PostHeaderIcon Marriage Should be Reframed – Not Redefined

Overreaching government is the cause of the ‘gay marriage’ problem in America, not the solution. For untold thousands of years of human history, only during in an infinitesimally few recent ones, has man needed a license from a government to mate. Even in the 2000 years since Jesus’ unlicensed birth, only during less than the last 10% of them, has a government license been required to take a wife. It has only been a few generations since marriages and births (christenings) were simply recorded in the family bible in America, instead of a courthouse. For fewer still, has a license been required to keep a pet dog, and I resent government intrusion into my personal affairs, to try to tell me I’m disallowed either, without written permission from bureaucrats.

Why not cats or pet birds? Are wives, like dogs, potentially dangerous or irritating to one’s neighbors in modern urban environments, and thus in need of regulation? If so, why isn’t boarding an unlicensed mistress forbidden? No, there is something else going on here, which it is difficult to puzzle out. Who came up with the absurd idea of muddling up an essentially religious sacrament, with licensure establishing a legally binding contract between lovers – and why?

Frankly, whatever one’s motive for wishing the state to enforce the vows of matrimony, it is the height of foolishness to ever sign such a contract, the terms of which are subject to change at the whim of politicians. Yet, by law, the signatories remain bound to the arbitrarily amended contract, with terms they never agreed to. No rational man, who had thought that proposition through, would ever sign such an open-ended contract, absent overwhelming social pressure to prove his ‘commitment.’

Why the gay community, which heretofore has at least enjoyed freedom from such coercion, is the slightest interested in buying into it, totally escapes me; but there is much about their miss-wired minds beyond my comprehension. More than most Americans, who have never bothered to consider the alternative, they are well aware of tailor-made, legally enforceable, partnership agreements (sometimes referred to as a ‘civil union’). One can be drawn up by any lawyer, without need of consulting any government agent, beyond perhaps a notary public to attest the signatures.

There is no restriction whatever regarding gender, sexual proclivities, familial relationships, or even the number of parties to such a private contract. The expectation of affection, sexual favors, or their exclusivity within the partnership, need not be assumed or even addressed, unless the parties deem it important to do so. Yet they provide essentially all of the advantages and none of the drawbacks of a marriage license contract, for those desiring legal enforcement of marriage vows.

The exception, of course, is the ways in which government and some institutions legally discriminate against unlicensed citizens, with tax preferences and privileges for licensees (e.g. tax deductions for legal dependents, hospital visitations, etc.). The mistake those advocating for gay marriage make, is to fight the steeply uphill battle to redefine marriage, when they should be attacking this unfair and arguably unconstitutional discrimination. This would be infinitely easier to rectify, considering all of the straight single folks (like me), who would enthusiastically rally to their cause. Indeed, it would take a truly intolerant citizen, married or single, to argue for the sanction of such petty discrimination, regardless of their faith’s position on homosexuality.

The obvious solution, elegant in its simplicity, is to reverse the relatively recent mistake of entangling the religious sacrament of marriage with matters of state. I made the mistake of getting married once, when I was young and foolish, and as yet unaware that marriage is pretty much the antidote for love (If one is hopelessly blinded by love, and can’t overcome the affliction by any other means, get married – for a surefire eyeopener.).

I was living in the Seychelles Islands at the time, which provided me an uncommon perspective. In the Seychelles, the priests did not have the civil authority to issue a marriage license; yet, curiously, they chose not to provide the religious sacrament and ceremony to any couple without one. Thus, I had to get married twice; once by simply signing up for the civil license with a civil servant, without any vows whatever involved, on Dec. 1st. Then again on Dec. 2nd, when we made our vows and were pronounced man and wife by the Catholic priest in my wife’s church.

Now, interestingly, on Dec. 1st I became as legally married and contractually obligated as I ever would be; but her mother refused to allow me to take my young bride home with me. We even good-naturedly argued over it that evening; but she was resolute. In her mind, the legal license we had obtained was only a formality, and we would not be man and wife until the priest declared it. Naturally, societal convention trumped legal definitions by a long shot, and I went home alone on my first wedding night.

Another curiosity is that we always celebrated our anniversary on Dec. 2nd, even though our marriage license was dated the 1st. So, which was it? When was I married? Like a Justice of the Peace wedding here in America, the civil authorities could have cared less whether we subsequently had a church service or exchanged any marriage vows. We were legally married on the 1st, entitled to any of the benefits, and subject to all of the obligations, which our license entailed.

Yet, from the perspective of the church, and devout parishioners like her mom, that was a mere formality and we were not yet wed, until we made our vows at the altar the following day. Naturally, the reception (a rather extravagant affair, theretofore unprecedented in that tiny country) was also held on the 2nd. After which, I was finally allowed to take her home, and we were not only permitted, but actually both legally and doctrinally required to consummate the two marriages, or either could be annulled.

