Last week, in What if there were only civil unions for everyone?, I diaried about "privatizing" marriage.
Last Sunday, the conservative Orange County Register took a similar position in an editorial condeming Proposition 22 and the proposed Constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage. Prop 22, which passed in 2000 and was recently overturned by the CA Supreme Court, declares marriage as between one man and one woman.
Writing in Marriage shouldn't be government's concern, the editors say:
Our preference would be for the government not to be involved in marriage, the most fundamental of institutions in a civil society. Why two people who want to be married should be required to get a license from the state is something of a mystery. Marriage existed long before the California or U.S. governments came into being and will continue long after they have been consigned to history.
They make the same arguements that government has inserted itself into marriage through tax laws, court battles and other mechanisms, things which the state may legitamately regulate. But doing so in the context of what many people see as a sacred relationship, puts the state in an impossible postion.
If we were to seperate these two aspects of marriage, as is done in many European countries, we would solve many of these problems.
The editorial goes on to say:
It is argued that allowing same-sex marriage will infringe on the religious freedom of people who have a religiously based objection to it. It is hard to see the validity. Church and state are correctly separate in this country, and the fact that the state recognizes a union as a marriage doesn't mean that a religious person or institution has to recognize it or approve of it. It's hard to imagine a minister, rabbi or imam who objects to same-sex marriages being forced to perform one, and we would be the first to object if anybody tried it.
The relatively smooth transition to allowing same-sex marriages may be the calm before the storm. Still, it's nice that it has been calm so far.
It's a well reasoned editorial from a source the other side of the debate is likely to pay attention to.