatization means in this context. The issue is not who gets jurisdiction over the secular consequences of relationships, but the definition and recognition of what a marriage actually is. Disconnecting the government from the authority to define and certify “marriage” does not involve moving all of the jurisdictions for the consequences of marriage to the church, synagogue, or temple. Privatization basically says that the government has no role in “certifying” or promoting relationships between consenting adults, but rather is limited to the enforcement of contract law in disputes between them. The status of “marriage” then becomes a strictly voluntary matter of recognition by one’s faith community, based on the tenets of the faith.

The legal and property issues of cohabitation in any form would still lie with the state. Government still has the jurisdiction and the competence for enforcement of contracts, both explicit and implicit. Cohabiting couples who never marry at all would have to resolve their property and custodial arrangements if and when they part ways, assuming they have children at all. If they can’t resolve those interests amicably, they go to court regardless of their marital status.

This would be no different if recognition of marriage were left to the churches. The state would still settle the contract issues in a dissolution of the partnership; the only issues left to the churches would be the religious implications of the end of the marriage, and that would be on a purely voluntary basis, as is faith now. To use Beckwith’s example, a Catholic who got married in the church but later ended the relationship and started another would have to deal with the Catholic Church on his/her eligibility to remain in communion, not on custody of children or property. If the Catholic became a Unitarian, it’s no longer the Catholic Church’s issue. (That happens already, by the way.)

This is all academic, because few in this debate want to give up state control of marriage, although a few lawmakers in Oklahoma are considering it. There are good reasons for traditionalists to stay engaged (if you’ll pardon the pun), but this argument isn’t one of them.

Update: This, however, by Jennifer Morse, is a much better argument:

In other words I asked, “Do the needs of society place constraints on how we treat children?” But even this analysis still views the child from society’s perspective. It is about time we look at it from the child’s point of view, and ask a different kind of question. What is owed to the child?

Children are entitled to a relationship with both of their parents. They are entitled to know who they are and where they came from. Therefore children have a legitimate interest in the stability of their parents’ union, since that is ordinarily how kids have relationships with both parents. If Mom and Dad are quarreling, or if they live on opposite sides of the country, the child’s connection with one or both of them is seriously impaired.

But children cannot defend their rights themselves. Nor is it adequate to intervene after the fact, after harm already has been done. Children’s relational and identity rights must be protected proactively.

Marriage is society’s institutional structure for protecting these legitimate rights and interests of children.

This is not only a humane answer, it is also the proper libertarian answer, indeed the only possible truly libertarian answer. For only this answer allows the possibility of a society in which every individual person is recognized as valuable, as bearing intrinsic human dignity, of holding rights against other people and against the state.

I agree — and that’s why when it came to choosing a definition of marriage in Minnesota, I chose the traditional, procreative model. Other than what Morse identifies, the state has no business in relations between two consenting and non-consanguinous adults. If the state refuses to recognize that limited interest, though, then it shouldn’t be in the marriage business at all. (Thanks to INC in the comments for highlighting this.)

Update: Francis Beckwith and I had a very pleasant exchange on Facebook, and noted:

Ed, you write: “Francis Beckwith disagrees, calling such an arrangement unworkable, and insists that traditionalists need to keep fighting to retain the historical definition of marriage instead.” I actually don’t argue the latter clause in the essay to which you link. I deal exclusively with the privatization question.

Keep that in mind, please, and thanks to Francis for the clarification.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2

For the comments about civil versus religious divorce: The LDS church (as a contrasting view of marriage to Catholic and Orthodox espoused in this thread already) recognizes two forms of marriage:

Till death do you part, and temple (or eternal) marriage.
The first is the standard that most people think of as marriage. Man creates it, man can destroy it. Indeed, the ceremony itself contains seeds of divorce–you are married until one of you dies, at which point the marriage dissolves.

Civil marriage is this, as well as the vast majority of other marriages. LDS people use this form of marriage all the time too.

The second, eternal marriage, is marriage for eternity–you are married and those ties do not expire, but survive the grave. By the same token, your children remain your children, as they are sealed to you. This is the highest form. This is what Jesus was talking about when He removed Divorce.

To get a divorce from the first is easy–the court can do it. The second requires the highest leaders of the LDS church to cancel it (much like the Catholics view the Pope can do).
To qualify for this second kind of marriage requires a very high level of personal righteousness, and commitments to each other and to God. It is only performed inside an LDS Temple (if you’ve wondered what happens inside one, that’s one of the main things). Naturally, the gays want to force the LDS church to let them be sealed, as we call it.

It will never, ever happen. And the gays hate that idea. Why won’t it ever happen? In LDS theology, we can continue to have children after this life, if we are married under the covenant. Clearly, since gays cannot have children, they cannot there. There is no point to being sealed for a gay relationship–it is a dead relationship.

Shortly after the judge ordered Utah to perform gay weddings, someone jumped the gun and filed a lawsuit against the LDS church. They had not gotten their procedures right, though, so it was quickly swept under the rug. But we all know it is coming.

And I will tell you now–The LDS church will shut down all of our Temples before we will “marry” a gay person inside one. The time is coming, and coming soon, when we will have physical conflict over this. Because naturally the gays think they are second class, and they are. Committing sin does in fact restrict the potential blessings that God will give you. The judge cannot force a blessing from God.

Vanceone on February 14, 2014 at 3:24 PM

The current article I’m quoting from Morse is the one she’s written on how privatizing marriage is unjust to children. This is what happened with her own change of thinking.

In other words I asked, “Do the needs of society place constraints on how we treat children?” But even this analysis still views the child from society’s perspective. It is about time we look at it from the child’s point of view, and ask a different kind of question. What is owed to the child?

Children are entitled to a relationship with both of their parents. They are entitled to know who they are and where they came from. Therefore children have a legitimate interest in the stability of their parents’ union, since that is ordinarily how kids have relationships with both parents. If Mom and Dad are quarreling, or if they live on opposite sides of the country, the child’s connection with one or both of them is seriously impaired.

But children cannot defend their rights themselves. Nor is it adequate to intervene after the fact, after harm already has been done. Children’s relational and identity rights must be protected proactively.

Marriage is society’s institutional structure for protecting these legitimate rights and interests of children.

This is not only a humane answer, it is also the proper libertarian answer, indeed the only possible truly libertarian answer. For only this answer allows the possibility of a society in which every individual person is recognized as valuable, as bearing intrinsic human dignity, of holding rights against other people and against the state.

