Somehow religion, marriage, and the state governments got mixed together contrary to the tradition of the separation of church and state in the USA. The seperation of church and state was originally setup to protect the church and it was the church that insisted on inserting church protections into the First Amendment to the US Constitution.
So why do state governments sanction and license marriage? It all began officially during the Civil War. States wanted to set prohibitions in marriage, like not allowing blacks to marry whites. And so the states stuck their noses into marriage.
The entire conflict between gays and straights stems from state licensing of marriage. The real solution is to abolish and replace this practice. Back in the day, marriage was a private matter. The church recognized any two people, male and female of course, who simply announced their acknowledgment of marriage as a valid and sanctioned union. It is time to return to that tenant.
Marriage needs to be a private matter again. Contracts to protect kids and property can be accomplished readily in Civil Unions. Gay, straight, or any combination the state wishes to recognize can and should be issued a civil union contract, not a marriage license.
If a couple wishes to marry, let them do it in their own church, synagogue, temple, or home. And let them get a civil union contract from the state to protect their community property.
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