"Driven from every other corner of the earth, Freedom of Thought and The Right of Private Judgement in matters of conscience direct their course to this happy country as their last asylum." Samuel Adams - 1776
aka Civil Unions for all!
Published on May 19, 2009 By Korwyn In Marriage

I see in this whole debate a fundamentally flawed assumption that few seem to be willing to address. This assumption is (I believe) actually the core problem and there is a simple solution – which means that it will probably never get addressed. Granted the solution isn’t without its own flaws, but it is probably better than the morass of laws and lawsuits we are heading into right now.

Flawed assumption: Marriage is a civil function. It isn’t. Marriage is a religious institution.

The whole thing boils down to the mixing of the civil (for want of a better term) “joining of households”, and the religious marriage contract. This context of this is inherited long before the Christian church, and can be traced back to almost every culture’s early religious movements. Look at the cultural surroundings of Druidism, Greek Pantheon, Pharaohic rule, Divine Imperial rule in the ‘Far East’, Semitic  Abramic tradition, Mayan, Aztecan, etc, and you will find that the priest(esses) - or those serving in the religious hierarchy – performed both civil and religious law, and it wasn’t until some of the Grecian and Roman legalists and sophists came along that there was this idea of separation between civil law and religious mores and traditions.

Judges and magistrates already perform the civil function of ‘joining of households’. Religious functionaries should not be performing a function of civil or common law.

The solution to the issue is fairly simple (on the surface) and could fix the problem once and for all. When two or more consenting legal adults want to join their households into a single entity they receive a Household Tax ID IF THEY SO CHOOSE. If they don’t choose, they remain (for taxation and civil law) two separate individuals. Religious marriage doesn’t enter into it at all. If two or five consenting legal  adults want to enter into a relationship sanctioned by their church or religion or whatever, that has NO BEARING or relevance on the civil side. 

Tax filings stay pretty much the same, except that instead of a place for two people on the tax forms, there is a ‘household tax id’ number. That links to the civil household registry of who is part of that household, which ties in the individually issued W-2 and various other tax forms. Each party in the household signs off on the tax return, and voila.

Medical benefits and retirements work similarly as they do now, with the exception that if you pay for each adult dependent at the same rate you currently do the ‘spouse’ or ‘domestic partner’ – if they are part of the household (joined under a Household Tax ID). So if Jennifer is the primary or largest wage earner, and has the best medical coverage, and she wants to list Janet, Sandy, and Bill (who are all part of the household),  she pays for herself, plus 3 adults.

This also allows for platonic households, or sibling households (for tax and legal benefits), etc. The key to remember is that in the event of a dissolution of the household, the same issues apply as do under current marriage contracts. Who gets what, who pays what, who gets the kids, who pays child support, who gets the tax deduction, etc.

I know I'll probably get eaten alive by rabid wolverines from the fringes of both sides, but anyone have any additional thoughts, analysis, or comments?

 


Comments (Page 1)
on May 19, 2009

see in this whole debate a fundamentally flawed assumption that few seem to be willing to address. This assumption is (I believe) actually the core problem and there is a simple solution – which means that it will probably never get addressed. Granted the solution isn’t without its own flaws, but it is probably better than the morass of laws and lawsuits we are heading into right now.

Flawed assumption: Marriage is a civil function. It isn’t. Marriage is a religious institution.

 

Wrong, if every human being has the right to marry the person they so choose - it makes it a civil matter, enforceable by the courts and legislature. The government is therein responsibile for the rights, for want of a term, life.

As such, there is a clear distinction between a person's desire to have a religious service (or "marriage") and a person's desire to have a civil service. If marriage was forced down the path of being only a religious institution - then where do those who are not religious, wish to not have a religious wedding, or cannot afford to have a religious wedding, supposed to go?

Also, if we accept marriage to be a religious institution then we would have to ask ourselves the question: Whose religion gets to define marriage? There are by now, millions of religions in the world - which one gets to be the basis for what marriage should be.

 

As for your suggested alternative - it looks promising.

 

on May 19, 2009

AldericJourdain
Also, if we accept marriage to be a religious institution then we would have to ask ourselves the question: Whose religion gets to define marriage? There are by now, millions of religions in the world - which one gets to be the basis for what marriage should be.

That's the point I'm trying to make though. By eliminating the entire concept of marriage as a civil function, the only civil part become the legal contractual portion, and remove the semantic battle over the term.

on May 19, 2009

That's the point I'm trying to make though. By eliminating the entire concept of marriage as a civil function, the only civil part become the legal contractual portion, and remove the semantic battle over the term.

1. That comes across as rather naive as that's essentially what marriage is in its civil aspect - a contract.

2. I'm amused that you skipped over part of my reply.

on May 19, 2009

AldericJourdain
2. I'm amused that you skipped over part of my reply.

Well partly because I'm not sure that your first statement is true but I haven't chewed it over enough to make an argument yet. It makes some basic assumptions about rights that are really fundamentally sociological/cultural issues as opposed to rights. After all what is a 'right' ?

on May 19, 2009

See my article from about 5 years ago...:  http://citahellion.joeuser.com/article/33729/All_marriage_is_unconstitutional

on May 19, 2009

darn it, that was supposed to be all linkified and everything.  http://citahellion.joeuser.com/article/33729/All_marriage_is_unconstitutional

on May 20, 2009

Flawed assumption: Marriage is a civil function. It isn’t. Marriage is a religious institution.