INC on February 14, 2014 at 3:28 PM

Who said he’s without sin? We’re all sinners. The difference though is that some of us try and rebuke the sin, rather than the sinner while others celebrate the sin and try an force the rest of us to join the “party”.

jawkneemusic on February 14, 2014 at 3:15 PM

Rebuking the sin, and using the force of government are two different things. I don’t support gay marriage, polygamy, serial divorces but I dont advocate the use of violence against those that practice it. Sharia law is wrong whe the Islamo crazies do it, and its wrong when others do it.

MoreLiberty on February 14, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Of course throw that stone. There is absolutly no difference between Islamic sharia law, and your view that we should punish those whom you deem immoral. I believe that their actions are immoral as well, but if they haven’t stole, vilolated peoples rights, property, used violence are commited acts which are deemed malum in se then I’m sorry. The only real difference between fanatical sharia law, and what you are proposing, is simply the level of severity.

MoreLiberty on February 14, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Interesting you should use that phrase, malum in se, Latin for “evil in itself.” Tell me, when you forge a set of vows (i.e. promises) which impose upon yourself particular duties and obligations to another person (such as marital fidelity given by the lines “forsaking all others” and “’til death do you part”), and being of sound mind, you decide of your free will to break those vows and betray the person to whom you made those promises, what is that if not malum in se? When I’m talking about getting rid of no-fault divorce, that’s precisely the sort of thing I’m addressing: dealing with acts that are malum in se.

Stoic Patriot on February 14, 2014 at 3:29 PM

One further thought for Ed.

Your dismissal of Beckwith’s argument is based on the faulty assumption that marriage is religious institution. Marriage is a civil institution that has zero meaning outside of a body of law concerning rights, duties and responsibilities of each party. By eliminating that body of law you reduce marriage to the status of any joint venture be it living together or running a Starbucks. In other words you will have abolished marriage.

jerryofva on February 14, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Anyone who has read or studied child development knows the truth of what Morse is saying about what children need.

If you’ve read or studied the different parenting styles of mothers and fathers and how they work in tandem to provide the best environment for children, the you know the truth of what Morse is saying about what children need.

It’s significant that having children herself brought her face to face with the needs of children and was a catalyst to her change of mind.

INC on February 14, 2014 at 3:30 PM

The state can’t get out of the marriage business. That’s the point of those whom I’ve been quoting.

I suppose it could, but it would require a massive readjustment and would also require the state to leave some people (women and children) out in the cold which I don’t see happening.

Redefining marriage is only going to expand the role of the state and make government more intrusive into our personal lives.

INC on February 14, 2014 at 3:18 PM

That is what I think is the most likely outcome.

sharrukin on February 14, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Of course throw that stone. There is absolutly no difference between Islamic sharia law, and your view that we should punish those whom you deem immoral. I believe that their actions are immoral as well, but if they haven’t stole, vilolated peoples rights, property, used violence are commited acts which are deemed malum in se then I’m sorry. The only real difference between fanatical sharia law, and what you are proposing, is simply the level of severity.

MoreLiberty on February 14, 2014 at 3:22 PM

Lol, dude, if you have to resort to comparing those of us who don’t want to see marriage redefined by the state and a very small group of noisy anti-marriage activists to Islamic murderers, you’ve lost the argument. This will probably be the dumbest thing I read on the Internet for the rest of the month.

jawkneemusic on February 14, 2014 at 3:31 PM

jerryofva on February 14, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Yes, and children pay the immediate price. Adults will pay it later when they have to live in a society with fewer people able to make the transition from being a child to being a mature adult.

INC on February 14, 2014 at 3:34 PM

I’m all for it as long as I can get a 50,000 smiles guarantee, and free shipping back to Amazon (via drone) if my Russian mail-order bride doesn’t meet my expectations.

/ from a life long hetero-bachelor!

ZeusGoose on February 14, 2014 at 3:34 PM

Rebuking the sin, and using the force of government are two different things. I don’t support gay marriage, polygamy, serial divorces but I dont advocate the use of violence against those that practice it. Sharia law is wrong whe the Islamo crazies do it, and its wrong when others do it.

MoreLiberty on February 14, 2014 at 3:29 PM

LOL!!!! Again with the Sharia stuff. No one is advocating stoning people in public moron. The radicals trying to use government to coerce religious business owners into complying with the gay agenda are the aggressors. Were simply trying to preserve an institution that been the foundation for human procreation since the beginning to man.

Jeez, you can’t seriously believe this nonsense you just typed, do you?

jawkneemusic on February 14, 2014 at 3:35 PM

jawkneemusic on February 14, 2014 at 3:35 PM

I should say, has been the foundation of human procreation since the beginning of the civil society rather than the beginning of man.

jawkneemusic on February 14, 2014 at 3:38 PM

sharrukin on February 14, 2014 at 3:30 PM

You’re right. The Left always picks up on any excuse for the state to intrude further, and in the supposed name of leaving women and children out in the cold (in reality about whom they could care less), would do so. Custody battles and lawsuits would continue and only become worse, and government would have a heydey.

INC on February 14, 2014 at 3:38 PM

INC:

We already know where abolishing marriage leads. It is the culture of the ghetto. Why do you think Progressives want to abolish marriage? Progressives are much smarter the Libertarians, they understand where all this is going. In the [faux] Libertarian fantasy world all the single mothers and gangbangers will vote for them because they exalted their culture.

jerryofva on February 14, 2014 at 3:39 PM

I advocated that the best way to protect the traditional definition of marriage was to get government out of the business of it.

I guess we are just going to repeat this ad nauseum. You say this ED but you never address the fact that what you are suggesting is not getting the government out of the business of marriage. You are just removing the word marriage. You do not in any way shape or form address the fact that the state will not enforce any part of a marriage contract between parties which it finds objectionable. This is true even when the state would enforce the very same provisions were they part of a contract between an employer and employee. You don’t get to act like marriage is treated as a contract now when it is very clear it is not and will not be just because the state stops using the word marriage.

Cohabiting couples who never marry at all would have to resolve their property and custodial arrangements if and when they part ways, assuming they have children at all. If they can’t resolve those interests amicably, they go to court regardless of their marital status.

Yes they do and you know how that is resolved? If you can show you bought it or that it was yours prior to cohabitation it’s 100% yours. There is no community property in cohabitation. One party doesn’t have to pay the legal fees of the other either. If a woman moves into a house owned by a man and lives with him 10 years she doesn’t get half that house when she leaves. She doesn’t even get 1% of it.

This would be no different if recognition of marriage were left to the churches. The state would still settle the contract issues in a dissolution of the partnership;

Again, wrong. Once they stop using the word marriage dissolution of these civil unions will will not take place by partnership law. They will still used the laws developed based on marriage. This name change accomplishes nothing.

