The QiRanger Adventures


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The topic of marriage has been on my mind for some time. Not because of anything going on in my personal life, but rather because of the election season that is approaching.

During the last set of national elections, several states passed various laws prohibiting same-sex couples from marrying. This, quite frankly pissed me off. Not only because the federal government got in the way by passing the Defense of Marriage Act. But the US Government wasn’t the first to stick it’s nose in where it didn’t belong.

The practice dates back to the mid-1500s with the The Marriage Ordinance of Geneva and later with the Marriage Act of 1753 in the UK. These two laws essentially required the state to bless all marriages. While there are legal ramifications of doing this (ensuring lines of property succession, etc.), it creates an interesting problem no one seems to want to discuss.

There are two main arguments against same-sex marriages: 1) It violates religious doctrine and 2) it’s bad for families. Please allow me to address the second point first and work backwards.

The notion that a same-sex marriage is bad for the American Family is absurd. Today, the American family is in shambles and has nothing to do with sex. Let’s take a quick look at some stats from 2002:

  • Percentage of population that is married: 59%
  • Percentage of population that has never married: 24%
  • Median age at first divorce: Males: 30.5, Females: 29

Even with those stats, the old notion that nearly 50% of all marriages end in divorce holds true. If it’s true that only half of all male-female marriages succeed, that doesn’t seem to indicate a vary stable family environment. In addition, research shows that same-sex relationships are prone to the same problems as heterosexual couples.

Another alarming statistic is the disproportionate number of issues related to the endangerment of children in heterosexual couples. When looking at the data, there are far less proportionate calls to Child Protective Services when comparing households steered by same-sex couples.

But let’s get to the heart of the matter, religion. The US is fond of saying that it’s a Christian Nation, when in fact, it is a secular society. While the founding fathers may have held various Christian values close to their hearts, the US has embraced the First Amendment and become secular. The First Amendment states:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

This is where I see a problem with how marriage is carried out in the US. Since any clergy member can sanctify a marriage and make it legally binding, with or without a marriage license, it appears that the litmus test for marriage still resides within the religious orders. This is especially evident since members of the Universal Life Church are legally able to perform marriages after a 5-minute online ordination.

Since marriage started in the religious sector, it should stay there.

If government persists in legislating who can and cannot marry, then they are writing religious policy – something the First Amendment prohibits. Under the current laws allowing clergy the ability to marry individuals, anyone they deem suitable for a union should be given equal status regardless of sexual orientation.

This means that if an ordained minister feels two men or two women are emotionally prepared for a union, the marriage can then be performed and should be recognized as no different than a heterosexual couple. Failing to do so would classify some religions as “approved” and others as not being so. Since The Church of Scientology is offered protective status, the US government must stop this double standard approach.

The only legal option is to prohibit all clergy from performing recognized marriages. In short, if someone is married by “the church” there is no legal standing. A separate, binding service would need to be performed to create a civil union. This would allow states to dictate who can receive benefits, etc. and be lawful under the First Amendment. However, as long as clergy are allowed to perform marriages, any prohibition on marriage for same-sex couples is unconstitutional.



Written by Steve Miller

May 4, 2008 at 7:00 am

One Response

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  1. […] other news… I recently posted my thoughts on marriage. Well the California Supreme Court is set to announce it’s decision today on same-sex […]

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