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The Rite or Right of Marriage

By Joel Matthews

The political question of the season, thanks to President Obama, has become, “How do you define Marriage?” There is an expectation of one of two answers. I submit that it must first be qualified with whether you want a personal religious definition or a secular definition. Second I submit that it is entirely the wrong question in the political arena.

For thousands of years the coupling or bonding of a man and woman was marked by a rite or ritual or ceremony within a tribe, community, or society of people. These rites marked the right of the couple to form a family unit, but very little else other than the recognition of that status among those peoples. Today the secular marriage in the United States bestows, depending on your state of residence, between 1000 and 1700 rights, privileges and responsibilities upon the couple that are not given to any other couples not possessing that piece of paper.

The religious rite of marriage still bestows what it always has throughout history, the recognition of your fellow members to form a family unit. Anyone, anywhere can perform a rite or ritual of commitment, but only The State may associate rights, privileges and responsibilities in association with a declaration of marriage. Same sex couples are not asking for the Rite of Marriage, they are asking for the Rights of Marriage. So when a lawmaker or potential lawmaker states that they define marriage as between a man and a woman, that is fine, it is their right to their personal feelings. But when they want to make it the law of the state, then the question should be exactly which rights, privileges and responsibilities do they believe same sex couples are not entitled to. I also find it interesting, and this is my personal observation, that the political factions pushing this agenda are also the ones pushing for smaller government and less intrusion in our personal lives. I guess, that is, unless they are the intruder.

 

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