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Not Sacrament To Be
Alan Dershowitz rightly argues that the government has no business being in the marriage business:

Those who oppose gay marriage believe deeply that marriage is sacreda divine, a blessed sacrament between man and woman as ordained in the Bible. If they are right, then the entire concept of marriage has no place in our civil society, which recognizes the separation between the sacred and the secular, between church and state.

The state is, of course, concerned with the secular rights and responsibilities that are currently associated with the sacrament of marriage: the financial consequences of divorce, the custody of children, Social Security and hospital benefits, etc.

The solution is to unlink the religious institution of marriage as distinguished from the secular institution of civil union from the state. Under this proposal, any couple could register for civil union, recognized by the state, with all its rights and responsibilities.

Religious couples could then go to the church, synagogue, mosque or other sacred institution of their choice in order to be married. These religious institutions would have total decision-making authority over which marriages to recognize. Catholic churches would not recognize gay marriages. Orthodox Jewish synagogues would not recognize a marriage between a Jew and a non-Jew who did not wish to convert to Judaism. And those religious institutions that chose to recognize gay marriages could do so. It would be entirely a religious decision beyond the scope of the state.

As it should be, and should have been all along.

(via David Rensin)

Posted by aalkon at December 3, 2003 8:25 AM

Comments

"[...] the entire concept of marriage has no place in our civil society, which recognizes the separation between [...] between church and state."

This writer is obviously referring to "our" civil society here in the U.S., since there a number of societies throughout the world where church and state operate as one (or terribly close to it). It's incredible to think that, in many countries, the equivalent of a U.S. group such as the Moral Majority or the Christian Coalition can actually rise to prominence as a full-fledged political party.

This reminds me of a friend who had a law school buddy who got a clerkship with some fancy judge somewhere. As they were drunkenly waving goodbye at the going-away party, my friend yelled out "And remember to take good care of our Constitution!"

Thus proving that even Chardonnay can't keep a good advice goddess down!

Posted by: Lena, the Liberty-Loving Hooker at December 3, 2003 11:22 PM

The Moral Majority has risen to prominence as a political party. I believe they're called Republicans. (Not that I think too highly of Democrats, either.) I predict that there will be a growing group of people like me, who are sick of the nonsense and sleaze on both sides, and choose candidates and positions on issues based on what sucks the least (at least I'm realistic about politics as usual).

Posted by: Amy Alkon at December 3, 2003 11:31 PM

I'm really hoping Nader runs again. (hi, blog item?)

Posted by: Lena the Happy Hooker at December 4, 2003 1:06 AM

Marriage to me, has been a mind-boggling acventure of the mind. Should gay/lesbian marriages be permitted at all? Or is it denying certain rights that people have? Well, as I thought and thought about what is allowed as marriage and what isn't, I realized something. 100 years from now, we may be debating whether or not marriage should be enjoyed not just between two individuals, but maybe three? Perhaps more than that? So, I have decided to try and look beyond the topic. We've had issues with gay/lesbian marriages, interracial marriages, age-defying marriages, et cetera. I guess what my thinking has led me to, is that marriage is only what you make it out as. No one can tell you that you can't make this a marriage, or this is the only way marriage should be. I think that religion is almost just another obstacle in the path of radical marriages. It confuses some people, and makes other people stubborn in beliefs of whether or not it should be allowed. So, once again, I will say, marriage is only what you make it as. And no one can tell you otherwise.

Posted by: I-won't-judge-you-guy at May 20, 2004 8:37 PM