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That Marriage dilemna...


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#1
dark4181

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Seems to me that everyone is looking at the debate encompassing {censored} rights, the definition of marriage and civil union in a rather backwards way. Here's a thought I've been having lately:

Marriage began hundreds of years ago as a religious institution, a Covenant with couple's God. (denomination non-withstanding.) Now, since our government wants to have it's fingers in everybody's pockets, it has co-opted Marriage as a legal institution. Government declares who can get married, and so now everyone is pissed off. Here is my solution:

Strip all legalese from Marriage. Return it to the purview of Religion. If you're able to find a church in your denomination that will consecrate your union, then go for it. Let government keep its fingers out of our affairs. For legitimate legal purposes, such as taxes and census taking, stick EVERYONE under the Civil Union banner. Straight, {censored}, bi, mono, poly, theists, atheists; let everyone fall under the same rules, and leave Marriage to Religion. Let Civil Union cover everything in the legal arena.

There, now everyone is happy. Discuss, and please keep it civilized. :D

~B-Mac

#2
booger_sniffer5000

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Seems to me that everyone is looking at the debate encompassing {censored} rights, the definition of marriage and civil union in a rather backwards way. Here's a thought I've been having lately:

Marriage began hundreds of years ago as a religious institution, a Covenant with couple's God. (denomination non-withstanding.) Now, since our government wants to have it's fingers in everybody's pockets, it has co-opted Marriage as a legal institution. Government declares who can get married, and so now everyone is pissed off. Here is my solution:

Strip all legalese from Marriage. Return it to the purview of Religion. If you're able to find a church in your denomination that will consecrate your union, then go for it. Let government keep its fingers out of our affairs. For legitimate legal purposes, such as taxes and census taking, stick EVERYONE under the Civil Union banner. Straight, {censored}, bi, mono, poly, theists, atheists; let everyone fall under the same rules, and leave Marriage to Religion. Let Civil Union cover everything in the legal arena.

There, now everyone is happy. Discuss, and please keep it civilized. :)

~B-Mac

Agreed.

#3
Descalzo

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Seems to me that everyone is looking at the debate encompassing {censored} rights, the definition of marriage and civil union in a rather backwards way. Here's a thought I've been having lately:

Marriage began hundreds of years ago as a religious institution, a Covenant with couple's God. (denomination non-withstanding.) Now, since our government wants to have it's fingers in everybody's pockets, it has co-opted Marriage as a legal institution. Government declares who can get married, and so now everyone is pissed off. Here is my solution:

Strip all legalese from Marriage. Return it to the purview of Religion. If you're able to find a church in your denomination that will consecrate your union, then go for it. Let government keep its fingers out of our affairs. For legitimate legal purposes, such as taxes and census taking, stick EVERYONE under the Civil Union banner. Straight, {censored}, bi, mono, poly, theists, atheists; let everyone fall under the same rules, and leave Marriage to Religion. Let Civil Union cover everything in the legal arena.

There, now everyone is happy. Discuss, and please keep it civilized. :(

~B-Mac

Well, civil marriage was created by the state. If you're suggesting that the state get out of the marriage business altogether, then I think that's a very defensible position. Although it's one I can't bring myself to agree with.

However, if you're going to get the government out of the marriage business, then how come they should be in the Civil Union business?

#4
dark4181

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Well, civil marriage was created by the state. If you're suggesting that the state get out of the marriage business altogether, then I think that's a very defensible position. Although it's one I can't bring myself to agree with.

However, if you're going to get the government out of the marriage business, then how come they should be in the Civil Union business?


Everything you asked here is answered in my first post

#5
MGJulius

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Well, civil marriage was created by the state. If you're suggesting that the state get out of the marriage business altogether, then I think that's a very defensible position. Although it's one I can't bring myself to agree with.

However, if you're going to get the government out of the marriage business, then how come they should be in the Civil Union business?