The next lesson came in our second year of marriage, when my job in the Seychelles ended and it was time to return to America. I discovered that our Federal government is rather suspicious of foreign born wives, and I had to jump through a lot of bureaucratic hoops to get permission to bring my wife back home with me. After obtaining the requisite health and criminal record clearances, etc., I had to sign to agree to take legal responsibility for her, as the official sponsor of an alien resident.

We were then required to report her whereabouts annually to the State Department. Then, it came to my attention that the marriage contract I had agreed to in the Seychelles no longer applied. The very act of taking up residence there as a married man, bound me to a new and far more onerous contract, as if I had gotten married in California. Yet, a cottage industry at the time, revolved around Californians evading their strict marriage laws, by taking up a short temporary residence in Nevada, to obtain a quick divorce. Clearly, for the agile and fleet-footed globetrotter, a marriage license can be virtually meaningless and just a bunch of bureaucratic falderal.

Meanwhile, the Catholic church didn’t much care where we lived with our 2nd marriage, and to this day still considers me married to a woman I haven’t even seen for about 35 years; although an American court eventually granted us an amicable no-fault divorce for our 1st marriage after ten years, which I presume the Seychelles civil authorities would recognize. I have never remarried, and as of about 25 years ago, when I lost all contact with her, she hadn’t either. Are we single, or are we married? Which marriage counts? To whom? Why should anyone not intimately involved with us care in the slightest?

These real life experiences make it easy for me to envision a return to the culture of our ancestors, where the word ‘marriage’ is relegated to the realm of the church, and breeches of any contractual obligations cohabitants (of any stripe) might deem it prudent to undertake, would be adjudicated by the state. It seems obvious that this model, which sufficed mankind for centuries of civilization before the age of pesky bureaucracies, would be infinitely easier to return to, than attempting to legally redefine the term ‘marriage,’ into something it has never heretofore meant.

Not only are prenuptial contracts readily available to anyone who thinks they need one, regardless of sexual orientation; but there are plenty of churches that are more than willing to provide gay couples a religious ceremony, if they want one. Problem solved for everyone. All any State needs to do to avoid having to honor a gay marriage from another State tomorrow, is to stop issuing marriage licenses of their own for anybody, and stop discriminating against unmarried citizens, rendering this whole divisive issue moot. ◄Dave►

 

6 Responses to “Marriage Should be Reframed – Not Redefined”

  • Troy says:

    Of all the “issues” we struggle with in our failing Republic, this one seems, to me, the easiest to address. All we need do is understand the bifurcated nature of the modern notion of marriage then act accordingly.

    Taking the religious view of marriage, let those various religious sects establish their own terms and conditions for sanctifying marriage (which, of course, they have already done), then let them act accordingly. If a particular sect don’t like marriage between people of the same gender, of different races, different religions, different nationalities, or whatever other nonsense they can come up with, them let them not sanctify that which disturbs their prejudices.

    Taking the legal or governmental view of marriage, let us acknowledge that what government recognizes is a contract between two entities, meant to address the disposal of property and the care of minor children if, and when death or personal preference causes the contract to be dissolved. The only qualification government should require is that the the parties to the contract be consenting adults with the mental capacity to enter into a contract. Period.

    And, if consenting adults wish to have whatever sort of relationship they think best suits their needs, without the bother of religious sanctification or legal contract, let that be their business.

    As for the ceremonial aspect of marriage, that began with a public display of the joining of two powerful entities, in other words, showing the peasants that they had an additional set of asses to kiss. In this regard, “marriage” had nothing to do with religion or government.

    As to the wish of some gays to be “married”, I think that is just an emotion-driven attempt to gain the appearance of legitimacy. As if I give a crap!

    For an opposing view, please visit: http://www.dallasvoice.com/anti-gay-ad-texas-newspaper-attacks-hrc-1086133.html

    I know this guy and, let me assure you, he, and millions like him, will never soften their views one bit.

    Why do we humans so like to complicate our lives to no good purpose?

    Interesting article Dave.

    Troy

  • I couldn’t agree with you more, both of you. Marriage is downright unconstitutional in its current form. Letting the churches decide the details of government run contracts?

    As a legal contract, I don’t see that marriage should have anything to do with gender, sex, or the raising of children. And who opposes gay marriage on the grounds of tax filing and visitation rights? Those who try to justify their opposition to such things are about as believable as people who claim they want pot legalized because you can make rope out of it.

    People don’t seem to be able to separate the religious and contractual elements of marriage in their heads any better than they see the difference between health care and health insurance. It’s about time we scraped the religion off our government, pried the government out of religion, and told both of them to quit peeping in our bedroom windows.

    • ◄Dave► says:

      Very well put, Steel. I particularly liked the last paragraph, and especially the last line. It will surely come out of my keyboard in the future, in a comment section here and there. 🙂 ◄Dave►

  • Daedalus says:

    Marriage:The act of uniting a man and woman as husband and wife: The legal union of of a man and woman for life.

    Nothing here about love or intimacy. There has been a figurative definition of marriage being an “intimate union.” I think this is where the homosexual community has become confused.

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