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Last login: Friday, May 11, 2012
It seems to me that the fundamental problem with gay marriage is that 'marriage' is used to refer to two different things -- a church-sanctified union between two people, and the civil recognition of a contract between two people to form a household. Civil governments have no authority to tell churches who they can/must perform marriage ceremonies for, and churches likewise have no standing to tell civil governments who can form households.
I wonder how much of the rhretoric and polarization would be alleviated if all our laws were edited to remove terms like 'marriage', 'husband', 'wife', etc., replacing them with neutral terms like 'domestic partnership', etc., so that governments recognized only civil unions, which would receive all the benefits and privileges now accorded to 'marriages', and left 'marriage' as a term defining an exclusively _religious_ union between two people as defined by the church performing the union. In the same way that almost anyone can be empowered to enact a civil union, priests would be able to, as they do now, register the civil union between a couple at the same time as they perform a marriage ceremony, and anyone currently 'married' under the law would be grandfathered as a civil union, as would anyone entering the country with a 'marriage' recognized in another country.
This would allow churches to define 'marriage' as broadly or narrowly as they chose, so that they could preserve "the sanctity of marriage" by defining a marriage as a union between a man and a woman, while raising the government out of the quagmire of trying to avoid the long-discredited "separate but equal" premise of having 'civil unions' for gays and 'marriage' for mixed-gender couples while not dictating how churches conduct their affairs.
May 11, 2012 at 1:02 p.m.
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