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What shall we do about issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples?

In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that states that issue marriage licenses, must also issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. I do not wish the argue the issue here, rather to give a solution to the probems it has caused. 

One problem was that a number of county clerks did not wish to do issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Yet, one can argue that since they are government employees, they should be fired for not doing so. 

And yet doctors, even in county hospitals, are not required to perform abortions if it violates their belief system. 

How can we handle this issue? We want to allow people to follow their beliefs as long as they are peaceful. Otherwise we would be violating the bedrock principle of our country - the right to act according to one's beliefs. 

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The root cause of many such conflicks comes from the fact that government has way overreached in many areas. 

If we got states out of the business of issuing marriage licenses, we wouldn't be arguing about this. If 3 men get married in a church, that is their business since I am not endorsing it personally or through my government. 

But the government has a cetain legitimate role here. If a married couple, or group of individuals get divorced, there may be children to deal with, property issues, and other issues that might only be resolved by the government. 

So a good way to handle this is for states to stop issuing marriage licenses to anyone. Any couple or group could get a minister, or priest, or even a lawyer to witness their marriage. They would sign some marriage documents of their own choosing. There would not be any government employees issuing a marriage license, since there would be no more marriage licenses, which imply a government's endorsement of a marriage.

This couple could go to the county office and register these decuments, along with any other related documents, such as pre-nuptual agreements. The state would just have to stamp 'received' on it, and no one in the government would need to sign or endorse anything.

We'd have to clean up a few things like that have gotten entangled in marriage such as health insurance, the income tax, etc.

But for most of the history of the world, governments were not involved in marriage. Even at the start of the United States marriage licenses were not issued. 

Keep marriage private. Even schools would not have to teach about what the government's current definition of marriage is.

And then we would be not waiting for the Supreme Court to decide what its next definition of marriage will be.

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Tim Farage is a Senior Lecturer at The University of Texas At Dallas. The opinions given here are his alone.

Comments

Anonymous said…
The Supreme Court decision basically observed that the government view of marriage is a contract (whereas the Biblical view of marriage is a Covenant). Whether a person is married under the ethos of God or the state depends on whether that person believes in a lifelong vow to another person UNDER God (which derives a special "married" spiritual status) or whether they think marriage is simply a piece of paper that allows easy property transfer and co-ownership of 401k and pensions and I gues Social Security benefits. Both beliefs get the piece of paper, but in the latter case the paper is all there is to the marriage--which is perfect for atheists and the atheist agenda.

Now that marriage is only an earthly contract in the eyes of the state, the state shouldn't discriminate and only allow 2 people to marry. Also, a person could marry a corporation (why not?--companies are people too, remember), or perhaps an animal. Or a company could marry a company:) It may sound ridiculous, but remember we are not talking about Christian marriage here, just joint property.

The clerk should just hand out the paper and look for another job on the side, maybe with her church, and leave to Caesar what is Caesar's. She'll never be happy with the outcome of this situation legally, so why go to jail:)
Tim Farage said…
Here's something I like that is already being considered. Mississippi and Oklahoma are considering not offering marriage licenses to anyone.

A bill in Oklahoma would allow notaries and religious leaders to sign marriage documents and strip the power from judges and clerks. Alabama already has one county that operates in this manner.

These marriage documents, which couples of the same or opposite sex could provide, would be formally filed with the county, but would not be signed or endorsed by the county. Then if there is a divorce, for example, the courts would decide how to handle that as they do now.

I like this solution, because it would not violate the Supreme Court's recent decision (because states can't be required to provide marriage licenses) and would allow individuals to 'marry' whomever they wish, assuming consenting adults.

And since the government would not be endorsing these legal documents, there would be little room for lawsuits, firings, etc.

It won't stop discussions about same-sex marriage, but these would be an aspect of free speech, and would not involve the courts or other legal institutions.

And when the Supreme Court inevitably decides that not allowing polygamy is 'discriminatory', then polygamous groups could file their marriage documents in the same way.


Anonymous said…
In what way does the Supreme Court's decision affect you specifically?
Tim Farage said…
The Supreme Court's decision does not affect me directly.

The minor reason that I don't agree with it is that it forces states to re-define marriage licensing. But the Supreme Court's highest purpose is to determine if a law is constitutional or not. If not, they can and should strike down the law. But it is not proper for the Court to make laws, which is what the did.

The major reason I am against the Court's decision is that it legally puts same-sex marriages on par with opposite-sex marriage. But they are not equivalent because same-sex couples cannot have their own biological children.

Each of us has biological parents. And going back millions of years, every one of our ancestors had biological parents. So clearly Nature has provided many advantages to children who are born to and raised by their biological parents.

I am certainly NOT saying that same-sex couples cannot be good parents. I personally know of two same-sex couples who are excellent parents. What I am saying is that, all things being equal, children of loving biological parents have more advantages than children with same-sex parents.

I will write a separate blog post about this, but just consider this one fact: children raised by their biological parents have both a mother and a father. And there are hundreds, if not thousands of studies showing the importance of this.

So to me the ideal is for a child to be raised by their loving, biological parents. And I think the Court's decision implicitly denies that.

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