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Make A Marriage License More Like A Driver's License
Fellow Pajamas blogger Ace Of Spaces slams Mitt Romney for going off on the French for the creation of seven-year marriages. Biggest problem with this? It's a fiction -- literally: from an Orson Scott Card novel.

My take on it?

What's wrong with seven-year marriages if that's what people want? Personally, I don't believe in marriage, and I think living together is uncivilized, and kills your sex life. In my advice column, I've recommended that a marriage license be more like a driver's license -- renewable if you don't scream at your spouse too much, or start withholding sex. Why would that be a bad idea?

And P.S. For people with kids, I think there should be a "delivery room through dorm room" plan, with an option to renew.

And a message for nitwit Mitt: What France does have, which is pretty damn smart, is a registered partner agreement (the PACS -- pacte civil de solidarité) for people like me who don't want to get married, but would still like the right to visit their partner in the hospital and continue living in their apartment after the partner dies, just to name a couple of examples.

Posted by aalkon at May 10, 2007 9:37 AM


Marriages should exist for the benefit of the people in them, and in a free society individuals are seen as the correct judge of what is best for themselves. (Even if they make lousy choices.)

But this isn't a free society. Liberals would throw a fit over the idea, finding some way to say it exploits women. Conservatives wouldn't do much better, since the idea doesn't fly with mainstream Christian views.

What about those "tenure" martyrs who stay in miserable marriages because they "took their vows seriously" and "always felt that marriage was till death do us part?" Are you going to invalidate their noble suffering by making it legitimate to non-renew after seven years? Yeah, good luck with that!

Posted by: Pirate Jo at May 10, 2007 9:16 AM

One of the failures of same sex unions within the USA was based on the single ‘issue ness’ of the Gay and Lesbian lobbies. Even Camille Paglia criticized them for not expanding their base by attracting heterosexual couples who didn't believe in the standard marriage arrangement. The main drawback was that it allowed the religious right to marginalize alternative living arrangements as an issue for same sex couples only. Which is untrue.

I've even tried to convince men to support same sex unions, because it would cause a spill over effect in reforming current divorce laws. How would state legislatures or judges interpret divorce proceedings between same sex couples? What would they use as a historical source or past legal precedent?

Posted by: Joe at May 10, 2007 1:16 PM

Please ignore my unfortunate use of a double negative within the Camille Paglia sentence. I just noticed it before it was too late.

Posted by: Joe at May 10, 2007 1:22 PM

I, too, think the same-sex marriage thing is too narrow. I'd like to see something similar to the PACS in the USA for people like me who do not think marriage is beneficial for them, but would like to have protections that allow them rights in respect to their partner without having to go through legal battles in case of death or disaster. Also, I'd like to see an end to "marriage privileging" in taxes and health care and other areas. As long as people are allowed to designate another person as having special rights (in terms of not being taxed, etc, due to their marriage to that person) we all ought to be able to have that right. Why can't I, for example, pick a "significant person" in my life to get the same kind of tax breaks and other breaks people can pass on to their married partner?

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 10, 2007 1:41 PM

"Why can't I, for example, pick a "significant person" in my life to get the same kind of tax breaks and other breaks people can pass on to their married partner?..."

Wouldn't the PACS concept be more generally palatable if it didn't mean removing tax breaks from the marrieds? (Since we're a selfish species, essentially).

Actually, rereading -it's not entirely clear if you're more interested in getting special tax breaks for PACS couples, or taking them entirely from marrieds?

Posted by: Jody Tresidder at May 10, 2007 2:04 PM

Exactly Amy.

Posted by: Joe at May 10, 2007 2:06 PM

I'm not going to complain any tax breaks I get for being married (does anyone ever argue against his own tax breaks?), but I think they are fundamentally unfair, as is the way the government (vs. churches, which can do what they want) treats marriage as an institution that is different from other contracts. I like the idea of consenting adults being able to freely agree to what responsibilities they wish to share, and with whom they'd like to share those responsibilities. Sounds like the French have a good policy with their PACS (even a broken clock...).

Posted by: justin case at May 10, 2007 6:07 PM

You'll have to point out to me what these "tax breaks" are for being married. Married with Children? Sure, but it is even more beneficial to be single with children which (as you know) is a contributor to so many people abusing the current welfare system.

The other benefits abound. I don't have to worry about the transition of assets, or health care, etc.

As someone who is a big fan of marriage, obviously, I too am in favor of something like the PACS. I see no reason that people should not be able to form beneficial partnerships in life, especially when what we are really talking about is the division of property.

To me marriage is something more than a legal partnership, though those should exist, they are a life partnership and are most certainly not for everyone. We have lived too long in a society that dictated that everyone should get married, and have witnessed uncountable "failed" marriages as a result. I have been lucky to find someone who makes me better the more I spend time with her, who I feel joy in helping meet her own goals, and who I like to cuddle with at all hours. I even look forward to growing old.

But as I said, the level of intimacy of such a relationship isn't for everyone and too many people enter it without understanding what that intimacy looks like in the long run.

Posted by: Christian Johnson at May 11, 2007 2:30 PM

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