Hospital Visits, Taxes, Healthcare, Insurance

@dark4181: Your ideals are sound, but I do not see a way of implementing it

#6
ChristianMiller

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However, if you're going to get the government out of the marriage business, then how come they should be in the Civil Union business?


A GRACEFUL SOLUTION: GET GOVERNMENTS OUT OF THE MARRIAGE AND CIVIL UNION BUSINESS
.
The real issue is to determine what the law should be. A first step is to question the
roles of the Federal, State and Local governments in marriage/civil unions. My contention is that when one strips away the emotional and the irrelevant issues and holds to principles of the separation of church and state and fairness, then there is no benefit to society for government involvement in marriage or civil unions at all. Presently, all unmarried people in general are denied the special government privileges of marriage, not just {censored} and lesbians.

Once government and its subsidies for marriage are withdrawn or made available to single people, then churches, organizations and individuals can deal with couples coming together, living together, raising families and doing what people have done forever. Couples are free to determine their relationships and characterize it with any words they choose.

In this way, there is no Prop 8, no marriage laws; no "Healthy Marriage Initiative"; no government marriage licenses; no civil unions; no exclusive Federal subsidies or financial incentives to married people.

The conservatives should welcome the reduction of government and getting government out of our intimate personal lives; the Christian Right should welcome that the church now has authority over the marriage of its members and rather than the government; the 100 million single people should applaud at no longer having to pay for benefits exclusively going to married people; {censored} will have finally have achieved true equality; the liberals and progressives should welcome the justice of the situation; and libertarians will rejoice at a small move in the direction of "live and let live." Everyone should be satisfied except those who relish the fight itself.

The problem is framing the issue. Proposition 8 was not about {censored} marriage, it was about government's definition of marriage. Government's role in marriage is actually very limited and very different than our idealized concept of marriage. In our idealized concept of marriage we imagine two people in love, committed to each other, living together, having a family, living happily ever after. A government marriage license/certificate has nothing to do with these images. The government has no tests, no requirements for affirmation of love. The couple need only be of age and different sex (in most states). Nothing else. Its complete universality makes it a hollow document. Its only value is as a voucher to get exclusive government benefits. Benefits subsidized by single people.

Current Government Roles
Local Government: Issues marriage licenses; conducts civil ceremonies; registers the marriage; authorizes people to conduct marriage ceremonies.

State Government: Determines the regulations surrounding marriage

Federal Government: Pays benefits and subsidies to married people; establishes social programs such as the "Healthy Marriage Initiative" granting visas to spouses of citizens. etc. The main benefits are military housing allowances; joint tax filing; Social Security payments to spouses; and spousal exemption from inheritance tax. These financial benefits can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars over a couple's lifetime.

Proposed Reasons for Government Involvement and Counter Arguments

1. Prevent incest
Government denial of marriage licenses is not going to stop incest.
2. Prevent spread of disease
People are going to have sex, with or without government's approval
3. Promote loving committed relationships
It is unimaginable that any government is going to influence people to be loving.
There is no way the government can have a "love and commitment" test as a condition of issuing a marriage license. In fact there is no marriage license requirement for a couple to say they intend to like each other. A marriage license is only a voucher to get more benefits than single people.
4. Promote a healthy family environment for children
I submit that it is wishful thinking to believe that any government is going influence the family environment or reform deadbeat fathers.
5. Encourage people to have children
Women are going to get pregnant without help from the government
6. Prevent gayness from spreading
The government is not going to influence sexual preference
7. Protect women
Mothers and expecting mothers may need special help, but not married women in general.
8. Prevent Polygamy
The government is not going to prevent folks from having multiple partners.
9. Prevent underage people from having sex
A adult having sex with an underage person is illegal.
10. Provide a way for couples to feel married who do not want to get married in a church.
There can be organizations dedicated to serving this desire, but it should not be the concern of government.
11. Right not to testify against a spouse
Each citizen, married or not, should have the right to designate one person that is exempt from having to testify about that citizen.
12. Spousal hospital visitation rights
Each citizen, married or not, should have the right to designate one person who has visitation rights in the event the citizen is not able to communicate.
13. Regulating the combining of a couple's finances
Can be accomplished by contract under existing civil law. The document can be called anything: A "Nuptial Agreement" if the couple desires.
14. Establishing state laws regarding community property
The community property issue would be determined by contract.
15. Prevent sin
Separation of church and state. Sin definition and prevention is not an appropriate function of government.
16. Married people need more financial help than single people.
There are plenty of rich married people and poor single people.
17. It is unfair for the government not to allow {censored} to marry.
This would not be an issue if the government withdrew from the marriage business.
The argument about fairness is weak. It makes it appear that {censored} want on the government gravy train now, but do not want single people on that same gravy train. Single people are paying for these financial benefits through higher taxes. Hardly fair.

