The solution to the problem of gay marriage

Gay marriage. Why is it a problem?

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Gay marriage. A contentious subject


The problem of gay marriage is easily solved


Gay or straight marriage. Keep this music


Gay marriage. A contentious subject



Rivers of political blood have been shed over the last several years on the issue of gay marriage and, without doubt, the bleeding on this subject will continue for many years yet. The controversy has arisen, not over religious marriages. The major religions of the world still forbid same-sex marital unions and I can see little prospect of that changing in the near future. The problem seems to be whether it should be legal for civil registrars to officiate at marriages of couples, where both the parties to the union are of the same gender. Bishops and pastors seem to be united in expressing their opposition to same-sex civil marriages. No doubt there are Imam's and Lamas and other such religious exotics getting their ecclesiastical knickers twisted into knots on the same contentious subject. Politicians on all sides of the political divide are also expressing very heated opinions on whether gay couples should be allowed the same right of civil marriage as their heterosexual counterparts.


The problem of gay marriage is easily solved


There is of course a simple solution to the whole problem. But because politicians and theologians are more or less incapable of thinking outside their respective boxes, none of them have alighted on it yet. The perfect way to extend the same rights to gay couples as to female/male couples is to abolish civil marriage altogether. I'm not proposing that there should not be binding civil registration of relationships. I just believe the terms “marriage” and “married” should be stripped out of the legal definition for both homosexual and heterosexual couples. If people want to consider themselves informally to be married, that should be fine. Gay couples in the United Kingdom, who presently have civil partnerships, think of themselves as being in a marriage. The legal protections, given somebody in a civil partnership, are very similar to those extended to a party in a civil marriage. Equally, the dissolution of such a partnership is not too dissimilar to a divorce.


I was baptised Catholic and was brought up in that religion. I still subscribe to most of its doctrines. The Catholic doctrine on marriage is very pertinent to this issue. This doctrine was formally adopted by the church at the Council of Trent in 1566. It states that a marriage must be between a man and a woman and that it is not the legal unless it is officiated over by a priest. My religious teachers went to great lengths to teach me that marriage in a register office was not a marriage. This didn't matter whether it were a man and a woman, a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. Catholic teaching is civil marriage sinful, church marriage sinless. So why, therefore, are all these bishops trying to prevent a change in the law regarding civil marriage, when Canon law doesn't recognise its legality anyway? It makes no sense to me. I'm certain that a lot of other religions have similar requirements. They call it the sacramental nature of marriage.


I say let them keep it. Marriage can remain a religious construct. Abolish civil marriages for all couples. We can have a debate as to what term to substitute for the word “marriage”. I favour “Personal commitment ceremony” as a possible replacement.


If government adopts the course I have just outlined, it will “cut the boots from under” the religious objectors. They are trying to have it both ways at the moment. They should not be allowed to do so.


Gay or straight marriage. Keep this music

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Comments 24 comments

ata1515 profile image

ata1515 4 years ago from Buffalo, New York.

Great proposal. Marriage is a commitment before friends, family and God, not the state.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Thanks ata1515.

That's more or less how I see it myself. Equally the churches should butt out of commenting on state regulation of commited partnerships, so long as they are not officially called marriage.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I think eliminating marriage is a great idea. Personal commitments have no business being legislated. Of all the times I have been married, I have never needed an official marriage certificate except for a public record and we really don't need that either.

Get married at home and make a commitment to each other - not to the church or state. It's really none of their business.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Oddly enough Austinstar. That was what people did in biblical times, although there would be no point in telling most christians that nowadays.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I don't get it. Why do politicians and religious leaders think they have power when they try to be dictators? It's a mystery to me.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Hi christopher, mention the church and marriage and it gets my back up! lol! I have been watching it on the news and I just think, oh keep your darn noses out! just remember how the church treated people back in the middle ages, we couldn't even say the earth went around the sun without being jailed! the church is run by silly little men who think they have a right to say what people should do, thats why I don't go to church, its full of hypocrites! yes I am religious, but I do it my own way, love is love simple as that, nell


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Hi Nell.

