End All Marriages?

By: Gay.com
3.18.2009

A pair of law professors from Pepperdine University offered a unique solution to the marriage equality debate raging in California and other states…end marriage all together. Or to be more precise, end the role that government plays in marriage.

In an editorial published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Douglas W. Kmiec and Shelley Ross Saxer argue that all couples, gay and straight, could be issued the same license by the state. This license would carry the name “civil union” or some other name the state chooses, something other than the word “marriage”. Each couple could then get their union blessed by whatever religion they wanted, in whatever way they wanted. Equal rights would be granted to all licensed unions, while the religious sanctity of traditional marriage would remain.

The idea surfaced at recent oral arguments before the California Supreme Court when Justice Ming Chin asked each set of attorneys if such a solution would truly resolve the legal issues connected to gay marriage. Both sides, even Kenneth Starr who argued for Prop 8, agreed it would settle the issue of equal protection under the law. The opposition, attorney Michael Maroko added, "If you're in the marriage business, do it equally. And if you're not going to do it equally, get out of the business."

The professors also pointed to the fact that all other precious religious milestones steeped in centuries of tradition, such as baptisms, occur without any involvement by the government. One outstanding question is how would the gay community react to a solution that removes the option of “marriage” from the table.

What do you think about this option for solving the marriage equality debate and how do you think the issue will ultimately be decided?

(Photo: Getty Images)

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