There is not a church in all the land that does not perform a particular ritual, whereby two people proclaim their devotion to one another until death does them part.
Highly religious in context, I know only the symbolism of the Christian marriage – or Jewish wedding – wherein God is the groom and His people, His bride. He once divorced his bride Israel. The wedding feast of the Lamb (Jesus, Second Person of the Christian Trinity), is coming when the Groom comes to gather up the Church (the Bride) and the marriage is performed and done.
All this to ask this: Why is the state regulating a religious activity via marriage licenses and their legal requirements? The first marriage licenses were given out in the mid-1800s when some states began allowing interracial marriage, so long as the couple received a marriage license.
There is a provision in the Constitution forbidding the creation of a federal establishment of religion (federal/national church) in the Constitution – yet here we are with very new practice of licensing of religious ceremonies and potential interference in another of our rights protected: Freedom of association.
While yes there are legal incorporation of various kinds, friendship is not one of them. Between intimate partners? Why?
Government policies and benefits given married heterosexual couples now has opened the unintended confusion of the defining of “marriage” a religious ritual. It did so by introducing benefits that could be with-held from persons not involved in the required marriage formula.
Thus the attempt (likely successful) to expand that definition of that relationship to “spread the wealth” around to those not fitting the current definition – derived from what is primarily a religious rite, purpose and ceremony. If state policy is served, does that justify intrusion into a forbidden area of defining and establishing validity of a religious rite?
So what’s the point? The point is that the government (states in particular, since they are the ones that should be regulating the matter – and federal in that it enforces definitions to gain benefits) need to get out of the marriage business. As such concerns over one state imposing it’s morality on another disappears!
- Marriage Licenses Are Unconstitutional. Here’s Why. (ecominoes.com)
- How the Same Sex Marriage Debate Can Redefine the Church (instrument-rated-theology.com)