T Nation

Lets Talk Marriage!


First lets talk about what is Marriage, in this country we are having a hard time trying to find out what exactly it is.

Is it Government?

Is it Religious?

The way it stands now it is both and as we can clearly see we are having problems with it.

It is time we as a country finally answer this question. To answer this question will end almost all debate as to what marriage is allowed.


I think most of Republicans do not want to discuss it because they do not want to admit there should be no reason that should disallow Gays to marry. I personally see it as a religious â?? legal institution. And denying gays to marry is to deny them possible salvation


If it is a religious institution shouldn't the church(or what ever religion is doing the marrying) be able to accept who they want to marry and who they do not? I think it is more the liberals who choose not to discuss this because if they do say its religious then the church has every right to deny Alternative marriages.(lets not turn this thread into if alternative marriage is right or wrong we already have one of those.).


Good Lord. Have you somehow missed the seven other threads where "Republicans" are all in on the debate?


Ideologically I don't think your argument is wrong. Marriage as only a religious institution would be fine... some churches wouldn't marry gay people, others would, the world would go on ... but I'm not so sure we can ever get there from where we are now.

btw, I don't recall a "liberal" I know of ever say that a church shouldn't be allowed to marry who they choose. You don't that all churches come down the same way on this issue...do you?


Where I'm from - Germany - marriage has been a contract under civil law for about 120 years, thanks to Bismarck. Religious ceremonies may be performed (after the civil ceremony), but are legally irrelevant. Works fine for everyone. Yes, the state governs the legal contract (which is fine with German social tradition), but there is room for religious people to add what they deem necessary.

IMHO that's a good solution: What matters is the legal contract, as religious considerations are irrelevant to me. I personally see marriage not as a moral or spiritual matter, but a contract that is supposed to create an environment which is supportive of building a family - by granting rights and entitlements. Which is to say that I would prefer most of those entitlements to be connected rather to biological and adoptive parenting (yes, that includes gay couples).

With regards to an inner meaning of marriage or any relationship for that matter - no legal or religious institution can make people value it - it has to be filled with meaning by its participants. All the institution can do is not make it harder for people to do so by attaching prescriptive moral obligations.

Institutions will always be informed by social reality, however traditionalist or progressive one might want to be - effectively people will make individual choices and use the legal tools available to make the system fit their choices (case in point: the legal attempts to outmaneuevering by both the pro- and anti-gay marriage camps). That's why gay marriage has been moving forward in many societies, polyamory hasn't and for the foreseeable future won't. That's also why patchwork families are on the rise and clinging to the (relatively new and imho dysfunctional) model of the nuclear family really isn't working. What matters is what makes things work for people - and their (biological or adoptive/raised) children.



I think you are missing the point of my debate. I am simply saying should marriage be between the man the wife and the church, or should it be between the man the wife and the government. When we try to mix both together we get problems.


I have yet to hear of a same sex couple complaining about the laundry list of government benefits they receive. Or complain about the throngs of churches willing to marry them and renew their vows.

Marriage is a symbol of dedicated matrimony (insert your own joke about divorce rates in the US). The inclusion of any 3rd party is merely the couples decision to reap an extraneous benefit. Any two people can find a person to marry them, but if the marriage accepted by the government or a church is a different issue.

What your claiming is a more ménage à trois of sorts. Off topic in your own thread, how silly.


Will never happen.

This board is a great example of people who thing marriage outside of what they believe to be "allowed" is an inescapable WW3 with Satan.

Competing religions with competing views on now private marriages, if history has shown us anything, that'll end well.

A single government dispensing marriage license, with two political lines holding opposing views, nearly every bipartisan issue since the beginning of our nation has been solved right?

If it swings either way we will still have people protesting gay marriages and then walking across the street and protesting soldier funerals.

There will still be people protesting at your home, work, or governement office calling you a bigot.


I figured that if I remained single, I'd eventually kill myself with my crazy lifestyle at the time (when I was in my twenties). Today it works out even better since I could really do a job on myself with all the money I make. Plus it almost guarantees that I have a designated driver when I need one.



Yeah, I understand what you're saying. I said:

(1) I don't think that's wrong ideologically. BUT in reality, it will never happen.

(2) Even if it did happen. There are churches that would marry same-sex couples.


Well said. One question though, do you really think "patchwork families are on the rise" or do you just think that society is recognizing them for the first time? I'm guessing it's more the later than the former. In my grandparent's generation and small town, patchwork families were more the rule than the exception; but no one would ever talk about it. It was a "secret" that everyone knew but only talked about behind closed doors over a few beers after a long day at the mill. Now we're a bit more open it seems. Or at least we can talk about such things safely behind the anonymity of the internet.


Let's not. It's beaten to death.


Church and state are constitutionally separated for a reason. There is no mandate for church and state to agree on what constitutes a valid marriage. They are completely free to disagree, nor should the opinion of one have any bearing on the opinion of the other.

You need to differentiate between state sanctioned marriage and church sanctioned marriage.

There are marriages sanctioned by the state that are not sanctioned by the church. For example, at one time the Catholic church refused to recognize the validity of a marriage between two people that had previously been married to someone else. They were entitled to do so, but their religious views had no bearing on whether or not the state sanctioned the marriage.

There are also marriages sanctioned by the church that are not sanctioned by the state. For example, fundamentalist Mormons continue to practice polygamy, despite the state refusing to recognize these marriages as valid.

If gays are allowed to marry by the state, churches are completely free to recognize or refuse to recognize those marriages as valid.


Great post.


That would be left up to each religion. The problem with Gay marriage is not the getting a religion to recognize their marriage. It is to get the law to recognize it.


Good lord yes:)


I think it should be between a man and his wife and the church. The Government should stick its head in there when the couple or the church can not reach a divorce settlement


Good question. I would say both is valid. I think you're right in saying that we've built far more accepting societies in the second half of the 20th century, and that we're now able to openly admit behaviours and relationships which were swept under the carpet before.

The nuclear family - with its focus on a central relationship and an extension in having few children as its crowning achievement rather than having many for the purpose of continuation and life insurance of the parents - as idealised by some is mostly a construct of the last 100 years, and it has come with unique problems. I would argue that a highly individualised society allows a more patchwork=like identity, and thus similar relationships, but I fully agree with you that the thought it was all better and clearer in the 'olden days' is a misconception.