Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Abolish civil marriage

Some of you may think MZ's gone insane reading the title of this post. After all, is there anybody more rightwing and traditional than MZ? Well, read on and you'll hopefully see that I am actually preserving, not perverting, the institution and meaning of marriage.

After wrestling with the idea on how to deal with the gay marriage issue, I have finally come to a conclusion: End civil marriage altogether. Think about it: What is government doing defining and preserving the "sanctity" of the "institution" of marriage in the first place?

It's time for a separation of marriage and state.

Marriage, of course, is at its heart a religious institution, which should be off limits for the government to begin with. If not religious, than marriage is still a personal decision that the government should have nothing to do with, as well. As we are seeing now, once marriage is prone to government's tentacles it becomes distorted and perverted into mass abomination.

Listen, the reasons people want to have a legal, life-partner are none of anyone's damn business. Traditional marriage can be the realm of the private sector, but in the public sector civil unions are the only way that all the competing units which wish to be together legally can do so without discrimination, stigma, or twisting traditional marriage into something it is not.

I am a traditionalist who married in a religious setting for all the reasons that my faith and culture outlines, but what do I care if a couple of buddies want to become a union to share a pad and a bank account, or a gay couple wishes to have a union to legalize their hospital visitation rights?

Answer: I don't.

Look, the government gets its hands on something private and they just screw it up. Let the priests, rabbis, preachers, community organizers, charm school teachers, janitors, carnival workers, or whomever else you may choose to consecrate your vows, whatever they may be, handle the realm of marriage.

I don't want the disgusting government telling my religion how it needs to marry people, and the government doesn't need my Rabbi telling them how to set up fiduciary relationships for the general population. Government is making a mockery of marriage, so before they go any further let's fire them, tell them they are not allowed to enter this realm, and put an end to a national debate that never belonged in the hands of politicians in the first place.



  1. Why not make it simple, and support gay marriage civil or religious?

  2. Ren, you are a shining neon advertisment for why I wrote this post. You want the government to tell religions that they need to support gay marriage. I want the government to stay the hell out of my religion.

  3. MZ: the U.S. government is not (nor would it) tell Jews how to handle marriage. I think this post misses the point. You're clearly opposed to Jewish gay marriage. Why not put it into those words?

  4. Eitan, I'm opposed to any Jewish marriage that would violate Jewish Law.

  5. Well why didn't you post about that? What do you care what the Gentiles do?

  6. Just an FYI to Eitan, a prohibition against homosexuality is included in the 7 Noahide Laws. That applies to goyim as well as Jews.

  7. But why should we care whether they sin or not, Bar? What's it to us? Are we to police the Nations?

  8. MZ-

    I see your point, and almost agree with you, but there are a few points you seem to have overlooked. The main reason government got into the business of marriage to begin with was to limit it. It was a way of saying who could not get married-such as close relatives and underage children, for example.

    It is traditionally left to the individual states as to what limitations they wish to impose. In some states, children under the age of sixteen at least at one time could marry with their parent's consent, in other states they could not. In some states second cousins can marry, in others no one closer than fifth cousins can do so, and so on.

    It's also a way of maintaining the concept of monogamous marriages, and of recognizing the rights of widows and the inheritance rights of children.

    It's kind of a way to impose limitations on what religions can do when it comes to marriage, and also a way to provide an avenue for people to marry who might prefer to do so away from the confines of a religious rite. Like everything else, this has its drawbacks.

    I'm not so sure the federal government didn't overstep its bounds by its stance against the Mormons in Utah, but at least here you can argue a compelling need, like in the case with the age limitations and incest regulations.

    Recognizing civil marriage rights for gays does not imply the weight of law forcing religions to perform gay marriages, nor recognize them. There is no such compelling need here.

    The true danger to religious institutions arising from gay marriage rights does not arise from the legalizing of gay civil marriages. It comes from the subversion of religious institutions from the inside from those who want to change the rules against the wishes of the laity.

    Of course, somebody could bring a lawsuit demanding such changes in religious institutions, but I doubt it would succeed. First you have to find a court willing to hear the case, and even that is highly unlikely.

    There is no compelling need being served, again, that would cause a court to make such a ruling. If there were legal gay marriages, there would be even less of a compelling need, as there would be an avenue available to those who wish to pursue it. The state would be obliged to recognize such marriages performed by a religious institution, but there should not be a requirement that any religious institution perform them. No rational judge would want to take such an intrusive approach towards the First Amendment, regardless of how they might feel personally.

    No one could argue that a church denying marriage rites to two homosexuals rises to the level of the practice of human sacrifice or ritual drug use. There is no legitimate reason for government or the courts to take such a stance.

  9. Pagan, the fact is as soon as the courts started getting into redefining marriage it ceased to be a valid institution. We have laws on the books against incest and child molestation, so the government's involvement in marriage from that perspective has no merit.

    Marriage would be better and stronger without government involvement. I see no compelling reason to believe that having the government decide what marriage is suppose3d to be has any upside, but forming civil unions that are unrelated to marriage will nip in the bud any temptation for liberal courts to stick their nose in religious affairs.

