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October 2017

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talking sense

The Anti-Gay Marriage Arguments Are Just Plain Stupid

Civil Marriage vs Religious Marriage
First of all to the extent that marriage is a legal status all legal marriages are civil marriages (Having to do with people and government office as opposed to the military or religion). But some marriage ceremonies are performed by religious authorities and some are performed by civil authorities. Legally the only difference between civil marriage and religious marriage is who signs the certificate.

Churches can NOT issue marriage licenses. Marriage licenses are issued by the government just like driver's licenses and pet licenses and all the other licenses the state issues.

Why anyone would think that a legal status determining: child custody rights, property rights, health care coverage, and retirement benefits is strictly a religious issue is beyond me.

Civil Marriage, Common Law Marriage, and Civil Unions/Domestic Partnerships.
A Civil Marriage is any marriage that is recognized by law.

A Common Law Marriage is a marriage that is recognized by law in spite of the fact that the people involved did not fill out the proper forms (or have any kind of ceremony at all). Not all states recognize common law marriage. In New York State you are only married if you fill out the paperwork.

Civil Union/Domestic Partnership is a modern innovation that only offers some of the protection of marriage. In California they did manage to pass a Domestic Partnership law that gave all of the protection that the state of California can offer to Domestic Partners (still not as good as marriage) but it was overturned by the California Supreme court as being unconstitutional (because separate is not equal and offering two different groups the same status under different names is clearly discriminatory).

Other Stupid Arguments
The crazy anti-gay marriage people say that 1) marriage is strictly a religious issue and 2) letting same sex couples legally marry would lead to people marrying animals and children. The opposite is true in both cases.

1) Marriage is a civil issue. We are talking about marriage law, laws are civil by definition (Having to do with people and government office as opposed to the military or religion). This entire debate is not about who can get married in a church, it's about who can get married legally. Churches can discriminate all they want.

2) Right now, because marriage is a legal status, churches can not perform marriages for people who can not get legally married. However, because a non religious ceremony is always an option, no religious official or organization can be compelled to perform any ceremony.

If all references to marriage were stricken from the laws of our country then religious officials could perform any marriages they wanted. This means that those crazy Mormons could marry their child brides, people could marry animals, polygamists could perform multiple marriages, and Unitarian Universalist could perform same sex marriages with impunity. If the law did not regulate marriage all these ceremonies would have the same legal status as "traditional" heterosexual monogamous marriage, i.e. NONE.

Take your pick either marriage is a matter of law, conveying legal rights and responsibilities and regulated by civil standards or it is religious and provides no legal rights or protections. You can't have it both ways.

And another thing.
Domestic Partnerships for Straight People
What is wrong with you people!
I can't tell you how many times I have encountered heterosexual couples who complain that they want the same rights as married people without having to get married. Really, what is wrong with you people? If you want the legal rights of married people GET MARRIED!

Really this just blows my mind. I have encountered a person who felt that marrying his long time domestic partner so they would get the legal rights of married people was somehow "fraudulent". And another person who had two ceremonies on the same day (one with a Rabbi and one with civil official) because he "didn't want to mix church and state". WTF?!

Comments

>laws are civil by definition

Wait a second. That's not true. Perhaps in the United States that's true, but I could actually make an argument against that. There are millions of religious laws. They just don't have any practial secular force in the United States. They do, however, have practical force, and this is the problem we're having with regards to the Gay marriage argument, etc.
"Perhaps in the United States that's true,"

Ok. I am only talking about the US. It's hard enough to talk about marriage law even then because each state has different laws.

"They do, however, have practical force, and this is the problem we're having with regards to the Gay marriage argument, etc."

But it's a false problem, because legalizing marriage for same sex couples does not force churches to violate their religious "laws". It just stops them from forcing their religious laws on other people.
>Ok. I am only talking about the US. It's hard enough to talk about marriage law even then because each state has different laws.

I completely agree with you there! :-)

>But it's a false problem, because legalizing marriage for same sex couples does not force churches to violate their religious "laws". It just stops them from forcing their religious laws on other people.

Agreed. But I don't see it as a false problem (perhaps I'd agree that it comes from a false premise!) because our secular laws are at least partially reflective of "civil standards" which partially come to use through religion - for good or for bad. This is one of the reasons why the UU leadership (among others I'm sure) strongly say that liberal views such as theirs need to be represented in the public square of discourse.

Boy, I miss our religious talks! Except for the fact that Rev. Kim is the busiest person in the world, especially on Sundays, I know the two of you would get along together great!! :-)
Eva, tell me this article is not yours! There are a bunch of holes in it that, hell, you taught me about!

>This entire debate is not about who can get married in a church, it's about who can get married legally.

No. The entire debate is about the wish of the Religious Right to have their religious view of marriage validated secularly as well as religiously. From a religious standpoint they can now marry, or not marry, anyone they want. They want that mechanism extended to the secular community. And the problem is that there are a bunch of people who think that's already the case. And to some extent it is the case, but only be coincidence.

>Right now, because marriage is a legal status, churches can not perform marriages for people who can not get legally married.

No. Secular marriage is a legal status. Churches can perform any type of (religious) marriage they want. The only question at this point is whether that marriage ceremony thus performed is secularly recognized.

