Tuesday, June 13, 2006

The almost-commentofthemonth -- The Government and Marriage

Here's the post with the comment, if you're interested.

It gets the almost-comment-of-the-month because the poster is anon. Come up with a psudonym if you would like, then you can win.

Anyway, to the topic at hand:

When I got married, I had to go to the county offices and fill out a GOVERNMENT application.

#1: Local governemnt has always had contol over marriages, a fact conservatives used to embrace. #2. The hope is to get government even further out of marriage.

OK, this next one, my comments are going to [look like this].

They asked me questions like how old I was (the government won't let me get married if I'm not a certain age!) [16 in Utah, 14 in many other states], whether I was already married (the government won't let me get married if I'm currently married to someone else!) [and why not?], whether I was the opposite gender of the person I intended to marry (in the state where I got married, they wouldn't allow it if we were the same gender!), whether I was related to the person I intended to marry (they would have stopped me had we been brother and sister, or even first cousins!) [second cousins can't marry either, unless they are like 50. Oh, and it's nice to know you don't live in West Virginia]

A government official had to sign my marriage license, and I had to take it to the LDS temple and have the sealer sign the government document in his capacity as a government official.

No, the temple official signed it as a religious official, who has been given athority by the local governemnt to perform marriages. Under current rules, individual churches can decide who can and who cannot marry.

For instance, I have a minister's licence in the state of Minnesota. Whith that licence, I can legally perform marriages in Minnesota. However, the Church has not given me the authority to perform the marriage, so I cannot perform the marriage in the eyes of the Church. For that reason, I would be unable to perform a marriage legally in Utah.



Anonymous said...

Thanks for the award, but I can't tell if you're trying to dispute my argument or not. I think you are, but perhaps I didn't quite make my point clear.

I argued that Ashdown's statement that "governmental involvement in marriage doesn’t rest easy with me" and that passing the marriage amendment will allow government to "[go] further in defining marriage" is disingenuous because the government is already deeply involved in marriage, including in its definition.

As I pointed out and you confirmed with more specific facts, government has long defined marriage according to age, monogamy, relation, and gender. We can quibble about whether a temple sealer is signing in his capacity as a religious official or a government official, but the point is that the government needs and accepts his signature as an official present at the marriage(an ominous point made by Ashdown). Without his signature, there's no legal marriage.

You add that LOCAL government has always had the control over marriage, and that's true. I'd accept that as a plausible argument against the marriage amendment. But that's not the argument Ashdown makes. He's apparently against ANY government involvement in marriage. That's what I think is so silly.

Bob said...

As you mentioned in the origional comment, marriage has been around longer than government has.

And marriage seemed to fair pretty well back then without government control.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, marriage was around before government was, and we Mormons believe that it'll be around long after governments are gone. That's fine if you want to espouse the position that we should abolish all government involvement in marriage, but that's a very different thing than opposing the marriage amendment.