Rocks on February 14, 2014 at 3:42 PM

And I will tell you now–The LDS church will shut down all of our Temples before we will “marry” a gay person inside one. The time is coming, and coming soon, when we will have physical conflict over this. Because naturally the gays think they are second class, and they are. Committing sin does in fact restrict the potential blessings that God will give you. The judge cannot force a blessing from God.

Vanceone on February 14, 2014 at 3:24 PM

The Episcopal Church is already recognizing and performing same sex marriages, as are other denominations. Why would a same sex couple even think about trying to marry in the LDS Church?

rockmom on February 14, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Here’s an article by one of the authors of What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense. Ryan Anderson is with Heritage, and over the past year has written numerous articles, and given lectures on marriage. Of the three authors of the book, he’s been the most active in public forums on marriage, and his stuff is all over the web. .

Redefine Marriage, Make Government Bigger

By Ryan T. Anderson

He echoes what Morse said:

For starters, virtually every political community has regulated male-female sexual relationships. This is not because government cares about romance as such. Government recognizes male-female sexual relationships because these alone produce new human beings.

For highly dependent infants, there is no path to physical, moral, and cultural maturity—no path to personal responsibility—without a long, delicate process of ongoing care and supervision to which mothers and fathers bring unique gifts. Unless children mature, they never will become healthy, upright, productive members of society.

INC on February 14, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Why would a same sex couple even think about trying to marry in the LDS Church?

rockmom on February 14, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Same reason they would demand a photographer take photos of their wedding rather than get another photographer, and the same reason they would demand a cake from someone who told them they don’t do gay weddings.

That’s why.

sharrukin on February 14, 2014 at 3:48 PM

Privatized marriage is a bad idea. That said, it’s better than leftists ordering priests to marry people at gun point. Which is the ultimate goal of the left, and the gays.

What happens when they order a Catholic Bishop (or LDS one, whatever) to marry two women and the Bishop refuses? What happens when they order the Catholics to provide the Sacrament of Marriage, or try to order an LDS sealer to seal those same two women? Will they arrest the bishop? Execute him?

Here’s a scenario for Libfree: In LDS culture, we have what’s called a “Temple Recommend.” It certifies that you can be admitted to any of the LDS temples. In order to get one, you pretty much have to be honest, living God’s law, etc.
Active Homosexuals cannot get one. But some businesses will prefer to deal with recommend holders, because generally speaking it is like a credit score in some ways. People shouldn’t do it, since it is not a credit score, but it still happens. In particular, the LDS church sells a line of clothing that requires people to have a temple recommend in order to purchase it.

Do you think, LibFree, that a gay person can demand the state to force the LDS church to issue him a recommend because his economic interests might (conceivably) be harmed without having one?

Vanceone on February 14, 2014 at 3:49 PM

Vanceone on February 14, 2014 at 3:24 PM

Amen. Very well stated.

Regarding the article, I’d say that’s the “fairest” thing to do. I don’t condone homosexuality, but it’s not my right to tell someone how to act. Where I get up in arms is when they push is to take something of mine (a temple marriage) and try to construe it and distort it into something I consider a sin.

I say make everyone have a civil union through the state, and a marriage at whatever religious institution they want. Keep in mind that the institution has the right to deny serving same sex couples, though.

Effay5 on February 14, 2014 at 3:51 PM

I think this is a great idea.

Marriage is a contract. With privatization of marriage couples could sign a contract (pre-nuptial agreement) determining the division of assets and responsibilities regarding children. The problem with state-run marriages is that the state can, at any time, change the terms of the contract.

I don’t think lawyers would have any problem with privatization of marriage. There would still be plenty of divorce work. Not to mention a booming business in pre-nups.

I also think that pre-nuptial contracts will force couples to think seriously about their obligations before marriage and cause them to consider the scope of their obligations in marriage.

Churches don’t have to become legal offices. Nor must they require marriage contracts before sanctifying a union, but most pastors and church leadership councils will likely choose to make signed marriage contracts a requirement before performing weddings.

mr. b on February 14, 2014 at 3:51 PM

Oh, and RockMom: Why would gays want to marry in the LDS church? Because they think they want to be married for eternity? No other Christian denomination believes that or offers such a concept, as far as I know.

Vanceone on February 14, 2014 at 3:52 PM

jerryofva on February 14, 2014 at 3:39 PM

Have you ever read Thomas More’s Utopia? An intrinsic aspect is the state’s complete control of children.

He coined the word Utopia for the imaginary socialist workers’ island paradise he described in his book of the same name. He neatly allocated everyone’s role, responsibilities, and relationships and moved them like pawns to make his system workable, tidying up all the loose ends without consideration for reality. It has an artificial Stepford Wives flavor, as do all Utopias, because people just don’t work that way without being torn asunder.

The children of Utopia are removed from families who have too many and placed with couples who have none. Children who have no aptitude for their father’s trade are placed with another family. Only those children and adults who display “extraordinary capacity and disposition for letters” are allowed to “give themselves entirely up to their studies,” yet the Utopians “esteem those [pleasures] to be most valuable that lie in the mind,” and “They are unwearied pursuers of knowledge.”

INC on February 14, 2014 at 3:54 PM

mr. b on February 14, 2014 at 3:51 PM

Go back and read the articles written by Morse that I’ve been quoting.

INC on February 14, 2014 at 3:55 PM

Marriage is a contract. With privatization of marriage couples could sign a contract (pre-nuptial agreement) determining the division of assets and responsibilities regarding children. The problem with state-run marriages is that the state can, at any time, change the terms of the contract.

mr. b on February 14, 2014 at 3:51 PM

That ISN’T whats being suggested.

From the article…

The state would still settle the contract issues in a dissolution of the partnership

sharrukin on February 14, 2014 at 3:56 PM

And I said back then, if we attempt to “privatize marriage” modernists will gasp at every mention of “spouse” as if it were a gratuitous injection of religion in the public square.

Axeman on February 14, 2014 at 3:59 PM

Here’s a link to Thomas More’s 1516 Utopia. You can read the complete work online. Book II describes this statist fantasy island, and although this work is almost 500 years old, it provides insight into current events of today. It’s not very long, and if you’d like an overview, there is one at Wikipedia.

As a tangent, but related to this thread, because the state will certainly seize more control over children, Mark Levin includes a chapter on More’s Utopia in his book Ameritopia, and writes in his Introduction:

…Utopianism is the ideological and doctrinal foundation for statism. While utopianism and statism or utopian and statist are often used interchangeably, the undertaking here is to probe more deeply into what motivates and animates the tyranny of statism. Indeed, the modern arguments about the necessities and virtues of government control over the individual are but malign echoes of utopian prescriptions through the ages, which attempted to define subjugation as the most transcendent state of man.

