Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Gay marriage

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When political candidates are asked about gay marriage, I think it would behoove them to point out the bivalent meaning of “marriage” in our country. “Marriage” refers both to a religious ceremony—the ceremony of wedding—and to a civil state, registered with the county. This is unlike other religious ceremonies: there is no state analogue to baptism, for example, though I suppose the death certificate issued by the state might be a form of last rites. Christening, maybe: the state’s birth certificate usually wants a name for the infant, but it wants the name independent of whether the baby is christened (or even Christian).

A political candidate has no business speaking about the religious side of marriage. On the government side—the civil marriage—there seems to be no reason at all not to allow gay marriage. Civil marriages can be made outside any religious ceremony at all, and indeed the person officiating need not be even a government official: when the Wife and I were married, it was a friend who officiated, though she did have to fill out appropriate forms with the state, before and following the marriage.

Since this sort of marriage occurs completely outside a religious context, the state can recognize it free of religious control and doctrine—and, IMHO, it should. The state, OTOH, has no business or role in telling religions what they can or must do.

So let religions forbid (if they want) gay marriage ceremonies within their churches, but let the state do its business as well.

Written by Leisureguy

6 October 2007 at 8:28 am

Posted in Daily life, Government, Religion

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