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The Gay Marriage Issue: Solved!

Let’s just cut the Gordian knot and get rid of marriage:

Give gay and straight couples alike the same license — a certificate confirming them as a family, and call it a “civil union” — anything, really, other than “marriage.” For those for whom the word marriage is important, the next stop after the courthouse could be the church, where they could bless their union with all the religious ceremony they could want. The Church itself would lose nothing of its role in sanctioning the kinds of unions that it finds in keeping with its tenets. And for non-believers or those for whom the word marriage is less important, the civil union license issued by the state would be all they needed to unlock the benefits reserved in most states, and in federal law, for “married” couples.

H/T: Andrew Sullivan


  1. Jin-roh wrote:

    I agree, and have argued such on my own blog.

    I believe (though I cannot prove), that what motivates all the pro-gay marriage stuff is not really about rights, but about a quest for social validation and approval. When it comes to marriage, I do not think that this is something the law can give you.

    Personally, I would be fine getting a court-house “civil-union” for political/economic purposes, but get married at a church. For me, only Christ’s body can validate my (potential) marriage. A secular government can never do this.

    Monday, March 16, 2009 at 3:15 pm | Permalink
  2. Michael W wrote:

    In Australia the federal government has gone one step further to recognise all relationships, even de-facto ones as legal entities. If you live with someone (I think it is for a year) in an intimate relationship, your assets are liable to be split if the relationship splits. While those against gay-marriage initially opposed the measure, it may have interesting efffects on your run-of the-mill hetrosexual promiscuity

    Monday, March 16, 2009 at 9:03 pm | Permalink
  3. Skip Newby wrote:

    I have done a little, very little, research on early Christian marriage. At least in Europe before the state got involved with licensing etc., people often lived together without the benefit of the rites, usually until there was a pregnancy. Then, they would go to the church to take their vows. It wasn’t frowned upon by the church or otherwise.

    It seems that this issue, even for those of faith, has become another political debate.

    My question is, why not let whoever wants to, join together in “marriage.” If a particular fellowship can’t abide by their sexual-orientation they can refuse to marry them. And hopefully in love, let them know why. Which might in the future help them struggle with the Lord over the rightness or wrongness of their lives.

    After all, how many “christians” does the church allow to make comittments based on greed, hatred, and lust, and then participate in Communion the holiest rite of the church?

    My youngest daughter asked me a while back what I thought of the extremely high divorce rate, and young peoples’ opinions regarding the lack of necessity of marrriage. I told her I didn’t worry about it at all, and that one day in the future, marriage might even be a rarity in our society. At least then it would reflect the depth of the relationship, rather than being, as it often is now, a casual social, or even religious excercise.

    Monday, March 16, 2009 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
  4. D C Cramer wrote:

    Though I highly doubt Andrew Sullivan has ever come across my blog, I proposed this very idea in a post last year. Perhaps this idea is more common that I originally thought?

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 9:01 am | Permalink
  5. I also tend to think this is a good idea. In Sweden, “we” are probably moving in this direction and I would guess that we will have something like this within say five years. Gay marriage will be legal in this year, and some of the free churches want to give up the right to have the juridical power to marry people.

    This, though, doesn´t solve the gay marriage issue, of course. (Maybe more humor in this post that I don´t recognize…) For us who are following Jesus, the big issue naturally (?) isn´t how the state should handle this, but what the church should do. Here I personally think that same-sex marriage can be the best option available in at least some cases. For example, I think that a couple that have been married and/or have a longterm relationship should not be encouraged by the church to divorce, even though some of us would disapprove of the status of their “marriage”. (Compare what Paul implies about marriages between believers and non-believers in 2 Kor 6 and 1 Kor 7)

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 12:23 pm | Permalink
  6. parishioner wrote:

    Many Christians have read C.S. Lewis’ proposals concerning different types of marriage licenses in his book Mere Christianity. But most then forget where they first heard the proposal . . .

    Tuesday, March 17, 2009 at 12:45 pm | Permalink
  7. i think C.S. Lewis proposed this solution about half a century ago. I’m not sure why it has so much trouble gaining traction.

    Actually, maybe I do. Americans don’t actually like the separation of church and state.

    Wednesday, March 18, 2009 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

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