Utopianism has long promoted the idea of a paradisaical existence and advanced concepts of pseudo “ideal” societies in which a heroic despot, a benevolent sovereign, or an enlightened oligarchy claims the ability and authority to provide for all the needs and fulfill all the wants of the individual—in exchange for his abject servitude.

…Thomas More’s Utopia, Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan, and Karl Marx’s Communist Manifesto are indispensable in understanding the nature of utopianism. They are essential works that have in common soulless societies in which the individual is subsumed into a miasma of despotism—and each of them is a warning against utopian transformation in America and elsewhere.

INC on February 14, 2014 at 4:00 PM

Do you think, LibFree, that a gay person can demand the state to force the LDS church to issue him a recommend because his economic interests might (conceivably) be harmed without having one?

Vanceone on February 14, 2014 at 3:49 PM

Vanceone, I see where you are going, but consider this:

A true privatization of marriage would provide a better separation of church and state. Right now there is decent separation, but that is getting murky with the government involved in SSM lawsuits, federal appeals, voter ballots, etc. If this privatization were done correctly, the state could not force the church to do anything, as they are separate entities with different spheres of influence.

Effay5 on February 14, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Use the European approach. Have a mandatory “civil marriage” that deals with the legal consequences. Have a wedding in your church if you so desire. No one cares about the civil one until divorce time.

Mu on February 14, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Correct. I know in some European countries, Ireland I think, couples have to go down to the courthouse and have a civil service and then have a separate religious service. The best way is to split the civil marriage from the religious ceremony/ big party. This happens now on both ends. Divorced people wishing to remarry who don’t give the Catholic Church an appropriately large donation get an annulment cannot remarry in the Church and are pretty much one step from being shunned by the Church. Gay couples obviously cannot get married in the Church. On the other side, a gay couple in Alabama can get married by a Unitarian minister but obviously aren’t considered married by the state.

The best way to protect the rights of various religious groups concerning marriages is to state that everyone must go down to the local courthouse and have a civil ceremony. Priests, ministers, rabbis, Elvis impresenators, etc. cannot act as state agents regarding marriages. That would protect the religious sects. However, I don’t think that the Catholic bishops would go for that development because there is a good chance that couples would only go through the civil ceremony and ditch the religious ceremony.

Illinidiva on February 14, 2014 at 4:06 PM

I think this is a great idea.

Marriage is a contract. With privatization of marriage couples could sign a contract (pre-nuptial agreement) determining the division of assets and responsibilities regarding children. The problem with state-run marriages is that the state can, at any time, change the terms of the contract.

I don’t think lawyers would have any problem with privatization of marriage. There would still be plenty of divorce work. Not to mention a booming business in pre-nups.

I also think that pre-nuptial contracts will force couples to think seriously about their obligations before marriage and cause them to consider the scope of their obligations in marriage.

Churches don’t have to become legal offices. Nor must they require marriage contracts before sanctifying a union, but most pastors and church leadership councils will likely choose to make signed marriage contracts a requirement before performing weddings.

What makes you think that courts will recognize these contracts once marriage is abolished? Today’s prenups are valid only because of the body of law that surrouds marriage. Abolish that law and it likely that many of the provisions will not be enforceable. The contract will fall under the same legal structure as any business arrangement. Nobody is going to bind themselves to that kind of system. It takes long enough to disolve a marriage in family court as it is. When you have to good to normal civil court it can takes years adjudicate. Remember dispute resolution would be up to a jury and subject to appeal. How long would be willing to wait to adjudicate a dispute?

jerryofva on February 14, 2014 at 4:09 PM

More from Anderson on children. This is from the article I began quoting above. It’s so ironic that he quotes Obama. I think last June Obama gave some speech about how he was going to highlight the importance of fathers. Then he continues his march to destroy the family.

Marriage is society’s least restrictive means of ensuring the well-being of children. State recognition of marriage protects children. How? By encouraging men and women to commit to each other permanently and exclusively—and to take responsibility for their children.

Social science confirms the importance of marriage for children. According to the best available sociological evidence, children fare best on virtually every examined indicator when reared by their wedded biological parents. Studies that control for other factors, including poverty and genetics, suggest that children reared in intact homes do better than those who aren’t in categories such as educational achievement, emotional health, familial and sexual development, and delinquency and incarceration.

The statistics have penetrated American life to such a great extent that President Barack Obama refers to them as well known:

We know the statistics—that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime; nine times more likely to drop out of schools and twenty times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioral problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.

INC on February 14, 2014 at 4:10 PM

Use the European approach. Have a mandatory “civil marriage” that deals with the legal consequences. Have a wedding in your church if you so desire. No one cares about the civil one until divorce time.

Mu on February 14, 2014 at 2:06 PM

Because marrriage is a civil,not a religious institutiion.

jerryofva on February 14, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Anderson on no-fault divorce, and how it harmed children and as a consequence harmed society and increased government intrusion:

Indeed when the law redefined marriage by introducing no-fault divorce, it taught something about marriage: that it need not entail a real commitment to permanency. It used to be that divorce was issued for fault—the three A’s of common law: abuse, abandonment and adultery—but no-fault divorce allowed a spouse to divorce for any reason or no reason at all. And as a result divorce rates rose from single digits to nearly 50 percent.

And the costs were high.

A Brookings Institution study found that $229 billion in welfare expenditures between 1970 and 1996 can be attributed to the breakdown of the marriage culture and the resulting exacerbation of social ills: teen pregnancy, poverty, crime, drug abuse and health problems. A 2008 study found that divorce and unwed childbearing cost taxpayers $112 billion each year. Utah State University scholar David Schramm estimated that divorce alone costs local, state and federal governments $33 billion each year.

INC on February 14, 2014 at 4:12 PM

This is from Ryan’s conclusion. He also connects the dots between the well-being of children to the economic well-being of a society:

By recognizing marriage, the government supports economic well-being. Here’s how W. Bradford Wilcox, a University of Virginia professor, described the benefits of marriage in summarizing a study he led as part of the National Marriage Project: “The core message…is that the wealth of nations depends in no small part on the health of the family.”

The same study suggests that marriage and fertility trends “play an underappreciated and important role in fostering long-term economic growth, the viability of the welfare state, the size and quality of the workforce, and the health of large sectors of the modern economy.”

So it should be no surprise that the decline of marriage most hurts the least well-off.

A leading indicator of whether someone will know poverty or prosperity is whether, growing up, he or she knew the love and security of having a married mother and father. A Heritage Foundation report last year by Robert Rector points out: “Being raised in a married family reduced a child’s probability of living in poverty by about 82 percent.”

