I’m going to step away from my usual topics to discuss marriage and civil union.  I had a brief discussion about this on twitter. Let me start off by saying, I have no problems with male/female, female/female or male/male relationships.  The whole stickiness starts with the idea of what marriage is and who should be allowed to do it.  I think it ought to be a level playing field.  Heck, I don’t even have an issue with people jointly marrying more than one person at a time as long as they are all consenting adults.



Marriage has meant many things to many people over the course of history and a lot of it wasn’t necessarily pleasant, especially for the female.  For many people, marriage has religious connotations.  It is typically performed in a religious context with the legalities performed later (as in the signing of the marriage certificate in front of legal witnesses).  For example, marriage is a Christian sacrament.  It is an oath of loyalty not only between a man and a woman until death, but also jointly to God. 

This is where the conflict comes in.  One of the founding principles in this country is freedom of religion and the idea that one should not be forced to do something, in any way, that is against one’s religion. Yet everyone, no matter their sex should be able to combine their household with the person they love and have the legal rights and protections that such a union entails.  So what is the solution?

Get the government out of the religious business entirely.  No one gets a marriage license.  Separation of church and state is an important concept.  It is a matter of being fair to everyone in this rather large and diverse country.  Instead of getting married, everyone gets a civil union decree.  It is this decree that gives one the protection of the law.  It is purely secular in nature.  It diffuses the religious argument and gets the government out of the business of deciding what is and what is not a marriage.  This should appeal equally to atheists and the religious.  In reality, nothing different would happen than what already happens, just one word changed into two.  The couple would sign a civil union license before witnesses, before or after their marriage ceremony.  If they don’t want to have a marriage ceremony, well that’s up to them, as it would be the civil union that confers the legalities.   

It is a simple idea.  What do you think?  Do you disagree?  Why?