Opinion: What’s the government really got to do with love?

Why do marriage need a legal document? That question is being asked by two law professors at Pepperdine University in a paper published March 2 in the San Francisco Chronicle.
The two authors of the paper voted differently on Prop 8, the end of gay marriage in California.

Douglas W. Kmiec and Shelley Ross Saxer examined why there is a need for a legal document for marriage when many consider it a religious ceremony. Think about it, if you were baptized your parents didn’t rush to the courthouse to have a paper drawn up.

Taking the marriage ceremony out of the question though isn’t their solution. They believe that all couples; straight, gay or polka dotted should get a ‘civil union’ license. That would allow for the benefits that many governments give to those who are married and take the religion game out of the equation. Those who are religious will still have marriage ceremonies.

Time reports:

“While new terminology for all may at first seem awkward – mostly in greeting-card shops – [it] dovetails with the court’s important responsibility to reaffirm the unfettered freedom of all faiths to extend the nomenclature of marriage as their traditions allow,” wrote professors Douglas W. Kmiec and Shelley Ross Saxer. Kmiec voted for Prop 8 because of the teachings of his Catholic Church and his notion of religious liberty, but has since said he believes the Court should not allow one group of Californians to marry while denying the privilege to others.

In all honestly the idea would fail. It’s not the term marriage that killed Prop 8. It’s the ideal that homosexual marriage is just as real as heterosexual marriage. Those who oppose it, generally the very religious, are against any type of coupling among homosexuals.

But taking away ‘married’ may be a hard sell for married folks. Even those of us who are in common-law marriages. Married in this society means something more than civil union. I call my partner my husband even though we don’t have a piece of paper.

Maybe the answer is to do without formal documentations all together. It wouldn’t matter who you give your heart to. It would no longer be a government issue.

When a child is born their parents are automatically required to provide for it. When a couple breaks up then they spilt up their property that they obtained while they were together fairly and equally, without a judge saying who gets what.

It’s a simplistic idea, there are too many that would skirt the honestly and fairness quotation that would require.

What do you think? Do you think that the government has a right to be involved in the matters of the heart? Do you think that religion is the only way that should bond two people together? Or do you think love should be the ruler in the matter?


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