Redefining marriage to exclude the norm of sexual complementarity (shared by a man and a woman) makes other marital norms optional and sabotages the reason for marriage policy. Again, the government’s interest is to ensure that relationships that could result in children are permanent and monogamous, so that those children have a mom and a dad.

Civil recognition of the marriage union of a man and a woman serves the ends of limited government more effectively, less intrusively and at less cost than does picking up the pieces from a shattered marriage culture.

INC on February 14, 2014 at 4:19 PM

But privatizing marriage is a step in the wrong direction again, and will in fact mean an even greater imposition of government intruding into the lives of little ones.

INC on February 14, 2014 at 3:23 PM

I can only go with my own experiences and those of my male friends in similar circumstance. If there had been a strong private contract delineated, rather than merely a promise to God, I would have gotten full custody of my child. But enter no-fault, and the woman has to be openly jabbing herself with a heroin needle to not walk away with the lion’s share and the kids. I was appalled by the state’s intrusion on my marriage contract. They wouldn’t even let me declare my position let alone put up a fight.

John the Libertarian on February 14, 2014 at 4:23 PM

Because marrriage is a civil,not a religious institutiion.

jerryofva on February 14, 2014 at 4:11 PM

There would still be something like marriage – civil marriage in front of a justice of the peace. Any couple can go down to the courthouse and do that now. The argument is that all couples should have to go down to the courthouse and get a civil marriage. Nowadays, the priest, deacons, rabbis, etc. are acting as agents of the state and certifying these marriages for the state.

So couples choosing to get married in a specific faith ceremony would have to have two ceremonies.. one at the courthouse and one at their house of worship. This happens in some European countries now. I believe that all couples in Ireland have to get civilly married at a courthouse. This would definitely protect religious organizations by completely severing church and state. However, most religious organizations will probably lobby against this because couples might decide to ditch the religious ceremony. For some religions, like Catholicism, ditching the religious ceremony is a big no-no. I just learned this recently but Catholics deciding not to marry in a Church ceremony are considered to be living in sin unless they get permission beforehand.

Illinidiva on February 14, 2014 at 4:27 PM

What makes you think that courts will recognize these contracts once marriage is abolished?

jerryofva on February 14, 2014 at 4:09 PM

I think the commonly accepted idea with this model is that current “marriages” would be re-titled “unions” or whatever legal term the gov wants. The couple would then have to go to a different organization to get married, and that definition would be set by the organization.

In essence, it shouldn’t change anything legally apart from terminology, by my understanding.

Effay5 on February 14, 2014 at 4:28 PM

Because marrriage is a civil,not a religious institutiion.

jerryofva on February 14, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Well, I don’t know if there are solid facts either way; my belief is that marriage in the legal sense arose AFTER marriage was practiced from the religious aspect.

Effay5 on February 14, 2014 at 4:32 PM

John the Libertarian on February 14, 2014 at 4:23 PM

I’m terribly sorry about what happened to you. I know from all your comments in the past that you deeply love your child and that you also love being a dad.

The intrusion of government with no-fault divorce would be compounded if marriage became privatized (although realistically, I don’t think that’s ever going to happen). Government would be called in to settle contract disputes, which would be many, heated and bitter. Government would usurp the role of parent and individual judges would still be defining what children need, only with more scope to define, and more scope to do harm.

INC on February 14, 2014 at 4:33 PM

I think the state needs to get out of the Divorce Business.

Little Boomer on February 14, 2014 at 4:39 PM

Can “privatized” marriage work?

No.

Longer answer:
Give it up. SSM advocates won’t stop demanding what they want because the government “cleverly” decides to “get out of the marriage business.” As long as the government has the power to overrule “privatized” marriages, they will. IOW, as long as the government exists.

The only real solution is a Constitutional Amendment declaring that marriage is between a man and a woman, absurd as it is that the federal Constitution should need such a statement.

And even then, you can count on activist judges to declare the Constitution unconstitutional.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 14, 2014 at 4:42 PM

The only real solution is a Constitutional Amendment declaring that marriage is between a man and a woman, absurd as it is that the federal Constitution should need such a statement.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 14, 2014 at 4:42 PM

What if the amendment states that “marriage” is a religious action, and the legal action is something else?

The state will still collect taxes, offer benefits as defined for these unions, but “marriage” is outside the purview of the government.

Effay5 on February 14, 2014 at 4:45 PM

We already have privatized marriage. It’s called prostitution.

Sure, it’s a short term lease situation, but way way cheaper in the end.

Nomennovum on February 14, 2014 at 4:51 PM

The Marxists have been attacking the natural family for over a century.

Now they’ve teamed up with the homosexuals and are finally winning.

p0s3r on February 14, 2014 at 4:56 PM

For your research, how do you define love?

For starters, realize that there are different kinds of love. The love these guys are referring to is romantic love, an inherently unstable, fickle, and ephemeral emotion. Contrast this with the love you have for your children or God’s love of humanity. Two totally different things.

Nomennovum on February 14, 2014 at 5:01 PM

The only real solution is a Constitutional Amendment declaring that marriage is between a man and a woman, absurd as it is that the federal Constitution should need such a statement.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 14, 2014 at 4:42 PM

What if the amendment states that “marriage” is a religious action, and the legal action is something else?

The state will still collect taxes, offer benefits as defined for these unions, but “marriage” is outside the purview of the government.

Effay5 on February 14, 2014 at 4:45 PM

You’ll never win anything by conceding.

SSM advocates are very much like toddlers who want their goal. As long as they can get what they want in the end, they won’t quit trying. The only way to put a stop to it is a firm NO.

I’m not saying this to denigrate them as children, specifically, but because the mindset is exactly the same. They will not be “reasonable” or accept whatever rationale you offer, as any SSM thread on Hot Air should make very, very clear. The only way to end it is a) give in, of b) stop arguing and rationalizing, and just say no.

And as any parent of a toddler knows, once you give in, the next demand will start momentarily.

In fact, that is exactly why we’re having this debate now. Homosexual advocates demanded homosexuality be removed from the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM as a sickness, and got what they wanted. They demanded that the military stop discharging homosexuals, and were rewarded with Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. They are a very demanding and successful group, and they always get what they want in the end.

And because they always have won, they are emboldened to demand that the government put no difference between a marriage and a homosexual coupling — biology be damned, religion be damned, science be damned, social good be damned.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 14, 2014 at 5:03 PM

So my liberty to pollute my neighborhood lake shouldn’t be restricted in favor of the public good?

Donald Draper on February 14, 2014 at 2:15 PM

Another low-intelligence poster with no sense of natural law.

No. Your “liberty” to pollute ends where it begins to harm another individual who also possesses the same liberties, just as my liberty to swing my fist ends prior to your nose.

