Looking differently at marriage equality

The government has no place defining marriage for gay or straight couples.

The only official document that should be given by the state to any couple should be civil union paperwork. Any other document is treading in religious territory, and as we all know, church and state are supposed to be separate.

Marriage is a spiritual matter that shouldn’t even be up for debate. You can’t govern love and shouldn’t govern spiritual beliefs; these two things are just too closely tied together to even try. People will love and marry whom they want regardless.

I’m not saying no one should be married or use the term “married.” Everyone should be able to marry. But the legal and emotional sides of this issue should be separated.

Marriage is something that is emotional, private and usually spiritual. Whether or not it is between people of the opposite or same sex is irrelevant. The true essence of it is making a commitment to love and care for someone— and there are other things, too, depending on how you personally define it.

When you stand up in front of your family at the altar you’re doing it because you love someone; not for insurance purposes or to make sure you get half the money if you get fat and your spouse wants to leave you.

Those things usually aren’t on your mind on your wedding day, which isn’t to say those things aren’t important or needed; it’s just that they aren’t part of your vows. Those are just material things and legal matters.

It’s fine for the state to issue two consenting people a legally binding document that gives them all the legal rights of what is currently considered marriage or a civil union. Really either way it’s still a civil union in the eyes of the government. They don’t care how much you love or hate your partner, just that you are now responsible for their life or death decisions.

But for the government to define for us what marriage is, as just these legal rights, is wrong. For most individuals that is not what marriage is actually about.

The government shouldn’t be the one granting you a marriage certificate. They should only be involved as far as a binding contract goes. But when it comes down to two souls becoming one, that is something a minister or other counselor should be handling.

I propose we have two separate documents when it comes down to deciding what to do about marriage: one binding legal document, a civil union issued by the state, and then a second that is just as important, a marriage certificate issued by your religious organization of choice.

I’m not against gay marriage or straight marriage. Equality is fantastic. I’m against the state telling anyone that they can or can’t marry because it isn’t up to them to decide.

For the time being, if straight couples can marry then couples of the same sex should have exactly the same rights— and I mean exactly. The same use of words, like marriage, husband and wife. They should also have the same rights for life and death decisions, for taxes, for insurance and for children.

Marriage is so personal and different for every person, just as religious beliefs are. The two go hand in hand, and therefore the government has no place in anyone’s marriage.