On January 25th, Senator Mark Leno (D-San Francisco) introduced a bill (SB-906) in the California legislature that affirms that no clergy shall ever be required to perform a marriage contrary to their faith... including gay marriage. (more here)
the problem with creating laws that govern marriage and religion is that it violates the separation of church and state. church has its own jurisdiction already and no one can force a religion to marry anyone or do ceremonies for anyone. this law is not needed.
for instance, if we say that marriage is a religious ceremony, and not a contract between two parties, then the boundary between the jurisdiction of religion and state gets crossed by having the state recognize marriages. that would be like having the state recognize circumcision of jews, or baptisms of xtians, or the shahada of a muslim convert, etc. in order to give them special tax status. a scary thought.
if marriage is a magical tying of two beings, then the state must not call it marriage. maybe the state should abolish marriage and only recognize civil unions for secular purposes, and let them be free to call it marriage in churches. this is, i think, the best final solution to the problem of the current attempts at religious monopoly of our families and how they should operate: let marriage be a magical or religious, supernatural concept while the state recognizes something different.
in other words, if marriage really is a religious institution, as the xtians assert, then the state should have no jurisdiction when it comes to marriage just as it does with baptism and other rituals. the state must then create a civil, secular equivalent that operates at the state level in order to recognize these contracts (civil unions).
Couldn’t agree more Hiram.
One concession I wouldn’t mind the state making to religion is a recognition of the public religious ceremony as a symbol of commitment sufficient to warrant the issuance of the Civil Contract.
No purpose is served by disregarding commitment rituals. The state could recognize the religious “marriage” by issuing the Agreement of Civil Commitment to these two people.
“Sign here.....and here. Congratulations, may the household you establish be fulfilling and abundant.”
I wouldn’t even care if the Judge, or whatever civil servant deemed appropriate to administer the issuance of the contract, said something like
“God bless your household” if they had been Married in a church.
The churches would be free to go about their merry way, marrying, or not marrying, whomever the wished.
The state could go about its job, maintaining a civil society through the application of procedures, laws, and interpretive justice.
Why not call it marriage? Its not a religious invention and was called that way before religion got involved. Also people want to call it what it is which is indeed marriage not a civil contract, ect but a marriage. Take the religion out of marriage and marriage has long ago stopped being something that people think only revolves around religion. Claiming that only a religion can legally own a word is crossing the line of seperation of religion and state. They dont own patents on words. Not to mention but who comes around and says, 'oh we just got civily contracted!!!" They say 'we just got married.'
I’m not suggesting that we mandate changing everyday language. I’m not opposed to using the phrase: “my wife and I are ‘married’ ”.
I do, however, find grounds for arguing about your contention that “marriage” preceded religion.
I have not come across any evidence that there was “marriage” before religion formalized, sanctified and, ultimately, enforced “holy matrimony”. I remain convinced that “marriage” is the invention of religion.
Personally, I admit to, understand, and accept, the social benefits of a family unit, and also monogamy for that matter, and I hope that the strength that healthy households add to society will be recognized and maintained.
I feel that religion recognized those attributes also, adopted, and now monopolizes, the very idea of what they now call “marriage”.
Let religion have their sacrament of “marriage”. Let civil society recognize it in the way it now does, but the state should avoid the use of the word, and operate within the realm of “matters of state”.