You will really need to do better if you want to be seen as worth reading here.

Freelancer on February 14, 2014 at 5:04 PM

Nomennovum on February 14, 2014 at 5:01 PM

Apologies for posting to the wrong thread.

Nomennovum on February 14, 2014 at 5:08 PM

You make a good point abuot their presentation – very good. But to be fair, we only have to go to New Orleans during Madri Gras to see hetros acting…well…interesting – for the sake of beads – to say the least.

MoreLiberty on February 14, 2014 at 2:34 PM

Indeed, there are libertines of all stripes. However, as immoral and inappropriate as those displays may be, the Mardi Gras partiers aren’t using that occasion to shove their specific brand of partner choice in the world’s face. They are partying in a non-specific way, the last fling before Lent for the Catholics who play that hypocritical game, and a license to ignore reasonable inhibitions for the rest. For the gays who march with no other purpose in mind than their gay-ness, it is not a laissez-faire activity, they demand your attention and acceptance, if not approval.

Freelancer on February 14, 2014 at 5:10 PM

biology be damned, religion be damned, science be damned, social good be damned.

There Goes the Neighborhood on February 14, 2014 at 5:03 PM

In all honesty, religion is the only one I’m too keen on protecting personally. Social good too, but I only have as much control over that as I do my own household, so that’s where I’ll focus.

The way I see it, the only real way to protect the religious aspect is by further separating church and state. Because LGBTVWXYZ keep using legal avenues to push their agenda, I’ll keep my sacred ideals as far away from legal reach in general.

But I get what you are saying entirely, I just don’t see a better alternative.

Effay5 on February 14, 2014 at 5:12 PM

My whole problem with the “non traditional marriage” thing was the contortions that will be required to deal with existing legal and tax structures. It always seemed that the things that “gay marriage proponents” were demanding – visitation, property transfer, etc, would be better structured and managed through the use of contracts or business partnerships.

2nd Ammendment Mother on February 14, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Elsewhere

Schadenfreude on February 14, 2014 at 5:17 PM

think the commonly accepted idea with this model is that current “marriages” would be re-titled “unions” or whatever legal term the gov wants. The couple would then have to go to a different organization to get married, and that definition would be set by the organization.

In essence, it shouldn’t change anything legally apart from terminology, by my understanding.

If that were true than marriage would not have been privatized then would it?

And more importantly the state would have arbitrarily invalidate these marriages. The commonly excepted idea has not basis in the reality of contract and tort law.

Well, I don’t know if there are solid facts either way; my belief is that marriage in the legal sense arose AFTER marriage was practiced from the religious aspect.

That is because you are historically ignorant. Western marriage is a Greco-Roman civil institution. Prior to the occupation of the Israel by Alexander and his successors the Jews still accepted the practice of polygamy. The Hellenized Jews accepted the Greek marriage ethic of monogamy. Christianity, which sprang form Judaism, kept the tradition intact in the Western Empire as it collapsed. If it were a religious institution how could an atheist or nonchruch goeer ever get married?

jerryofva on February 14, 2014 at 5:25 PM

When you say sodomites are you referring to the millions and millions of conservative, heterosexual people who engage in oral sex? Because if not, I don’t think you know what the word “sodomites” means.

libfreeordie on February 14, 2014 at 2:39 PM

Hey-hey, it’s whack-a-mole time. Pops its head up at the first sign of a possible strawman to build and deflect the topic.

I’m going to indulge your idiocy for just a moment, and I ask all others to bear with me for this. In this and all similar contexts, “sodomites” is a direct euphemism for homosexuals. Of course you know that, but you also know that attempting to engage (pardon the pun) on the actual topic will be of no value for you. This is why you hunt for pseudo-topical handholds on your fatalistic attempt to climb into a position of even microscopic respect here. Oh, and just in case you think the above application of the term is from an extreme fringe, I can find nine examples of its use in that exact manner from popular movies of the last 15 years. That’s Hollywood recognizing the same usage you’d like to discredit.

Good day.

Freelancer on February 14, 2014 at 5:25 PM

There would still be something like marriage – civil marriage in front of a justice of the peace. Any couple can go down to the courthouse and do that now. The argument is that all couples should have to go down to the courthouse and get a civil marriage. Nowadays, the priest, deacons, rabbis, etc. are acting as agents of the state and certifying these marriages for the state.

So couples choosing to get married in a specific faith ceremony would have to have two ceremonies.. one at the courthouse and one at their house of worship. This happens in some European countries now. I believe that all couples in Ireland have to get civilly married at a courthouse. This would definitely protect religious organizations by completely severing church and state. However, most religious organizations will probably lobby against this because couples might decide to ditch the religious ceremony. For some religions, like Catholicism, ditching the religious ceremony is a big no-no. I just learned this recently but Catholics deciding not to marry in a Church ceremony are considered to be living in sin unless they get permission beforehand.

That has been the case in Germany since 1870. However, that does not privatize marriage. It simply emphasizes the civil nature of the institution.

jerryofva on February 14, 2014 at 5:27 PM

Some more thoughts stimulated by Ed’s posting.

Private marriage would be only used by the wealthy who have assets to protect. It would be an expensive proposition to do all the private paperwork to get married, to resolve any contractual disputes or end it. Divorce today is expensive but not as expensive a process as it would be if it has to go through civil court and multiple rounds of appeal. Like many Progressive and faux Libertarian ideas, this one is for aristocracy and not for mere mortals.

Ed is fixated on freeing the Churches from the threat of being forced to do gay marriage ceremonies. On the one hand the state couldn’t care less if some organization performed some meaningless ritual that had no standing in Court. On the other hand both Progressives and faux Libertarians have such large level antipathy towards religious organizations. They will force churches to perform the now meaningless ritual anyway as a matter of public accommodation.

jerryofva on February 14, 2014 at 5:37 PM

What Jennifer Morse says sounds nice and all, but the reality is that 40% of all babies are now born outside of marriage. Marriage is already becoming irrelevant to children. The only alternative to that scenario is to make divorce illegal if you have children, which won’t ever happen.

The best thing is to get government out of marriage and just about every other social relationship. Government’s role should be limited to essential services and contract enforcement. Not marriage, not food, not agriculture, not insurance, not education, etc.

