I can think of few topics more tiresome and stupid to talk about, however, since it never seems to go away I occasionally feel compelled. For no good reason, today is one of those days.
I’m a catholic and while, like any good catholic, I disagree on some matters with my church, this isn’t one of those matters. The church does not sanction gay marriage nor divorce. I’ll use divorce to illustrate why this is such a tiresome topic for me (it’s really the same religious issue when boiled down, you’ll see why).
Two people get married in a catholic church. Prior to this, they apply and receive a marriage license from (insert governmental authority here). A priest is only one of many officials entitled to marry people, others include judges, sea captains, notaries, ministers, etc, etc. Later they decide to get divorced because… who knows, they are idiots and got married at 18, it doesn’t matter. They get divorced.
Or do they?
The question is two fold. They do not typically apply to the church for a divorce, because the church does not sanction divorce, they apply to the courts and so the court divorces them. In fact the court only changes the civil side of the contract. In the eyes of the church the two remain wed and neither could get married in the church again without first obtaining an annulment. Either of the two may get married the next day by a judge or notary or whomever, but not in the catholic church.
This is where the two things, gay marriage and divorce come to a head. When people get married by a church they actually undertake two contracts, one in the eyes of the state and another in the eyes of the church concerned. So in essence the issue becomes not one of church and state but one of an individuals desire.
If gays wish to get married I don’t give a shit, I’m tired of hearing about it. If the state is not compelling churches to marry people against their will than it is not a question of church and state, but one of state policy alone. The situation becomes muddled because originally in the west marriage was a recognition of a religious custom not an official act of state. Today the two are completely separate, two contracts done at the same time if ratified by a church. One single contract if officiated by a state official.
The question isn’t and never has been one of church and state.
Let the government do what it will and let private institutions define marriage as they wish, whether it’s a catholic hospital or if its a private low income housing development they should be able to recognize one or both types of contracts when determining one’s spouse, but the state should recognize only one, the marriage that requires a license, not the one in the eyes of a church that requires a priest (or what have you).
(really the state should get out of the business entirely but that’s a separate subject. I fail to see why the state should be involved at any level in sanctioning contracts such as this, and vote against gay marriage proposals on these grounds, not religious ones.)