We as a nation are at a unique moment in history where we can rethink the role of marriage. I say: Marriage as we understand it as a religious expression that two people in a committed partnership enjoy in relation to the laws of a society. The same laws ought to apply to all citizens equally. People who want their relationship recognized and protected by the state ought to file an agreement for civil union along with a prenuptial agreement with the proper state authorities. When they want to divorce, they ought to file a divorce agreement with the authorities that nullifies the civil union and puts their divorce agreement on record. This ought to be the beginning and the end of state involvement. The state cannot and ought not to dictate the disciplines and doctrines of a particular faith community. Thus, religious communities ought to remain free to marry or not to marry whomever that community chooses. The Catholic Church ought not to be forced by the state to facilitate the adoption of children by same-sex couples. At the same time, any individual who offers goods and services to the general public ought to be prohibited from discrimination against people because of their sexual orientation or because they are members of a same-sex union. Landlords are obligated to rent to same sex couples on the same basis as they would to heterosexual couples. People who provide services to people planning weddings or who rent out their property for weddings ought to be required by law to provide these goods and services on a nondiscriminatory basis. The reason that I say that “marriage” is a business is because the term has such a complex history and it is loaded with meaning. There was once a time when the idea of marrying for the sake of love was unthinkable or thought of as nonsense. Time passed, and changes in the economic, political and social status of single people, especially women, have changed the meaning of marriage. Marriage is no longer primarily an economic contract to help people meet their basic needs, but now marriage is a loving commitment to help people live a fulfilling life. It is no longer only about sustenance of life, but it is also about the joy of life. She also reminds us that laws for the protection of children, both inside and outside of marriage, has made marriage less of a necessity for the sake of “legitimacy.” Yet, marriage is still an important social institution. Coontz writes: “It remains the highest expression of commitment in our culture and comes packaged with exacting expectations about responsibility, fidelity and intimacy. . . . And society has a clear set of rules for how everyone else should and should not relate to each partner.” In sum: When two people are married, they make an important statement to the world that other members of society are obligated to respect in custom and in law. We as a nation all deserve to be equal. And not discriminated against for our sexual orientation! Credit to for the writing goes to Valerie_Elverton_Dixon
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