>Take your pick either marriage is a matter of law, conveying legal rights and responsibilities and regulated by civil standards or it is religious and provides no legal rights or protections. You can't have it both ways.

We do, practically, have it both ways because now and for decades (and it was even worse centuries ago) we allow a religious official to "solomnize" a civil contract (which is what marriage is in secular law). The other messy part of this is that "civil standards" like it or not, is partially filtered through religion, even in this country. It may be quite unofficial, but its quite real nonetheless.

>And another person who had two ceremonies on the same day (one with a Rabbi and one with civil official) because he "didn't want to mix church and state". WTF?!

WTF? WTF, WTF? :-) This person did it right! This is exactly where we need to get to, but never will because to the unthinking masses marriage is a religious issue that is recognized by the state, as opposed to the actual reality which is that marriage is a secular civil contract that may be recognized by a church (or not). But this is a paradigm shift that our culture - despite all the lip service that is paid to "separation of church and state" - is not ready to make, nor will it ever be ready to make in our lifetimes.

Oddly, it will be easier to shove through civil Gay marriage and shove it down the throats of the Catholics and Baptists (et. al.) than it will to get the population educated and accepting of the reality that exists now - civil and religious marriages are two completely different animals.
"From a religious standpoint they can now marry, or not marry, anyone they want."

No. You are wrong.

"No. Secular marriage is a legal status. Churches can perform any type of (religious) marriage they want. The only question at this point is whether that marriage ceremony thus performed is secularly recognized."

Tell that to the UU ministers who got arrested for performing same sex marriages in New York State. "Under the state Domestic Relations Law, solemnizing marriages without a license is a misdemeanor and carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail."


"We do, practically, have it both ways because now and for decades (and it was even worse centuries ago) we allow a religious official to "solomnize" a civil contract (which is what marriage is in secular law)."

I have no problem with that actually, because there is a civil option. It's like when I get a ticket for a mechanical problem on my car. I can have a mechanic at a garage sign saying he fixed it or I can fix it myself and get a police officer to sign saying he can see that it's fixed. When you get a marriage license you can get it signed by a professional marriage performer, or a civil officer.

"Oddly, it will be easier to shove through civil Gay marriage and shove it down the throats of the Catholics and Baptists (et. al.)

Civil marriage is the only kind of marriage the law regulates. It doesn't force Catholics and Baptists to recognize anything. And I wouldn't want it to.

</i>"than it will to get the population educated and accepting of the reality that exists now - civil and religious marriages are two completely different animals."</i>

You are totally wrong.
Heh! Good! The feistyness is something new with you and I love it! Tell me I'm wrong! Tell me I'm an evil bastard! :-)

I'll just mention one thing here. The Sam was not arrested for marrying Gay people within their church. He could do that, and he had done that, as had dozens of other churches and ministers all over the US. What he was arrested for was solomnizing marriages without a license! You know this law better than most. You taught it to me.

If he had (religiously) married Gays within the UU Church all would have been fine, but that wasn't good enough for him and the participants and they wanted it that way. They insisted that the marriages they were performing had not only religious but secular force. What got Sam arrested was the very phrase, "by the authority vested in me...by the State of NY." He insisted he was solomnizing the ceremony as defined by the NYS Domestic Relations Law, going beyond the religious authority he had. Since he did not have a civil marriage license he had no authority to declare this and thus was arrested for solomnizing (notice it does not say marrying) the marriage.
"solomnizing (notice it does not say marrying) the marriage."

Because no native English speaker would say "marrying the marriage".

It does say "A Unitarian minister pushed Albany into the growing national debate over gay marriage, and risked criminal charges, when he married two same-sex couples in a downtown church Saturday before a standing-room-only audience."

Notice it does not say "solomnized".

The problem is not the word "solemnize" it is the word "marriage". UU ministers have been solomnizing gay "Union" ceremonies. Religious "unions" are not regulated by civil law because they have no legal status at all. (unless the word union means organization). Strangely enough "civil union" ceremonies can be solomnized by clergy in New Hampshire.

The only part of the marriage ceremony that is regulated in New York State is the statements of intent by the couple. A religious official does not need to say "by the authority vested in me by the state" in order to "solemnize" a legal marriage in NY. Rev. Trumbore said that part to make it absolutely clear that he was intentionally engaging in civil disobedience.
The best commentary on same-sex marriage rights I have seen was Keith Olbermann's. It's on YouTube somewhere.
He is good. How anyone can listen to that and not be moved is beyond me.

But he doesn't address the underlying misunderstandings about marriage law that I wanted to talk about. I just keep hearing people say really stupid things, like not knowing the difference between civil marriage, common law marriage, and civil union.
Well, for me it's not at all about the legal nitpicking. It's just about what's fair and what's right. I'm 100% with Olbermann in his utter bafflement at the argument that allowing gay marriages on an equal par with heterosexual marriages would somehow invalidate or devalue or threaten those heterosexual marriages. WTF?? Like all those straight folks are going to slap their foreheads and say, "I coulda had a same-sex spouse?! Shit!"
Really this just blows my mind. I have encountered a person who felt that marrying his long time domestic partner so they would get the legal rights of married people was somehow "fraudulent". And another person who had two ceremonies on the same day (one with a Rabbi and one with civil official) because he "didn't want to mix church and state". WTF?!

People make my head hurt.