It was a civil function until the 1500s as far as I know.

 

on May 20, 2009

It was a civil function until the 1500s as far as I kn

Com eon Leauki, you can give a bit more details to this. I am not asking for links of proof but at least something that can point me in a direction where I can look this up. I am very interested in this.

on May 20, 2009

Come on Leauki, you can give a bit more details to this. I am not asking for links of proof but at least something that can point me in a direction where I can look this up. I am very interested in this.

You are right. Here you go:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marriage#European_marriages

Like with the Greeks, Roman marriage and divorce required no specific government or religious approval.Both marriage and divorce could happen by simple mutual agreement.

...

A law in the Theodosian Code (C. Th. 9.7.3) issued in 342 CE prohibited same-sex marriage, but the exact intent of the law and its relation to social practice is unclear, as only a few examples of same-sex marriage in ancient Rome exist.

[Leauki: Just to point out that same-sex marriage was traditionally allowed.]

From the early Christian era (30 to 325 CE), marriage was thought of as primarily a private matter, with no religious or other ceremony being required. Until 1545, Christian marriages in Europe were by mutual consent, declaration of intention to marry and upon the subsequent physical union of the parties. The couple would promise verbally to each other that they would be married to each other; the presence of a priest or witnesses was not required.This promise was known as the "verbum." If freely given and made in the present tense (e.g., "I marry you"), it was unquestionably binding; if made in the future tense ("I will marry you"), it would constitute a betrothal. One of the functions of churches from the Middle Ages was to register marriages, which was not obligatory.

[Leauki: Note the "no religious [...] ceremony required" and "functions of churches [...] was to reguster marriages, which was not obligatory"]

As part of the Counter-Reformation, in 1545 the Council of Trent decreed that a Roman Catholic marriage would be recognized only if the marriage ceremony was officiated by a priest with two witnesses. The Council also authorized a Catechism, issued in 1566, which defined marriage as, "The conjugal union of man and woman, contracted between two qualified persons, which obliges them to live together throughout life."

[Leauki: This was the catholics. The protestants then invented the civil marriage. And that makes civil marriage the traditional protestant form of marriage.]

This change did not extend to the regions affected by the Protestant Reformation, where marriage by consent continued to be the norm. As part of the Reformation, the role of recording marriages and setting the rules for marriage passed to the state. By the 1600s many of the Protestant European countries had a state involvement in marriage.

End quote.

So here we go. The original form of marriage was a civil marriage (i.e. a marriage ceremony with no religious officials involved) and the church wedding was invented by the Catholic Church in the 1600s. Protestants, who I understand are strong in American history, insisted on civil marriage.

 

on May 20, 2009

Leauki
So here we go. The original form of marriage was a civil marriage (i.e. a marriage ceremony with no religious officials involved) and the church wedding was invented by the Catholic Church in the 1600s. Protestants, who I understand are strong in American history, insisted on civil marriage.

Thank you Leauki. This clarifies and corrects some of my reasoning and some of my statements, but I think reinforces my basic argument that the entire proposition of the issue is misfocused. Correcting the issue of intermingling civil and religious function and calling the whole thing 'Household Entitiy' seems that it would help a lot is resolving much of the friction over this entire issue.

on May 20, 2009

Thank you Leauki.

on May 20, 2009

Wow, the op pretty much said exactly what I have been saying for years... marriage is a religious institute and should not be involved in the state at all...

on May 21, 2009

Wow, the op pretty much said exactly what I have been saying for years... marriage is a religious institute and should not be involved in the state at all...

There is a difference between opinion and history.

While I eprsonally believe that marriage should be a religious thing, historically it was a state thing.

And until 1700 years ago, gay marriage was completely part of that, even if rarely done.

I feel that the best thing is for the state to register civil unions for any two people who want to, just in the spirit of teaming up people to look after each other.

And whoever feels that it is necessary (and I absolutely do) should _marry_ his partner according to the laws of his religion of choice.

(Incidentally, according to Jewish law a marriage between a Jew and a non-Jew is illegal. They are recognised, but they will not usually be performed by a rabbi and certainly not in Israel.)

 

on May 21, 2009

Flawed assumption: Marriage is a civil function. It isn’t. Marriage is a religious institution.

Sure thing...upon examining the history of Marriage and the Family founded upon it, we find that it is rightfully a religious institution because God married Adam and Eve in the Garden of Paradise  Genesis 2:24-25...God made the original mold; He set forth the marriage decree when He made Adam and Eve husband and wife: a union of a man and a woman.

After the Fall, all the confusion started and it was downhill for marriage for marriage has lost its essential and original characteristics...unity, indissolubility and sanctity. It was only when Christ came and evelvated marriage by restoring and sanctioning these primitive characteristics.

 

on May 21, 2009

Sure thing...upon examining the history of Marriage and the Family founded upon it

It doesn't surprise me that when you "examined the history" you found the opposite of what I found.

What would surprise me is if you were able to backup your claim with some sort of evidence.

(And who says Adam and Eve were married?)

 

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