Thursday, January 31, 2008

Isn't it a marriage, even if it isn't legal?

Serious question, there. Because I quite possibly am missing out on a bit of vital information, perhaps some that would mean my butt would be thrown in jail.

My contention is that marriage is a religious sacrament, regardless of whether it is legally sanctioned or not. A baptism is a religious sacrament, and it's not legal. (Yes, I know that baptism certificates can be used to prove citizenship or age -- but that doesn't mean the baptism itself is a legal action.)

So ... wherefore "commitment ceremony"?

This came about because someone talked about performing marriage ceremonies "or commitment ceremonies" and I felt that hey, I wouldn't be doing commitment ceremonies, I would be doing marriages. Gay or straight. It's a marriage. A religious covenant between two people. (And I'm not referring to signing a government wedding certificate.)

So tell me the crucial information I'm missing.


ms. kitty said...

In my opinion, LE, you're not missing a thing. It's marriage, whether there's a license or not. It's a sacrament bestowed by two lives, on two lives, and in my opinion, it's inarguable.

Rev. Ricky said...

It's a marriage. I'm married. I never understood the "commitment ceremony" language either. The state can make laws but they can't control language. He's my husband. We're married.

Bill Baar said...

We allow Government to define marriage. We allow government to discriminate who can marry. For that matter clergy can, do, and should discriminate about who they will marry.

If you don't like the idea of government defining marriage, than it's best to get them out of the licensing business and let people sign contracts, go to churches, and simply define marriage for themselves.

It's the point UU's totally lose with our Marriage Equality frame... it doesn't get past the reality of gov licensing (discriminating) who marries.

Lunasea said...

Yeah, I agree with Bill. As it stands now, the government defines marriage, not churches. That's why a union that the government doesn't legally recognize is called a commitment ceremony, not a marriage.

Marriage, if you take out the government, IS a commitment, and a wedding IS a commitment ceremony.

Many of us want marriage to be a religious sacrament, thus, the government shouldn't be involved at all. Can you imagine the gov't regulating who can recieve communion at a Catholic Church? Psssh.

Lunasea said...

I should've said - the ceremony uniting a couple that the gov't says can't be married is called a commitment ceremony, not a wedding or marriage ceremony. Y'know - the UNION isn't called a commitment ceremony, for goodness sakes.

Should've spelled "receive" correctly, too.

Anna Banana said...

I wonder why this idea hasn't caught on: civil unions for all (to define our legal status) and religious marriages for those who want them.

Earthbound Spirit said...

I believe there are places in this world where couples do register their legal status with a government agency - and have a separate religious wedding if they wish. France? The Netherlands? Not sure.

My opinion: The commitment, the marriage, is between two people, whatever their gender(s). The wedding is the public declaration & celebration of their marriage. "Civil union" is registering a relationship with the state.

As far as I'm concerned, any two adults should be able to register a civil union. Whether or not a faith tradition goes along with that is not the state's business.

Comrade Kevin said...

It's semantics, pure and simple.

Removing government from the process, one wonders, would face what sort of opposition and from whom and how?

Nancy said...

Oregon just made "domestic partnerships" legal. Although that is a step in the right direction, I feel weird about it because gay marriage was just voted down here. One step forward, two steps back, I guess.