A simple solution

I propose a simple and sensible solution to end the conflict over gay marriage. The government should get out of the marriage business. Period.

Government clearly may, if it wishes, grant exactly the same special legal rights and privileges to any specific type of union between two persons, whether this couple comprises two men, two women, or a man and a woman, but such a union should not be labeled a marriage. All the legislature would have to do is to pass a single law replacing the word “marriage” in all previous laws with another term more appropriate for describing a legal contract. This way all couples would be treated equally under the law.

A marriage, however, represents, in essence, a deeply and exclusively personal relationship, and so a matter the government should leave alone.

If two persons wish to proclaim their undying love for each other, then let them find a way to marry outside the government. If they are religious, then they can be married in a religious ceremony. If not, then either they can create their own unique marriage ceremony, or they can find a conventional secular ceremony. They also can make their ceremony as public or as private as they wish. What such marriage ceremonies do not accomplish is to grant legal rights. Instead, they, importantly, announce to whoever listens that two persons wish to notify an audience that they love each other in a way different from the way they love other all other persons in their lives.

This proposal offers three options. One, a couple can enter only into a government-sponsored legal contract of some kind and not marry; two, they can participate only in a private religious or secular marriage ceremony; or, three, they can do both.

To end a government-sponsored legal contract, the couple would be required to go to a civil court. To end a private marriage, they either could follow the ordinances of a given religion, they could design or find a secular divorce ceremony, or they could simply ignore each other.

The moral aspects of such marriages and government-sponsored legal contracts represent a whole other area of discussion.

My proposal is designed to satisfy both those who disapprove of gay marriage and those who approve and also seek equal legal rights for gay couples.

Douglas Campbell

Lock Haven

Submitted by Virtual Newsroom