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Yet more evidence that the State should get out of the marriage business

13 November 2010

I’ve long argued that the State should get out of the marriage business and leave it to civil society. Apparently in England you can have a “civil partnership”, but only with someone of the same sex, and a “marriage”, but only with someone of the opposite sex.

A civil proposal for marriage – Home News, UK – The Independent:

How about this for a proposal? Darling, I love you and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. The thing is, I don’t approve of marriage. It’s riddled with historical baggage and is a discriminatory system still forbidden to our gay friends. So why don’t we publicly declare our love by challenging Britain’s marriage laws and register a heterosexual civil partnership? They’ll say no, of course, but at least we can battle them in the courts for years.

That is exactly what Tom Freeman and his partner, Katherine Doyle, will do tomorrow when they go to Islington Register Office and request a civil partnership. ‘It’s not very romantic,’ admits Ms Doyle with a smile. ‘But it’s something that needs to be done.’

I suggest that the State should register civil partnerships in the same way as it registers births and deaths, and that it should not register marriages at all, except as one of several varieties of civil partnership. More details at Notes from underground: The State should get out of the marriage business. The example in the Independent story shows that the longer the State stays in the marriage business, the more ridiculous the situation will become.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 13 November 2010 10:26 am

    I think marriage has become so burdened with religious and legal caveats that your idea sounds about right. A new twist.

    On a number of issues the church expects the state to do its business for it. Another instance is abortion. Abortion is a difficult issue for any woman to consider as an individual option. Illegal abortions are a nightmare and the State should be allowed consider public policy options instead of being berated by bishops and other clerics. Women, after all, are not being forced to have abortions. If the churches moral teachings were an overwhelming success it might not need to be concerned. Christian women would not be availing themselves of legal abortions, do you think?

    Similarly with civil partnerships registration. Those who believe that they should be united before their community and under God can still choose to do this. If Christian morality was able to shine through all areas of our lives (and I know that is a tough ask for each of us), isn’t that what the Body of Christ should be pursuing? Perhaps the church/es need to look to themselves before moralising at the State. Even if the whole world is going to hell in a handbasket, what is going on if Christians are not equipped to live calmly and courageously in Christ in such a situation?

    • 16 November 2010 3:42 am

      I’m not sure that comparison with abortion helps, since I see them as entirely different issues.

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