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Montevideo American-News - Montevideo, MN
The Minnesota marriage equality act non-issue
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By Stephen W. Browne
May 24, 2013 11:24 a.m.



Note: This is cross-posted on my professional blog at the Marshall Independent.

Well Gov. Dayton has signed the marriage equality act, and depending on which side you line up on either the sky if falling or Minnesota has leaped into the forefront of human progress.

Ive advanced my notions on this issue before, and been roundly condemned by both sides. But fools rush in…

Am I the only one who thinks this is the biggest non-issue today?

In Your Humble Narrators opinion, marriage is two things, sacred and secular.

Marriage in the secular sense is a legal contract involving obligations of support, rights of inheritance, the power to act for another in the case of incapacity, etc.

Does anyone see anything absolutely gender-specific about this? Im not a lawyer, but it doesnt seem so to me. Or at least not anything that minor modifications wouldnt adjust it to the needs of gay couples. To my non-professional eye it looks rather like a legal adoption except that the rights and obligations are equal and reciprocal.

Marriage is also a religious sacrament. In the Catholic church one of seven: Baptism, Confirmation, Eucharist, Penance, Anointing of the Sick, Holy Orders, and Matrimony.

My understanding is that when an ordained priest or minister performs a marriage he/she also serves as a registrar for the local government and gets a small fee for filing the appropriate papers.

Its not done this way everywhere. In many countries in Europe couples have two ceremonies, one at the local government office and one in church. In some places they do this in the morning and afternoon, but I knew couples in Poland who waited years and had a few kids before getting around to the church wedding.

My childrens Polish grandparents had a church wedding in the city of Wroclaw – at 6 oclock in the morning with a witness they literally dragged in off the sidewalk, because grandpa was an officer in the Army of the Polish Peoples Republic and he was terrified the Party would find out hed been married in church.

But I digress. My point is, arent we supposed to have something called separation of church and state in this country?

What business is it of the state to define what marriage is? Shouldnt the role of government be confined to registering the contract and enforcing the provisions thereof if necessary?

The question of marriage in the sacred sense is the business of the churches. If yours does it, fine.

If it doesnt, agitate for change or join another. Or start your own, its the Californian Way.

DO NOT demand the state force your church to do it. Whether you agree or disagree with the stand of your or anybody elses church, that separation thing works both ways.

The only issue remaining is whether society at large is going to recognize same-sex couples as married.

Cant help you there, people think as they please. Some will, some wont. In the long run…. we’ll see.

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