Common Sense on February 14, 2014 at 5:39 PM

Jennifer Morse, is a much better argument:

I agree that her argument is better than Ed’s. Because Ed’s is terrible. But arguing that children are “entitled” to a relationship with both parents is ridiculous. The problem with our government is that too many thing that they have “rights” and “entitlements” to other people and their labor.

besser tot als rot on February 14, 2014 at 5:41 PM

Common sense is very common but doesn’t have much sense. The reason that 40% of children are born out wedlock is because of the success of the Progressive’s century long attack on the institution marriage and the family. It is now coming to a head with the aid faux Libertarians. Progressives want to destroy the family to atomize society so that no institutions stand between the power of the state and the individual. Single mothers are the key demographic that will keep the Progressives in power as they will become entirely dependent on the state. We will become a nation of Julias, and gangbangers who two primary roles will be to impregnate their Julia and rule the streets to keep everybody in line. In the faux Libertarian fantasy world Julia will come to her senses, vote Libertarian and live in noble libertarian poverty.

jerryofva on February 14, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Look at the pretzels we’re twisting ourselves in and all because no one has the guts to stand up to a belligerent 3%.

Nutstuyu on February 14, 2014 at 6:43 PM

And absolutely zero of the allegedly pro-”traditional” marriage laws had anything to do with restricting marriage to procreative couples.. The idea that the effort to ban same-sex marriage has anything to do with anything other than animosity towards gays falls flat on its face.

DaveO on February 14, 2014 at 7:46 PM

The idea that the effort to ban same-sex marriage has anything to do with anything other than animosity towards gays falls flat on its face.

DaveO on February 14, 2014 at 7:46 PM

They been hatin on da ghey for thousands of years!

It’s all just a plot to be mean to those homosexuals! /s

sharrukin on February 14, 2014 at 7:55 PM

Privatizing marriage is one of the dumbest ideas since the ten-day week. License-arians may think it’s a swell idea, because they are for anything that leads to anarchy, but it does not change the very real fact that STATES HAVE NATURAL RIGHTS. At least according to “the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,” the abrogation of which is the true goal of Socialists and their License-arian dupes. Of course, the goal for License-arians is the abrogation of all natural–God-given, or unalienable–rights, whether of the state or the individual. If all rights are civil rights, then the all-powerful state controls all. What government giveth, government taketh away, blessed be the name of Almighty Government!

Take a little time to study the idgits that were the persons behind the French Revolution. They stand as monuments of idgitcy. They hated mommy & daddy, they hated tradition, they hated religion, and they hated God, and they were so full of pride that they thought they could do no wrong. And dontchya know that one of the first things they meddled with was…dun dun dun!…marriage law. That’s why they’re starting up their modern-day dechristianization in America by abrogating marriage and replacing it with state-approved unions that reduce the conjugal bond to a mere contract between parties.

Just wait until the state has to decide what happens to yer kiddos and property in a “marriage” dispute, despite yer “private” marriage contract. It’ll be he that has power that decides what’s best for yer family then…and if the black-robed tyrant is basically a Lois Lerner clone, you can bet Christians won’t be getting fair mediation. In fact, by that point in time, I seriously doubt it’ll be “lawful” to marry in a non-state-approved “church.” Despotism is always the product of anarchy.

TXJenny on February 14, 2014 at 8:17 PM

And absolutely zero of the allegedly pro-”traditional” marriage laws had anything to do with restricting marriage to procreative couples.. The idea that the effort to ban same-sex marriage has anything to do with anything other than animosity towards gays falls flat on its face.

DaveO on February 14, 2014 at 7:46 PM

I see you have your talking points down. I can turn your talking point on its head. Supporting gay marriage has nothing to do with marriage but everything to do with requiring the affirmation by each citizen of the gay lifestyle because failure to affirm is equal to hating gay people.

jerryofva on February 14, 2014 at 9:00 PM

Government would usurp the role of parent and individual judges would still be defining what children need, only with more scope to define, and more scope to do harm.

INC on February 14, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Thank you for your kind words, and yet I’ve forgiven and gone on and found it to be a blessing in disguise. I see and agree with much of what you are saying, but I also have a strong impulse inside me that argues that the more you can get the heavy hand of government out of contractual agreements, the more people will have to negotiate in good faith when the lawyers and arbiters come to the table. The power of governmental law is a sledgehammer in many instances and takes entire leverage points off the table, all in a desire “to be fair” which translates to someone being royally screwed. Had I been allowed to introduce instances of fault, I would have gotten more leniency in achieving greater custody and less financial payout. My criticism of family law is that it has become a habitat of females in positions of power to rule over males.

John the Libertarian on February 14, 2014 at 9:46 PM

John:

One of the primary functions of the government is to provide a method of ensuring that contract are enforced. If you “take the heavy hand of government out of contractual agreements” then such agreements become unenforceable.

jerryofva on February 14, 2014 at 11:49 PM

Years ago, I advocated that the best way to protect the traditional definition of marriage was to get government out of the business of it.

I saw this coming years ago as well. There will be religious marriages and state ‘marriages’. The progressives continue their drive to pull America apart little by little while the Republicans refuse to fight.

RJL on February 15, 2014 at 1:35 AM

Look at the pretzels we’re twisting ourselves in and all because no one has the guts to stand up to a belligerent 3%.

Nutstuyu on February 14, 2014 at 6:43 PM

True. I don’t remember hearing anyone advocating for government to “get out of the marriage business” before this big push began.

I also remember a time when people used to talk about “alternative lifestyles.” So why not embrace that and leave the traditional stuff alone? If there are certain business or civil issues to be worked out, fine, I’m sure those things could be easily settled.

Unless there is another reason to want to take everything down.

ncinca on February 15, 2014 at 11:18 AM

no

corona79 on February 15, 2014 at 3:32 PM

The state of today’s marriages is bad enough and if it is put totally in the hands of the church marriage as we know it will be only for the uber religious fanatics.

Traditional marriage has contributed to the civilization of society and when only the devout worry about it you open the door to those who would destroy any version of civilized behavior.

Why should the majority have to totally revise marriage because a small minority feel “left out

katiejane on February 15, 2014 at 3:46 PM

We’ve had the definition of marriage usurped by people in nonmarital relationships. They’ve redefined marriage. It’s only fitting that we redefine it back. In our circle we refer to marriage as traditional marriage, as in “I’m in a traditional marriage”, or “My traditional marriage spouse”. They can’t go there. They’ve bristle at having their relationship called “TRADITIONAL”. It sticks it right back at them, and we go on as before married but with an updated name for the relationship. Try it. It drives them nuts.

hestrold on February 15, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Why should the majority have to totally revise marriage because a small minority feel “left out“

katiejane on February 15, 2014 at 3:46 PM

Remember when they used to say “How does my SSM affect your straight one?” As if they had no further agendas. And so many well meaning people, not wanting to hurt anyone, went along, without thinking.

ncinca on February 15, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Unless there is another reason to want to take everything down.

