Do any of these polls have a "no government marriage at all" option?
No, although there were 5-9% that answered "Don't Know/Not Applicable" to each of the questions. Theoretically, people could have answered that to indicate no government marriage.
I still think the federal government should have absolutely no comtrol over marraige in any state.
For those of you who favor "no government marriage at all," can you explain your reasoning? I'm genuinely curious.
I personally think that government marriage and religious marriage should be completely uncoupled and that government marriage should be expanded to include gay marriage and polyamorous marriage (and any other marriage between consenting adults that I haven't thought of if it isn't encompassed by those two). But I haven't reasoned through as far as abolishing government marriage altogether.
I think you need some sort of government "shorthand" for what marriage is today, all 700 or 2000 or however many benefits marriage provides today.
Yeah, that's exactly my thought. The government provides soooo many incredibly useful benefits (from taxes to legal rights) to those who are encoupled in some way, so we do need the legal system and the gov't to recognize our relationships on some level.
Trust me, I've seen ALL the legal shit that has to be done in order to make a mock up of only the 50% of this that's possible for a gay relationship...straight people just sign a marriage license...gay people have to hire lawyers and sign tons of forms to get only half of what straight peopel get.
From a "what's right but not practical/realistic" standpoint, I don't think government has any reason to be involved with the relationships between people, as their relationships don't concern the general welfare. For places where it makes sense for government to provide protection (joint property ownership, living will), I think it would be more 'right' if you simply specified any people involved in those decisions on legal contracts.
The problem, of course, is that there are way too many such situations that would require these contracts. Now, I don't know much about all the existing marriage benefits, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are some that could/should be trimmed away. Nevertheless, there are still many such things that would need the proper legal paperwork etc. For that I would propose that legal houses start to provide convenience packages, with a for-example of say, the 'marriage' package, which would function much like closing on a home. You get your standard set of forms, eliminate those that you don't think make sense for your situation, spend a couple hours going through it, and bam, you've settled the various legal contracts.
That's sorta what I envision, but I recognize it's not very practical.
I think that would be a good solution--you have your marriage package, your living will package, etc--and it would solve my (already commented) concern about poly marriage: you would make each of these contracts individually.
I think that total abolition of government marriage would be a bad thing for things like inheritance, etc--how many of you guys have wills? I know I don't (yet). And even if you have one, a will can still be contested by angry family members. I don't know why marriage is considered stronger than a will--they're both just legal contracts, when it comes down to it--but that does seem to be the general opinion.
Right, the problem is that there are something like 1000 niceties that come with a recognize committed coupling. You can't have each individual one have a form you have to fill out, so instead we have gov't marriage licenses. Perhaps we just need another word for the gov't to use.
Also, I understand that a lot of people would love to decouple gov't marriage from religious marriage but I don't think that necessarily solves the problem. Religious and conservative people will still have an issue with gov't "marriages" recognizing gays! It's a societal approval of what they see as immoral that bothers them.
Re your first point: Hence the 'not practical/realistic' disclaimer.
As for the second, my viewpoint, as unpractical as it is, is designed to diminish that very strongly. Since there wouldn't be a government institution of "marriage" or whatever other term, and instead there are just a bunch of legal contracts or what not floating around, it becomes much harder for people with issues about any particular lifestyle to point to something as societal approval of it.
True. It's harder for objectors to gain traction objecting to little things like extending insurance to domestic partners, allowing same-sex visitation in hospitals, etc.
But of course, like you said, it's impractical to really decentralize it so much. Everyone and their dog doesn't want to have to bear the burden of coming up with their own forms and designation. So someone "has to say" who's family...and that varies wildly. Breeders, even open-minded ones, tend to say family is blood relation + single, committed partner, while us minority (and some other cultures) take a broader view.
I'll admit that I'm still not 100% comfortable with the idea of multiple marriages (as my other comments would suggest), but I sympathize with you on the "definition of family" bit. A lot of my family grew up in non-traditional settings (e.g. random relatives living with other relatives) and a lot of them got shafted for health insurance as a result. There should definitely be more leeway in terms of what's allowed. I just get skeeved out by the thought of, say, subsidizing the FLDS or what have you.
My concern with poly marriage is this: Who makes the medical decisions for any given spouse? You can't exactly put it up to vote, and waiting for consensus could potentially be life-threatening.
That said, if poly people want to make their own legal contracts, more power to 'em. I just don't think it would *work* as an automatic system the way two-equal-partners marriage works.
Any progress is good news!
(This is Emily from MD, btw.)
As a straight person who just got married in a purely civil ceremony, I would not object to the semantic distortion involved in declaring "marriage" a religious ceremony with no legal standing and "civil union" a civil procedure with no religious standing, so long as it gave gay people the right to equal protection under the law. Individual churches could decide whom they would and would not "marry," the State would
marry unionize everybody, and it would all be fine.
But that's just my opinion...
Hi!!! This is David. :)
Yeah, I think that's a workable, decent solution. But trying selling semantic distinctions and avoiding a "separate but equal" marriage for straights, civil unions for gays situation. =(
Hiya! :-) (I guessed.)
The "separate but equal" problem is why I want the word "marriage" completely gone from the civil lexicon.
In such a world, Patrick and I would be civil-unionized, an example hetero Catholic couple would be married and civil-unionized, and an example gay Unitarian couple would be married and civil-unionized.
But I agree that that would be a hard sell...