Sunday, July 11, 2004

Marriage?

Had a good discussion at the Billings Association of Humanists this Sunday afternoon about the purpose of marriage in today's world. It went all the way from commitment to government sanction, but I think no one thought it should be limited to just one man and one woman. After all, in today's world, you can get married in a church and your insurance company and the Social Security Department could question your commitment. They could ask if it's just a rip-off, a ploy to gain the benefit of someone else's employment. Right now and for a number of years, some churches have married gays even though the state has not recognized that marriage for legal purposes. And for many years, the state has been marrying folks without benefit of clergy so they could take on the traditional responsibilities of being a couple. And there are couples today raising children without benefit of marriage, although I would think they are committed to each other and to the future just by the fact of accepting the children as their own. But they don't necessarily, even with legal documentations such as living wills and joint tenancy, have the same responsibilities and privileges. If marriage is only for the kids, then why are we obligated to stay married after the kids leave unless we have it approved legally unless, of course, we want to? Marriage is also about companionship and concern between two people. It should not be narrowly defined as the Baptists would have it.

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