Marriage Separation of Church and State

Gay marriage continues to be a hotly debated issue, dividing the nation down the middle. I'm firmly on the side of equal rights and privileges for all. The other side sees it differently. It actually surprises me how so many people can have that opinion in this day and age. I see it as nothing short of bigotry. But that's beside the point. The problem-solver in me thinks a pragmatic solution is indeed possible. Consider...

The problem seems to boil down to a matter of semantics. Many of those against gay marriage have no problem with gay civil unions. Elevating the status of a gay couple union from civil union to marriage is what they find objectionable. The word "marriage" is what causes the problem. The "sanctity of marriage" is a phrase quoted frequently, and is what those against gay marriage fear losing. Sanctity implies the imparting of religious sanction, further reinforced by the fact that the consecration of most marriages is done by a church official. Religion is by and large the basis from which most of the objections of gay marriage arise.

The question becomes then, why is marriage something controlled by the state and its laws? It seems to me that government should get out of this business. The concept of the separation of church and state would serve us very well here. The government should only issue civil union licenses, not marriage licenses. After all, the law should only concern itself with the legal aspects of couple unions, and leave the consecration of marriage to the church. This would shift the issue of gay marriage to the local level, and to the religious level, where it belongs.

Posted: Sat - April 10, 2004 at 10:51 PM