#7
Descalzo

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For legitimate legal purposes, such as taxes and census taking, stick EVERYONE under the Civil Union banner.

This doesn't say why the government should be in the Civil Union business, it simply begs the question of why the government should be in the recording and benefiting Civil Union business.

ChristianMiller, great post.

But I have some issues:

13. Regulating the combining of a couple's finances
Can be accomplished by contract under existing civil law. The document can be called anything: A "Nuptial Agreement" if the couple desires.

Isn't this a Civil Union?

4. Promote a healthy family environment for children
I submit that it is wishful thinking to believe that any government is going influence the family environment or reform deadbeat fathers.
5. Encourage people to have children
Women are going to get pregnant without help from the government

It is indeed wishful thinking to believe that any government will reform deadbeat fathers or prevent (or encourage) pregnancy. If I understand the history of marriage in the USA correctly, then part of this is that children raised by their parents constitute a very clear benefit to society. As such it is a behavior that is to be encouraged. Maybe it is the government's job to encourage it. At least that's the history and rationale behind it. One that I find myself agreeing with.

#8
ChristianMiller

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Decalzo, Good point about the Nuptial Agreement/Civil Union. I should have made a distinction. A Civil Union requires a license from the state. The state bestows certain legal benefits by means of the Civil Union. The Nuptial Agreement that I suggest would only be an agreement between the two parties like a prenuptial agreement. There would be no government involvement unless there is a disagreement that ends up in court as a civil suit. Or consider a will. It is a document that is created by an individual. The government only gets involved if the will is contested

Regarding the history of state and federal government involvement in the US, it seems to have grown like Topsy. The laws were more motivated to protect women.

Even if it is true (and I believe that it is) that children raised by their parents constitute a very clear benefit to society, I do not believe that government should be involved. The government is not very good at this kind of thing and is capable of making matters worse. I happen to believe strongly in the Boy Scout Law: Trustworthy, Loyal, Helpful, FriendlyReverent. These moral values are a clear benefit to society, but are better promoted by our community, culture, individuals, private organizations and churches rather than the government.

#9
aduffbrew

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Maybe it is the government's job to encourage it.

I second that! Excellent post by ChristianMiller. It is very informative and thought-provoking... as is the response. I found this line especially provocative.

I'm always quick to call on government to extricate itself from my life, however, I'm seemingly all for government "encouragement" when my interests are served. Hmmm... What IS the role of government? What do I WANT from it? What do I NEED from it? Are my wants and needs compatible with my neighbor's? Who's get precedence? And why?

The Founding Fathers opted for minimalism when crafting the Constitution. This was done for a reason. It left it nimble enough to remain relevant all these many years after its ratification. I would like to think that every law on the books today was, at least in part, motivated by good intention. However, the more more we legislate, the more we regulate, and the more we integrate, the more difficult it becomes to reflect all our varied needs and wants. I am certainly not arguing for anarchy. We need to legislate, regulate and integrate... this is the foundation of civil society... but to what degree? What's the optimum? I fear we have gone unnecessarily overboard in many areas regardless of our intentions. Should government really become our "catch-all?" What role do individuals and communities play in the moral fabric of society?

Should we have been placed in this dilemma in the first place? Is this really something requiring government oversight? Thinking of Lady Justice, is she truly blind or are we forcing her to set aside her impartiality for sake of "encouragement?"