Thanks for the comment. I'm not really a church-basher. I've defended them on many occasions, over a lot of things. On the "gay issue" though, they are just plain wrong. They are going against the evidence of nature and, if they really believe in a creator, they are going against Him as well.


johndnathan profile image

johndnathan 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas. USA

In the eyes of the law civil marriage is simply a contract between two people. Anyone who believes it is legally more than that can watch as two people of different religions go down to the courthouse and get married purely for tax purposes, and even tell the judge that's marrying them that.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Thanks johndnathan for that additional bit of knowledge. All they need to do then is change the title of the procedure from "marriage" and the problem is solved.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

It's called a "civil union" over here in the colonies, so they have changed the name :-) Some states even allow civil unions between gays. The concept of marriage is slowly changing.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

"Civil union" seems a bit cold and legalistic to me. Something with a bit more romance might be more suitable. I'm open to suggestions, so long as it's not "marriage".


johndnathan profile image

johndnathan 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas. USA

Well in the eyes of the law a civil union is really all it is. You have to go to the courthouse to get a marriage license before you can get married in your church/temple/holy place, and by that time you're technically already legally married so you can call the ceremony whatever you like.


BLACKANDGOLDJACK profile image

BLACKANDGOLDJACK 4 years ago from Blitzburgh area

Christopher, what happens to benefits paid to a spouse under your proposal?

For example, in the U.S. today if a gay couple is legally married in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages, one spouse can still not collect federal benefits such as Social Security under their partner's benefits.

Marriage (or whatever you want to call it) has to be specifically defined by the government if the government is going to be paying benefits (with our tax dollars).

Your proposal to substitute "personal commitment ceremony" for "marriage" might placate some religionists, but there are a myriad of other issues that come into play.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

johndnathan.

Looks like they have the problem licked where you live. Is it the same for same-sex couples as for differently sexed ones?


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

BLACKANDGOLDJACK.

I expect there would be a lot of teething problems. In the United States it would be much more complicated than here, in the United Kingdom, because of all the states' different regulations. Whether it's called marriage or not, the discrepancies over benefit payments ought to be rectified.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

DMVmimay.

Are you saying that I am less than a man? I was complete when I last looked.


BLACKANDGOLDJACK profile image

BLACKANDGOLDJACK 4 years ago from Blitzburgh area

Christopher, I'm not touching what you just said to DMVmimay with a ten-foot pole (the last time I looked).

The problem over benefit payments in the U.S. will take some time to be rectified the way things stand now. It will depend to some extent on who wins this election. Likely some of the issues will ultimately be resolved by the Supreme Court.

Same-sex married couples are going to lobby for the same benefits across the board as man-woman marriages. Was that the intent, for example, of Social Security? Social Security will be insolvent in around 20 years by most estimates by both parties. That's why it's a campaign issue now. The problem won't go away unless something is done now. My concern is more people claiming benefits that were never considered in funding a program that is already in financial trouble.


johndnathan profile image

johndnathan 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas. USA

Christopheranton, unfortunately they don't have the problem licked here, especially since I'm in Dallas, Texas, where we have five Protestant churches easily within a few miles of anywhere in the city. It's legalistic theocratic-flavored mess.

I was just citing the legal technicalities about marriage. No church is required for two people to legally get married in the United States, nor can the church interfere with the marriage, so the church shouldn't have any say in who can or cannot get married.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

BLACKANDGOLDJACK.

I don't really know about benefits in the United States, although I can see the necessity of not letting them spiral out of control. Perhaps they could have some "child" basis for eligibility. That would favour straight couples without being directly discriminatory against gay ones.

Just an idea.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

johndnathan.

You are "spot on" in what you say about the churches not having any right to say who can or cannot get married. They certainly are entitled to make up the rules for their own members but they should butt out of interfering with the rights of others. They should have no more rights than any other club or organisation. Isn't there supposed to be separation of church and state in your country?


johndnathan profile image

johndnathan 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas. USA

Yes yes. That's the phrase. "Supposed to be."

I think there is, but so many people act like there isn't. I can never tell except when my rights are being stifled, and that's usually the only time the argument is brought up.


drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida

This is a thoughtful hub, christopher, and there is supposed to be a separation of church and state in the U.S. but these days that thin line is hard to find. And when it comes to the question of death benefits, I'm afraid that's a 'hearse' of a difference color. Pun intended.


christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom Author

Hi drbj.

It is only a very short article but I hoped it would spark off some good debate and it has.

I'm not too worried about death benefits myself. If I have any entitlements, or any money, it all goes to the cat.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

sorry missed your reply, yes I totally agree with you, if you look at nature there are many animals that become gay in certain cercumstances, fish, monkeys and many more, God made them, so whats the problem? exactly!

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