James R. Bracy
What would be just laws governing marriage and divorce?
For the past few decades the US has been been addressing the issue of what marriage is. Some states recognize same-sex marriages, others do not. Why is the state involved in such a decision though? What does it matter what the state thinks? When a couple get married is it for the purpose of the state? Are they thankful to the government for creating a union?
The marriage is done voluntarily, a couple choose to associate with each other. If state sanctioned marriage did not exists, would marriage still happen? The answer is obviously yes, marriage existed before any state existed. Governments come and go, the idea of marriage has remained.
What of arranged marriages though? Ultimately the decision still comes down to the couple involved. There can be a great amount of family and social pressure on this marriage. At this point it is up to the couple about what is more important, is it their not wanting to be married, or is it the reputation in their family and society?
Arranged marriages also bring up the question of what is the purpose of marriage? Does the purpose differ depending on which culture you are a part of? I doubt that anyone will every marry for the same purpose. Even in just the US, the purpose of the marriage is determined by those involved. Each marriage is unique and has different goals.
So what purpose does the state have in regulating marriage? None. Unless the rights of someone are abused, marriage deals with voluntary personal relations. Why does the government need to regulate your relationships?
Many religions have laws around marriage. If a religion recognizes marriage as only between one man and women, what does it matter to the person who is in a same-sex marriage. These are different views, everyone is entitled to have their own views on the subject. To not have your own view would mean you are not human.
An issue arrises with the governmental regulation of marriage. If the government were to recognize polygamy does this mean that the government is representing its view as truth the its subjects? What if some do not hold this view, but yet it is law? It seems that this is equivalent with attempting to force a specific view on the people, and would ultimately be followed by some form of censorship. The government does not look kindly on those who object.
This subject obviously requires more thought and is not a simple as some think. But instead of asking “should the state allow same-sex marriages,” we should begin by asking “what role does the state have in regulating marriage?”