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Gay Marriage - A Solution

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Obviously the issue of gay marriage is a divisive one. Should it be legal or not? Here's a solution that may be considered radical, but resolves a lot of arguments by making them irrelevant:

Get governments out of the marriage business altogether!

What is marriage? There are many definitions, and they are changing fast now that it has become an important political issue. Certainly some traditional definitions exclude gay marriage by including the words "between a man and a woman." Other's though, simply call it an, "an intimate or close union." Here is Wikipedia's definition:

"Marriage is an interpersonal relationship with governmental, social, or religious recognition, usually intimate and sexual, and often created as a contract, or through civil process. Civil marriage is the legal concept of marriage."

Notice that "marriage" is distinguished from "civil marriage." That makes sense, doesn't it? Marriage existed long before a governmental "license" was required. (Incidentally, doesn't anyone else besides myself find it offensive that we should need "permission" of a government to be married?) Marriage started long ago with various ceremonies that were mostly religious. The rituals involved are a way for the union of two people to be recognized by the group (whether religious or social) to which they belonged.

Why, then, does government have to be involved at all? It doesn't! Why not just let people have whatever ceremonies they want, call it whatever they want, and live how they want as long as they are not hurting others?

No More "Legal" Marriage

Of course we would have to make some changes in the tax code. But then why was there ever a penalty or reward for marriage in the first place? If we are free individuals with equal rights, governments never should have started treating us differently according to our religious or other ceremonial agreements with others.

What about divorce? The law in this area might have to change a few definitions, but the essential principles would be the same. Already many courts recognize that two people who live together without that piece of paper (the permission slip, or marriage "license") need to fairly divide their assets when they separate. Any two people who combine assets will possibly need a civil court to assist in the division of them when separating.

And children? We have to stop worrying about what we call family arrangements, and think about the good of the children - period. Couples will always live together, and how they raise their children is more important than whether they call their union a marriage or whatever. When they separate, the courts should simply arrange things for the children's benefit, as they hopefully do now.

What about other marriage "benefits?" For things like social security and life insurance, the simple answer is to let individuals designate whoever they want as the beneficiary. In any case, was it ever fair that a single man got only a partial social security plan, while a married man gets potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars additional money paid out to his spouse? They did pay the same taxes, after all.

Let companies decide what kind of plans they want for health insurance. Eventually they will see the market advantage of offering insurance that allows the employee to designate who the other beneficiaries are. Those who might choose to limit coverage to certain religiously designated unions (remember, there will be no more civil or "legal" marriage) will find it harder to attract employees.

Once government is no longer defining marriage, and deciding who has "permission" to marry, the issue of gay marriage disappears. If two men or two women or a man and a woman want to join their lives together in some ceremony, they can do so in any church that will have them, or by any rituals or ceremonies that they choose. And gay or not, they can call it marriage or use any other word, because it is nobody's business but theirs.


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Radical New Thoughts | Gay Marriage - A Solution