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Ranec Donating Member (336 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-18-04 05:11 PM
Original message
Marriage (gay and otherwise)
My feelings about the whole marriage debate are echoed in this great article from the front page

Marriage should be a religious matter. Get the government out of deciding who is married. If the Catholics only allow members to marry other Catholics, so be it. If the Unitarians want to marry GLBT couples, great!

We would then necessarily need some way to codify the family struture via civil unions, domestic partnerships, or whatever you want for the sake of the government. You already need to go to townhall to get a license.

I have the feeling that one of the big factors in the debate over gay marriage is that it feels to some people that the government will be intruding into their churches. Their response is for their church to intrude into the government, but that is another story.

It'll never happen that way, but it seems to me that is what I would do if I was in charge.

Does anyone know anything about the French system? Apparently they implemented some sort of civil union license that more and more straight couples are taking advantage of.
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ewagner Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-18-04 05:21 PM
Response to Original message
1. Don't know about that BUT
I think the article is getting very very close to the solution for the problem.

Remember, marriage is considered a sacrement in some churches and, if I remember correctly, The State (as in all government) was only a johnny-come-lately to the issue. So if the church wants to claim domain over the term "marriage" fine.

There is ,however, a state interest in marriage. Property rights, privacy rights, care of children, and public health (remember WHY we had to get blood tests before marriage?). I see no reason why the state should have to pass on these areas of interest in any kind of union. If necessary, state laws regarding these issues should be expanded to include civil unions and carry the same force-of-law as they do for church sanctioned unions/marriages...whatever.

The fear over these unions is in the churches and if that's taken away, the issue becomes resolvable.
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Maat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-19-04 02:50 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I agree.
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renaissanceguy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-21-04 04:10 AM
Response to Reply #1
3. Yeah.
Let churches have the word if they want it.

If it's civil unions or civil marriage for everyone by the states, then it further removes religion from the discussion.
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MrModerate Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 10:28 AM
Response to Reply #3
4. Right -- as long as you don't have state-approved . . .
Edited on Mon Nov-22-04 10:28 AM by MrModerate
"Marriage" for some couples, while others (presumably same-sex) have to make do with "civil union."

And the rest of the laws have to afford uniform privileges to CU, regardless of the state of origin.

AND -- CU needs to be just as messy and difficult to cancel as the civil aspects of marriage are now. None of this filing a form with the city clerk and it's all done. Why? -- because public resources are going to be allocated based on one's status in a CU.

Or how about a reversion to common-law practices, where if you cohabit with someone long enough, yer "married" whether you want to be or not?

While I'm being flippant here, my opinion is that "secular marriage" is a valuable concept, and should be fostered and made uniform. I don't give a flip what the churches do, but the intent to commit yourself to a life-long partnership IS the glue that holds society together -- even when we imperfect humans fail the standard -- and I'd like to see it facilitated in the secular sphere.
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TaleWgnDg Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 10:48 AM
Response to Original message
5. My first kneejerk reaction to your post is why is it here? Why is . . .
it here in this forum? This forum entitled "Religious Freedom & Church-State Issues?" Until I realized once again that people are too damn confused, mixed-up and ill-informed about this issue -- some to the point of emotional freak-out from fear. This issue is about law and what marriage laws grant to individuals. Our marriage laws grant legal duties, legal obligations, and legal benefits which have nothing to do w/ religion.

And, then my second reaction was why were you referring to
when that, too, is based upon an incorrect premise? Again, this issue is about law and what marriage laws grant to individuals. Our marriage laws grant legal duties, legal obligations, and legal benefits which have nothing to do w/ religion.

However, this issue swirls around in misinformation wrapped in emotion and angst by some and fear by others. How sad. Let's try some stoic unemotional law for clarity. Just to clear the air.

First of all, in Massachusetts same sex marriage is legal and is based upon sound and rational and reasonable facts and law. For example, the Massachusetts marriage laws have never been based upon religion, never in it's entire history:

"Simply put, the government creates civil marriage. In Massachusetts, civil marriage is, and since pre-Colonial days has been, precisely what its name implies: a wholly secular institution. See Commonwealth v. Munson, 127 Mass. 459, 460-466 (1879) (noting that "in Massachusetts, from very early times, the requisites of a valid marriage have been regulated by statutes of the Colony, Province, and Commonwealth," and surveying marriage statutes from 1639 through 1834). No religious ceremony has ever been required to validate a Massachusetts marriage. Id." (Goodridge v. Massachusetts Department of Public Health, ___ Mass. ____, SJC-08860, November 18, 2003, italicized emphasis added.)

Please read that above quote from the Goodridge court decision very carefully, very closely because it recites the history of marriage in Massachusetts. And that's what the law relies upon. It relies upon facts, factual history, case law, legislative made law, and the constitution.

A religion in Massachusetts cannot marry people without the state government granting someone within that religion authority/power to perform a marriage ceremony, period.

Each and every state in America (via its constitution and legislative made law) grants certain individuals in their respective states the authority (and power) to perform marriage ceremonies, whether religious ceremonies or otherwise. Again, it is within the power of the State to so grant this authority. No religion in America has the power or authority to perform a marriage ceremony UNLESS it is granted that power/authority by the State government.

It's never EVER been the other way around in America, NEVER.

Second of all, marriage in and of itself grants each marriage partner certain benefits, obligations, and duties in both state and federal laws. As opposed to non-marrieds who can never partake in these benefits, obligations, and duties conferred upon marrieds. This is the turning issue in this entire ill-informed "debate" . . . benefits, duties, obligations, and privileges granted in law to marrieds only, both in state laws and in federal laws. For an shortened overview of these state and federal laws, please see: (this requires Adobe Reader)

And, finally, in America where all people are treated equally, where we do not discriminate against groups of citizens, and where citizens cannot denied due process of our laws, we cannot under our federal constitution deny the marriage laws to some and grant those same marriage laws to others.

I certainly hope that I've been of some service to clear your vision of doubts and fears that some in America have attempted to tweak, particularly the rightwing element who strive to use religion for votes, and to place discrimination into our laws.

And one last thing. Same sex marriage will not take away any religions' right to say "NO!!!" to marrying a homosexual couple. It's pure fiction to fear that any State in America can force a religion to marry anyone against their religious beliefs. Religious freedom is express in the constitution's first amendment.

And that's it, in a nutshell. Family law as to same sex couples and marriage.


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wildflower Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-22-04 11:51 AM
Response to Original message
6. Yes, keep them separate...and it's all in how you define the words, really
For example, one could define people who are legally married as "married," and those who are, additionally, married in a religious ceremony, as "married under God."

The former, legal marriage, would not discriminate, and would not interfere in what the churches do.

The latter, religious marriage, would not discriminate either, I hope. But if it did, people could decide not to join that church.

Above all, one wouldn't interfere in the other. (Government and religion.)

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