We might need to rethink the institutionalization of marriage and the insistence on requiring legislative sanction and achieving public consensus over so personal an issue. There are tangible civil liberties in play here that could, perhaps, be better addressed more broadly.

Thank you all for giving us much to think about.

#10
FreakyMac

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Seems to me that everyone is looking at the debate encompassing {censored} rights, the definition of marriage and civil union in a rather backwards way. Here's a thought I've been having lately:

Marriage began hundreds of years ago as a religious institution, a Covenant with couple's God. (denomination non-withstanding.) Now, since our government wants to have it's fingers in everybody's pockets, it has co-opted Marriage as a legal institution. Government declares who can get married, and so now everyone is pissed off. Here is my solution:

Strip all legalese from Marriage. Return it to the purview of Religion. If you're able to find a church in your denomination that will consecrate your union, then go for it. Let government keep its fingers out of our affairs. For legitimate legal purposes, such as taxes and census taking, stick EVERYONE under the Civil Union banner. Straight, {censored}, bi, mono, poly, theists, atheists; let everyone fall under the same rules, and leave Marriage to Religion. Let Civil Union cover everything in the legal arena.

There, now everyone is happy. Discuss, and please keep it civilized. ;)

~B-Mac


I agree with you.

#11
.ShadowFox

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{censored} marriage should be completely legal in all states.
So two people with the same sex want a relationship to be holy. What's wrong with that? Absolutely nothing.

#12
dark4181

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You're missing the point of the thread Fox.. IMO, government should have NOTHING to do with marriage, straight OR {censored}

#13
.ShadowFox

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You're missing the point of the thread Fox.. IMO, government should have NOTHING to do with marriage, straight OR {censored}

I probably did miss the point.
Don't care lol
Just wanted to get my word out. So I didn't sound like a zealot.

#14
Generic George

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I believe there is a very strong argument to be made that marriage has traditionally been far more about property rights and inheritance, than any religious aspect. The religious aspect, like many things we think of as "Traditional" I suspect has it's roots in the Victorian Era.

There's a reason why women have been referred to as "property" in the past. Also why we have had things like dowry and arranged marriages. I also don't think it's any accident that through out history, marriages among the nobility and kings have always had a strong tendency to be political affairs, rather than those of the heart. Given that marriages among them had a major effect on who would wind up with what property.

The reason why states should be involved is that property rights and their implementation are one of the primary functions of having a state.

#15
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I believe there is a very strong argument to be made that marriage has traditionally been far more about property rights and inheritance, than any religious aspect. The religious aspect, like many things we think of as "Traditional" I suspect has it's roots in the Victorian Era.

I don't think so. I think that if you look at every culture in every nation, every Indian tribe, every Pacific island, you'll find that marriage has not been all about property rights and inheritance, though those have been important. I don't know about how that compares with the religious aspect, but then for so long (and still!) many cultures still see everything through a religious lens. Take the Navajo, for example. Their idea of property rights, etc. are very different from our own, but they have been marrying this way for, well for as long as they've been a people. There is no way this has its roots in the Victorian Era.

HOWEVER! If you mean Civil Marriage in the USA and its history in Western civilization, then okay. :D

#16
A Nonny Moose

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17. It is unfair for the government not to allow {censored} to marry.
• The argument about fairness is weak. It makes it appear that {censored} want on the government gravy train now, but do not want single people on that same gravy train. Single people are paying for these financial benefits through higher taxes. Hardly fair.


Except...it's technically denying liberty without due process of law (darn 14th Amendment).

If one of the two {censored} people dies, then you're denying property via the lack of spousal rights through the denial of liberty. Do you NOT THINK some idiot family member will sue to get possession of something to make a quick buck, even though {censored} person #1 says in his will that his/her partner gets the property?

