Civil unions & marriage

My sister and I watched the inauguration, and wondering about the changes to the White House website – there are a lot of promises made to the LGBT community there.

I think that maybe sis is more pessimistic than I am – and why wouldn’t she be?  The law affects her and her partner directly. 

What I’d like to see are sweeping changes made to marriage and civil unions.  I spoke of it in a letter to my sister, and realized it would make a good blog post too.  So here it is – my thoughts on what I’d like to see happen to marriage:

Honestly, I’d like to see marriage completely re-vamped in America.  (And around the world)

I’d like to see the State take care of civil unions only, and these civil unions will have all the benefits, laws and regulations applied as are currently bestowed upon what we call marriage.

I would like religions to only deal with marriage, but a religious marriage will have ONLY theological benefits.  Any religion would be able to marry a couple, but if said couple wanted to file (taxes) jointly with the Federal Gov’t, they’d also have to get a civil union.  And if the  couple wanted a civil union and not bother with the marriage – well, that would be fine too.  Let the various religions say that they are “living in sin” – it won’t bother me a bit.

Actually, I’m somewhat bemused that even now a marriage performed in one religion is automatically recognized by another religion.  Different religions have different requirements and ceremonies, why should one honor the ceremony of another?  Why should Catholics be forced to recognize a Pagan marriage ceremony simply because it’s recognized by the State?

Maybe the various religions will work out various organizations under which a religious marriage is recognized by other religions – in a manner similar to that in which colleges are accredited.  “Your marriage is recognized by the Southern Baptist Convention, but not by the Alliance of Catholics and Episcopalians!”  This would make sense to me because some congregations do grudgingly allow that other religions might also be “right”.  And for those in the “one TRUE religion”, well they can with the flourish of a pen declare the rest of the world a buncha bastards.  I’m sure the feeling would be mutual.

I would find it interesting that new converts to a religion would need to be re-married along with their baptism.  It should be that way anyway – why should a Baptist church be forced to recognize the theological legality of a wedding performed by the Church of Satan merely because the ex-Satanist couple decided to convert?

If Obama creates something that has all the benefits and laws of traditional marriage – including inheritance and Federal taxes – but he instead calls it a “Civil Union” and makes it available to everyone… well!  That’s fine by me.  I’d love to see it.  And if an Atheist or LGBT couple wants to get “married”, they could even go so far as to form their own church in which to do so – with the additional benefit that they could next declare the rest of the world to be “bastards”.

I think that if a marriage is “religious” then it should only have religious benefits.  The State has no business granting any sort of religious benefits and should stay out of religious contracts.  Just as religion has no business in forcing the state to recognize religious contracts – including marriage.