Gay people want to marry one another. And yet you refuse to allow them, for no reason other than your “disapproval.” Hence the pretzel twisting to try and frame this issue as something other than simple prejudice.

lostmotherland on February 15, 2014 at 4:52 PM

Vanceone on February 14, 2014 at 3:24 PM

rockmom on February 14, 2014 at 3:45 PM

Methodist Pavilion. It doesn’t matter that they can marry in many accepting churches — what matters is that they want to marry in churches that do not accept their concept of marriage.

We Catholics have one concept of marriage. The Mormons another. And the Episcopalians yet a third.

The moment the state demands that everyone recognize what the state decrees as marriage, we have a very big problem which strikes right at the heart of the First Amendment.

You see, it’s ok for us Catholics, you Mormons, and you Episcopalians to have differing ideas on what constitutes a marriage in our respective religions, and quite another for the state to mandate what we should believe.

When the state acts against a right of association — when the state acts against a baker who does not want her art to be used in a gay wedding because her religion says she should not materially support sin, when the state acts against a photographer who says she does not want to photograph a gay wedding because her religion says she should not materially support sin, when the state acts against a CHURCH which will not allow its sacred ground to be used for gay weddings — well, we certainly have a First Amendment issue that needs resolving.

If I thought the gays would tolerate my beliefs in exchange for the government tolerating their behavior, I’d be on board in an instant. But it doesn’t work that way. They do not tolerate me, and therefore I shall not tolerate them. They have shown that over and over. I know that they will not consider the fight won until us Catholics allow gays to marry in our churches. Ditto for the Mormons. Ditto for the Methodists. Ditto ditto ditto.

unclesmrgol on February 15, 2014 at 4:53 PM

Why should the majority have to totally revise marriage because a small minority feel “left out“

It’s called treating everyone equally. Why in the 50s and 60s did the white majority have to totally revise any number of laws and traditions because a small racial minority felt “left out”?

lostmotherland on February 15, 2014 at 4:54 PM

Gay people want to marry one another. And yet you refuse to allow them, for no reason other than your “disapproval.” Hence the pretzel twisting to try and frame this issue as something other than simple prejudice.

lostmotherland on February 15, 2014 at 4:52 PM

The problem is that they want me to help them marry, in spite of any religious objections I may have in participation. They’ve shown that in the ways I just mentioned in a previous comment.

So, the best defense is a good offense.

unclesmrgol on February 15, 2014 at 4:55 PM

It’s called treating everyone equally. Why in the 50s and 60s did the white majority have to totally revise any number of laws and traditions because a small racial minority felt “left out”?

lostmotherland on February 15, 2014 at 4:54 PM

Would you be open to a same sex relationship assuming that you aren’t gay?

If you answer no, then you are willing to treat gay people differently than straight.

jerryofva on February 15, 2014 at 5:50 PM

That argument relies on the moral force of law in the culture, but the momentum of the culture clearly has accelerated in the opposite direction, and moral force in the definition of marriage with it.

Wrong. It’s just a few judges, Hollyweirdos, news media types, and their sycophants in the Democratic Party.

What Beckwith gets, and what Ed has completely missed, are two words:

Contract Law. From a purely legal and secular point of view, that is all that matters. Marriage essentially a contract between and man and woman where the agree to spend their lives together, raise children, etc

.The state would still settle the contract issues in a dissolution of the partnership

This nails the essence of the issue. In other words, you are back where you started from. The whole “get the state out of marriage” argument is is nothing more than spinning your wheels in place.

DagoTwit on February 15, 2014 at 7:33 PM

Marriage is just another dumb social construct designed to part men from half their money and the red corvette.

antisense on February 14, 2014 at 2:21 PM

THANK YOU!

thejackal on February 15, 2014 at 9:31 PM

It seems to me that state-marriages are already the equivalent of civil union, since the thing that makes marriage “marriage” by the traditional definition is permanency in support of children.

Since the state no longer supports this anyway, marriage is just like any other civil contract designed to facilitate a relationship between two parties.

Traditional marriage is already found only in the church, arguably mostly in the Catholic Church. Therefore, it seems to me that marriage is already privatized, academically speaking. As it is, anyone may certify a wedding. Removing sex requirements from the contract just puts the final nail in the coffin.

servative on February 15, 2014 at 10:35 PM

I hope y’all remember that the same sex marriage debate has nothing to do with marriage or homosexuals or civil rights, religion or the law. It is the latest manufactured victims group the left has carved out out to marginalized Republicans and be further cemented into a permanent Democrat voting block. Homosexuals and other groups should be embarrassed and angry that they’ve allowed themselves to be manipulated this way. Now they are just another group of slaves on the plantation. Their massas don’t care a lick about their welfare. Just keep picking cotton and singing your songs.

mr. b on February 16, 2014 at 3:28 AM

Contracts are by nature “civil”. If people want to draw up a contract (or the Government wants to construct contract law) that allows for the sharing of property, inheritance, taxation or visitation they can do so. Why for example must a relationship between people be defined by its sexuality? Why can’t two non-sexual lifelong friends or siblings enter into a “shared” contract? Aren’t children ultimately protected by the state anyway? How can a church enforce visitation? The term “marriage” can thus be eliminated from secular contract law and marriage can remain the matter of ceremonial dignity and beauty within a church of an individual’s choosing! Church and individuals voluntarily join into this relationship knowing full well the obligations and implications of this relationship.

Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s, render unto God what is God’s!

essequam on February 16, 2014 at 8:04 AM

Other than what Morse identifies, the state has no business in relations between two consenting and non-consanguinous adults.

surely this is almost farcically myopic a contention?

there is no state interest in reducing promiscuity? in the prosocial behaviours engendered by quotidian accountability to one’s partner?

there is no state interest in the economic efficiency of cohabitation? that is to say, in the pooling of resources and reduction in waste?

there is no state interest in the universally-recognised increase in conscientiousness, subjective well-being, and *physical health* observed (on average, natch) among those who enter into permanent unions?

the incredible contention that the only state interest in regulating marriages lies in the domain of child-rearing minimises the social benefit of infertile (or otherwise childless) marriages and frankly smacks of a desperate, last-ditch attempt to keep those filthy heathen homosexuals away from “our” word — for the children, don’tcha kno. certainly the newly discovered fact that marriage has no social benefits outside of child-rearing has not been a traditional view of marriage, religious or otherwise, and the rather transparent invocation of children’s rights seems more tailored to an argument against divorce than it does against “non-traditional” (read: non-biblical) unions.

the arguments against privitisation being quite persuasive indeed, still it appears as tho the increasingly impetuous psuedo-dialectical flailing of the religious against the inexorable tidal currents of history have devolved into self-contradiction and denial of the obvious.

jaxisaneurophysicist on February 16, 2014 at 7:29 PM

Comment pages: 1 2