#17
HBP112358

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The Founding Fathers opted for minimalism when crafting the Constitution. This was done for a reason. It left it nimble enough to remain relevant all these many years after its ratification. I would like to think that every law on the books today was, at least in part, motivated by good intention. However, the more more we legislate, the more we regulate, and the more we integrate, the more difficult it becomes to reflect all our varied needs and wants. I am certainly not arguing for anarchy. We need to legislate, regulate and integrate... this is the foundation of civil society... but to what degree? What's the optimum? I fear we have gone unnecessarily overboard in many areas regardless of our intentions. Should government really become our "catch-all?" What role do individuals and communities play in the moral fabric of society?

Should we have been placed in this dilemma in the first place? Is this really something requiring government oversight? Thinking of Lady Justice, is she truly blind or are we forcing her to set aside her impartiality for sake of "encouragement?"

We might need to rethink the institutionalization of marriage and the insistence on requiring legislative sanction and achieving public consensus over so personal an issue. There are tangible civil liberties in play here that could, perhaps, be better addressed more broadly.

Thank you all for giving us much to think about.


I Agree, however, I feel that the entire legal system should be required to go through a Validation check every 25 years or so. and the Laws/Statutes that are no longer valid or do not make since removed and purged.

case in point:
Taken from (http://www.geocities...cture_Ch_2.html)
The city council in Chico, California has two pages of ordinances for use of nuclear weapons within city limits. The law states, “No person shall produce, test, maintain, or store within the city a nuclear weapon…” The city attorney will file charges with the appropriate court for violations of this law (Chico Municipal Code). This is a national security issue and domain of the federal government. If someone detonated a nuclear weapon within city limits, the city would no longer be there.

but it proves that just because you can put it into law doesn't mean it should be in law, or that it benefits ANY one.

as for the Marriage is Holy, or Same sex, should have the same rights... well my thought on the mater are from a Twisted and mental point of view.

IMHO: {Background} what ANY couple does in public is public. what you do behind your Doors, walls, inside your houses... (you get the point) is your own business. and at the point you FORCE that information on the public it becomes the public's discretion as to accept it or not. Views change overtime, however, what is appropriate in public has been the same for a very long time, think public nudity laws.

let us not forget that our views are our own, and what we choose to inflict on others will reflect back to us. having been married for 5 years, I have YET to See any of this Great Tax stuff from the Feds. no kids = no money from the feds... but that turns it back to are you single or married, Guess what, if your single and have Kids you get money from the Fed, if your married and have kids you get money from the Fed, if your {censored} you are not permitted to Adopt, so you can't get money from the Fed. the issue isn't can I get married, it's how can I get the money from the Fed.

:( but then, I have always had a twisted view of things, having lived with a CPA

#18
aduffbrew

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Guess what, if your single and have Kids you get money from the Fed, if your married and have kids you get money from the Fed, if your {censored} you are not permitted to Adopt, so you can't get money from the Fed. the issue isn't can I get married, it's how can I get the money from the Fed.

Well, I have heard this argued but not by those pressing for the expansion of marriage rights. It really boils down to equal protection under the law as outlined by the constitution. {censored} people are forming families, whether they are allowed to marry or register as a civil union. They own homes together, raise children together, work to better their lives and the lives of their loved ones. While it does vary from state to state and some locations do a better job than others, these familiar units are rarely protected equally like their heterosexual counterparts. Inheritance rights, child custody, property rights, and taxation to name just a few are of real concern. They aren't asking for special rights. They are only asking for the rights extended to their heterosexual counterparts.

I'll be honest, I'm not always comfortable with {censored} public displays of affection... other times, I have no problem with it at all. I'm a warm blooded American male, what can I say? But at least I have the sense to know that when I have a problem, it's MY problem not theirs. If a man and a woman can hold hands and exchange an affectionate kiss on the sidewalk, why am I allowed to say two men or two women shouldn't be afforded the same right? I have a strong moral ethic as I think most people do. I want the freedom to live my life accordingly. I also want the freedom to teach my children my values. Allowing others to do the same does not diminish my ability to do so. Allowing choice does not prevent me from doing so. Unless we want a closed and intolerant society where free thinkers and doers are punished for being different, I really don't see we have any alternative. Do you?

