Should States Get Out of the Marriage Business?

The case for allowing both gays and straights to have civil unions

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The California Supreme Court stopped same sex couples from calling themselves married, even though they can have the same rights. But what if society decided that "marriage" is just a word? Conservative law professor Douglas Kmiec is proposing that government get out of the business of marriage altogether and allow gay and straights to have civil unions.

For more, read Douglas Kmiec's article, Equality in substance and in name, in the SF Gate.


Professor Douglas Kmiec

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Farai Chideya


Jim Colgan

Comments [2]

Dan S.

If people want to rename marriage 'civil unions', fair enough, but this doesn't really get government out of the marriage business any more than renaming taxes 'public funds' gets government out of the taxation business.

Even if marriage licenses were abolished and replaced with civil unions as some have suggested, I suspect most of the voices so loudly engaged in the gay marriage standoff would quickly re-direct their energies to the laws governing civil unions.

Just because the word marriage (a perfectly good and practical concept, even for non-religious folk) has become associated with right-wing politicking does not mean government recognition for lifelong partners (gay or straight) is a bad idea.

Judging by the eagerness of gays and lesbians to obtain the government's validation and not merely sign a private contract, maybe there is something special about marriage licenses after all.

Jul. 24 2009 09:30 PM
Michael Sheehan

I have long held that the State should get out of the marriage business altogether if it failed to include everyone. Lately, I have been thinking that instead, the State should refuse to recognize religious ceremonies as marriages unless subsequently performed by a magistrate or other secular official. Let the religionists keep their sacramental "marriage" but if We the People want to officially recognize the institution of marriage (and its subsequent rights and privledges), then let's only recognize civil marriages. Let the clergy officiate their own ceremonies, but let NO marriage be recognized without a civil officiant.

May. 27 2009 02:36 PM

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