In response to my recent post The Right’s Response to Prop 8’s Rejection, Court Greene, a fellow former seminarian, had this to say on twitter:
This is a good question to ask. What should the role of the government in marriage, if any?
This is a conversation that Court and I have had before. The question that you may be asking is how do you get the government out of marriage altogether? My suggestion is to follow the example of other countries, like France, where the government oversees civil unions between couples. These civil unions confer all the rights that we think of when we think of rights of a married couple: the ability to see your spouse in the hospital, be on the same insurance, etc. Religious institutions could then perform marriage ceremonies if the couple chose.
This is a vastly different set up than what we currently have in America, but I do agree with Court that an appropriate separation of church and state would leave the state out of the marriage aspect of a couple. This way, religious institutions could define “marriage” however they chose and refuse to marry certain people if they chose to, but the rights that are currently reserved for opposite-sex couples in the majority of this country would be rightly given to all couples. I don’t realistically see this happening in this country, but I do think that it would help the current situation.
What do you think? Would you support a proposal like this?