The Constitution protects the individual from the majority... not the other way around. Think about it. "Majority rules" is a gross mischaracterization of how our society was set up. "Law rules" or better said, "the rule of law" is what it's all about. It's how we get to all that "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness" stuff. If we insist on disenfranchising those we don't agree with for no other reason than we don't agree with them even though their actions in no way tread on our own rights, well, we've just taken the first step down a very dark road where our very survival as a democratic society is in peril.

And may I just say here that the argument that homosexuals have the right to marry someone of the opposite sex just like everyone else is an insult to reason and logic. Um, it only works if you're a heterosexual now doesn't it?

I honestly believe the vast majority of those who resist this tide of social evolution are good people but that they have been misinformed. Having carefully reviewed the arguments brought up in the Proposition 8 campaign in California, all I can say is what a travesty. The twisting of truth to win the hearts and minds of the voting public was absolutely obscene. And I really say that with full confidence. You can go down the list point by point and see where facts that would have clarified the situation were intentionally omitted just so they could feed fear and uncertainty.

We really need to be guided by democratic principle and not the emotional or spiritual predilections of a vocal few. Call it libertarianism or constitutionalism, it does work. As we have burdened our system of government with ever increasing special interests, we can all see its effects. Instead of trying to legislate a moral consensus, we should return to the principles of individual freedom and personal responsibility that made us great.

Anyway, I'll step down from my soap box. Sorry to run on and on like that. :thumbsup_anim:

#19
Generic George

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Actually, there's a big issue with {censored} marriage or same sex marriage. If we focus on God's words, this is not permissible. However, if we base our decision to our present law, every individual have the rights to make a decision for himself/herself. So the main question is which law should we follow? Law of God or Law of man?


There's a good reason why all the developed democracies are essentially secular states. There's nothing more corrupting to a religion than secular power. Just look at the Mullahs in Iran or the Vatican back when it was a state in it's own right.

If someone really feels that same sex marriage is against their religion, they don't have to get into a same sex marriage, but they shouldn't have the right to prevent others from doing so.

IMHO, if you can't substitute "Black" for {censored}, without sounding like a horrible racist with this sort of question, you don't really have a leg to stand on.

#20
aduffbrew

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Actually, there's a big issue with {censored} marriage or same sex marriage. If we focus on God's words, this is not permissible. However, if we base our decision to our present law, every individual have the rights to make a decision for himself/herself. So the main question is which law should we follow? Law of God or Law of man?

Not permissible? Um... my God is fine with {censored} marriage. So who's God are we going to exalt to state endorsed status? I am a man of faith, so were the Founding Fathers, as are many MANY Americans. A secular democracy grants all of us the freedom to conduct our lives in a manner most befitting our own personal beliefs and prevents the beliefs of others from being foisted on us.

I am deeply alarmed by fundamentalism in any form. Throughout all recorded history, theocracies have been a cataclysmic disaster. They are unquestionably incompatible with and contrary to a democratic system of government. How any American can ask the question "Law of God or Law of man?" is beyond stunning. During the great Constitutional debates of the 1770's and 1780's, foreign visitors and dignitaries marveled at the level of understanding even the most common man had concerning the new democratic principles being worked out. Now, it seems, most Americans are content with reasoning out on their own what's in that document and why it's there without ever having read it. Instead, we bicker and argue over some nitwit idea that if you permit another the freedom to exercise their right you some how endorse their choice. We once enshrined the rights of the individual but now we seem content to worship the majority.

If we are incapable of unplugging from pop-culture long enough to educate ourselves, perhaps we have already abandoned those principles that made us great. If so, we are destined to reminisce our glory and contemplate our folly long after there is nothing left worthy of survival. This issue is so much greater than the right of any two people to marry and be guaranteed the same rights as a couple and household. It speaks to the very core of our existence. If our great American Experiment is to have continued relevance in our modern age, we need to develop a much broader perspective.





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