First Brad Warbiany picks up on a quote from my post and asks this question
Imagine that you?ve been married 20 years. You got married in the Church, and signed your papers with the state. All of a sudden, someone from City Hall breaks in with some terrible news. Due to filling out the form wrong, it turns out you?ve not been married at all! Your marriage license is torn up, according to the state, you?re now a single person.
Do you consider the last 20 years a sham? Do you consider yourself any less married than before you heard the news?
The answer, for me at least, is that of course the previous 20 years aren’t a sham. Its a paperwork snafu, and the paperwork no more means I’m really married than a driver’s license means someone really knows how to drive (around here, it seems to mean quite the opposite).
I would think, hope, that for most people the recognition by the state would be secondary to the union itself. If you believe in God, then there is a religious basis for the union. If you don’t then, obviously you think there’s something important about recognizing the union over and above the marriage license, no ?
The solution is a simple one. Get the state out of marriage entirely. No privileges, no tax breaks, no legal protections. Not because marriage isn?t important or valuable. But because it is too valuable to leave in the all too corruptible hands of government. We take our philosophy from the founding fathers. And the historical progenitor of that philosophy was distrust of the state. They distrusted it because it was an inevitability that the state would stop serving the people it was created by. And thus that the more power the state had, the larger a hammer that could eventually be wielded against the people. The state is an evil, albeit a sometimes necessary one. Perhaps because of this it has been a hallmark of our philosophy that the more beloved the ideal, the less involvement of the state we?re willing to grant. By giving the state a role?no matter how small?in defining marriage, we?ve exposed a sacred concept to the same depredations that we fear would happen to our liberty and our property.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. Go read Nick’s entire May essay, it deserves your attention.