Monday, 8 March 2010

What's marriage really got to do with commitment

An interesting op-ed piece about marriage and the state.
But I say, let them have it. That is, the churches can have marriage because I don't want it. Let them not recognise divorce. Have them suggest that only virgins should wear white. Allow them to marry only those whom attend their churches regularly - and not just for the last few months. Lend them their airs and lend them their graces.

But don't let the state have at it. Our private sexual relationships are none of the Parliament's or executive government's concern. The state should not be telling me or you that my or your relationship is less legitimate than another. Nor should it be paying any attention to my or your sexual relationships. Ever. And if you do believe that marriage is about love then why on earth is the state dealing in love? What's marriage really got to do with commitment - On Line Opinion - 26/2/2010

I like this approach because it sanctifies marriage as a religious activity over and above a legal activity. It makes the assumption that both parties are religious and intend to honour the lifelong commitment. What I don't like about it is the lack of legal protections associated with such intimate living. Suppose one partner walks away from the faith and no longer commits to the marriage. Although divorce is ugly, it happens to about half of marriages. Any couple that intermingles finances (from petty cash to life insurance) needs independent arbitration to disentangle all of that. Although I'm happy for marriage to remain a religious rite, the high rate of divorce indicates that some pragmatic approach be taken to help manage the arbitration process.
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