    You say that it is unlikely that activists would bring forward lawsuits against religious laws that discriminate against gay marriage, and I disagree. With a sympathetic court that wants to end all discrimination against homosexuals, how can you say that they won't reach into their activist bag and pull out a ruling that forbids religious institutions from banning homosexual marriage?

    Don't think for a minute it can't happen, Pagan. I want marriage taken out of the government domain before they get a chance to destroy it with an Obama appointed court. Look for a "Marriage Fairness Doctrine" that imposes the government's will on religious marriage.

    Separation of marriage and state is our only protection from the tentacles of government intrusion.

  10. I didn't say activists wouldn't try to bring such a suit, I said a court would be highly unlikely to agree to hear such a case, let alone hear one and decide in their favor. I almost know the Supreme Court wouldn't, even with a liberal majority. Can you imagine the outcry? It would thunder straight up to the stratosphere.

    Still, you make some valid points. It would be better if the state would stay out of the marriage business, but then again, there are valid reasons they are involved, especially when marriages end. There are property settlements, custody disputes, etc. Religious groups can't always be trusted to be fair and impartial in these matters, so there is a compelling need (one that is rarely met with adequacy, but that's a different issue).

    Just like liberals can assail the courts, what would stop a religious organization from suing for the right to allow first cousins to marry, or to allow two children to marry as soon as they can be demonstrated to have completely passed through puberty? What court would even agree to hear such cases?

    There have been American Indian tribes that have sued for the right to use peyote in religious ceremonies, and Rastafarians have been involved in controversies over the use of marijuana. The government usually decides against such suits, when it hears them at all. But the governments involvement here is one of restraint. That is the precedent.

    My point here is, there have been many established precedents whereby the government has told the church or a religion what is must NOT do. There has never been any precedent, to my knowledge, whereby the government has told a church or religion what it MUST do. I don't think there are a significant number of either politicians or judges who would be willing to set such a precedent, for no other reason than the political ramifications of such an action.

    It would be like if some court issued a ruling to the effect that a Jewish synagogue should be forced to incorporate idols of Krishna in order to show respect toward a minority of Hindus that might live within a certain radius. That wouldn't make any sense, to say the very least. Just stop for a minute and think how you would feel about such a boneheaded ruling-or say for example if they decided you had to recognize Jesus as the Messiah.

    Even if they could do something about it, the most it would probably amount to would be a revocation of tax exempt status. I'm not saying that would happen, and I don't believe for a minute that it would. But I'm just saying that IF it did, I'm sure most religions would happily decide they didn't need it anyway. They would probably end up making enough extra money to more than make up for the loss.

    Believe me, nobody wants to touch a hot potato like this.

  11. Again, Pagan, we already have laws on the books protecting people, and religions can't violate them. You can't have incestual sexual relations, you can't smoke pot, and you can't perform sexual rituals with minors.

    You have faith that the liberal courts would never overstep their bounds, but why? They have already ruled against the will of the people on capital punishment, partial birth abortion, affirmative action, and gay marriage just to name a few.

    As far as religion, well, what's to stop Martha Burke from suing the Jewish synagogues that don't permit women to be counted towards a minyon? What's to stop an ACLU lawyer taking up the case of a gay Jew who is denied ordainment into the rabbinate?

    Look, the government is doing everything to take power and control over everything we do and say. How long is it before they attack religion for not conforming to their will? It is for this reason that we must take marriage away from the government, because if we don't it is only a matter of time before they take it away from us.

  12. I guess I'm just more hopeful than you are that they would be worried more over the political ramifications. Maybe you're right. Really, as long as people's rights are protected and religions, as you say, are not allowed to step over those boundaries, it would probably be best if government was not involved in the business of marriage.

    I don't disagree with you there. I just don't see it happening anytime soon.

    Take heart, MZ. These things tend to come and go in cycles. My main-really my only concern-with Obama, is in the kinds of judges he appoints. If not for that concern, I wouldn't care that much that he won.

    Bad laws, while they can do considerable damage, can always be repealed, amended, reversed, or dropped completely. The impact of judicial appointments can extend well into the future.

    If Obama does anything too off the wall here over the next two years, and the Democratic Congress supports him or pushes him to do so, there is a very good chance there could be another Republican majority in two years, or at the very least considerable Republican gains. For that reason alone, I tend to think he is going to tread lightly when it comes to certain things.

    My main worry right now is that the main he defeated, Mr. "let's reach across the aisle and get things done for the American people" will be Obama's best friend and ally over the next two years. It makes me want to gouge my eyeballs out thinking about it, but John McCain might well be that vote to end at least some filibusters.

    My next concern is that, if the Republicans do regain power, they won't have learned their lesson and will continue to act like they did up until the 2006 elections.

    But for now, gay marriage, and the potential impact on organized religion, is a minor issue you probably don't have to concern yourself with for some time to come. These people have bigger fish to fry and they don't need something like this used as a monkey wrench to gum up the works.


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