Over time, I've thought a lot about the marriage debate. Here's where I've come with it, what I truly believe may be fair. And it's probably going to surprise some people, and probably going to anger some as well. All the same, maybe you'll get something from it, or I'll learn something from you, that's what good debate should be.
Marriage as a natural law predated marriage as it is legally recognized today. I'm going to go so far (which I have before) as to say that the Government should never have gotten involved in marriage in the first place. However, it is a bit late to change that, as it causes some major issues. First, the issue of letting the states handle marriage. We all know that I'm a big fan of "local is better" government, but I don't think that it should be that difficult for people that want to move state to state have marriages recognized in some and not in others. So here's my solution....make all civil marriages into civil unions. Yes. My marriage, along with many others would become a civil union. Gay partners that want to commit to each other for life would have the same exact status within the government if they want to have civil unions.
Marriage would remain as a sacrament taken in a religious ceremony.
As far as I can tell, this would solve a lot of problems. You could easily transfer all civil marriages into the language of unions, it evens all legal and government/healthcare issues between monogamous committed heterosexual and homosexual couples, and it still allows a special place for marriage.
So why does it bother me so much emotionally? Maybe because I'd have to admit that taking a sacrament of marriage is a larger promise than taking a civil one. Alright, before the nitpicking starts, obviously there are couples married in various religious institutions that don't take their vows as seriously as they should, and there are those of us that take our civil vows as seriously as religious vows. However, I have to say that I have been through the discussion of taking those vows in a religious ceremony, and at least in my case, it really makes you feel like you are making a larger promise, a promise that is literally unbreakable, no matter what, so you'd better be damned sure you want to make it, you'd better be sure of yourself, or your partner, or your desires for your life together. For your level of handling anger, hurt, temptation, and every other difficult emotion that comes with a lifelong commitment to another person. But, there is something to be said for the fact that the likes of Brittany Spears and her ilk wouldn't be able to hit Vegas and get married, just to get divorced or annulled days later. There's also something to be said for marriage being supported by society and not by a constitutional amendment (which I have been against from the beginning). But then, it wouldn't be marriage anymore, it would be civil unions.
Does the name mean that much? If not, why does it bother me so much to think that I would not be married?