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Discussion about State Recognized Marriage

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by Thomas A. Stobie, SFO


In this webpage, I will discuss Marriage, state recognition of marriage, and related issues. Then I will make recommendations on how to address Marriage and the related issues. I will not discuss here the religious only aspects of marriage.

Discussion about Marriage


For hundreds of years, marriage was a life-long commitment between a man and a woman forming a solid foundation for raising children. Many governments have eroded this by offering easier and easier divorces resulting in many problems including broken families and less respect for law. In the last decade, some courts have been legislating that people of the same sex can marry. In some places, marriages can consist of more than two people. What further confuses things is marriages means different things to different people. Confusing the issue further, some people physically alter themselves to appear different than their genetic sex. It would not be surprising to see some states offering "marriages" that expire after a period of time. Marriage ends up being reduced to the minimum that is common to all definitions.

It is imporant that we examine marriage, its benefits, and look at how society can protect the more beneficial forms of marriage.

Definitions of Marriage

There are numerous definitions of marriage and include:

  1. The state of being joined as husband and wife according to law or custom. - Merriam Webster Dictionary
  2. In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word “marriage” means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word “spouse” refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife. - United States Congress
  3. A covenant or partnership for life between a man and a woman which is order to the well-being of the spouses and to the procreation and upbringing of children. - Catechism of the Catholic Church
  4. A general definition of marriage is that it is a social contract between two individuals that unites their lives legally, economically and emotionally. -
  5. Marriage is the solemn contract based on a loving relationship between a man and a woman in which they publicly promise to live together ‘for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health until death do them part’. - Catherdrals in the East of England website
  6. State sanctioning of Fornication between two parties. - California Supreme Court (effectively from their rulings)
There are numerous other definitions as well. As can be seen by this small sample, the definitions are very diverse, so Marriage means different things to different people.

Common Misconceptions about Marriage

  1. All Marriages are Equal. - False
  2. Marriage is just a license to have Sex. - False
  3. Marriage defines households. - partially True
  4. Marriage has no religious aspects. - Only True for Atheists & Secularists
  5. Marriage is a state-given Right. - False
  6. Marriage is until 'death do we part' - Unfortunately False in many cases.
  7. Marriage is about having the right chemistry between the two people - False
  8. "One-size fits all" Marriage works - not True in today's culture.
  9. Marriage exists for the mutual pleasure of the couple. - False

Societial Benefits of Marriage

Society benefits from marriage in many ways:

  1. Stable marriages result in children who respect the law, have a good understanding of men and women, understand the need to sacrifice in the short-term to gain long-term benefits, produce more income, have less trouble with the law, reduced disease (particularly sexual disease), reduced abusive tendencies, and honor their commitments.
  2. Religious marriages tend to be more stable and adaptable than non-religious marriages. It is in the state's best interest to support and encourage religious marriages.
  3. Marriages generally form a loving household where members take care of each other.
  4. Marriages that include sacrifices between the couples are more beneficial for society than marriages are the mutual using of the other spouse.
  5. Divorce hurts not only the spouses, but the children and society as well.
  6. Couples that live together tend to just use each other for their individual benefits.

Related Issues

There are Issues related to marriage and traditionally have been associated with marriage but should now be address separately.

  1. Government Recognized Households - Traditionally households have been formed by marriages. Some households contain extended family. Some households are formed by non-married individuals with no sexual aspects to raise families in a more stable environment. The government should encourage these non-sexual households as they provide some of the benefits of marriage to society.

  2. Adoption - Adoption ties into the household issue. The person(s) putting a child up for an adoption should be able to apply restrictions (including religious) on who may adopt the child. Adoption agencies may put restrictions on who may adopt based on their philosophies of life. Governments should not restrict this restrictions.

  3. Adulthood - The state recognization of adulthood ties into the Household issue. This recognization should be based on the cognitive state of the individual and not just age.

Questions & Answers

  1. Do governments currently recognize a religious nature of marriage? - Yes. Most governments permit religious clergy to perform marriages as long as the required documents are completed.
  2. Why Should governments recognized the religious nature of some marriages? - The religious nature of the marriage changes some aspect of the marriage that impact or should impact how the state treats the marriage and related issues such as divorce.
  3. If you could, what would you desire for marriage? - All marriages would be religious covenants; all people would be well educated on proper behavior according to natural law; divorce would be non-existant except for abuse cases.
  4. Should Adoption agencies be allowed to consider sexual activity where the child is placed? - Yes, the presence of sexual activity outside of covenant marriage in a household adversely affects the child densensitizing them to sacrificial love, confusing them about the proper place of sex, showing them people using each other for their own pleasure, and producing more problems in society.
  5. How you recommend legislators draw up legislation to implement this? - I would recommend that a few legislators get together with religious leaders and discuss the nature of marriage, the different views of marriage and divorce, what people want and need for marriage, when should divorce be allowed, and how the religious procedures of the law should work, and then draft legislation based on all the input.
  6. Should multiple states get together on defining marriage types - Yes, it would make equating them a lot easier. However, no state government should hold back the definition and implementation of marriage types of another state.
  7. Why should the government recognize covenant marriages? - Covenant marriages are the most stable form of marriage, are based on sacrificial love, are more likely to raise children to be loving good citizens, reduced the likelihood of broken families, and improved quality of citizenship of the couple. Covenant marriages need to be not only recognized by the government, but also should be encouraged as the performed form of marriage.


The United States Government and each state government (particularly where the federal government fails to act or acts wrongly) should:


  1. Establish a multi-tier marriage recognization structure. - This structure should allow for variations in the following areas:

    1. Religous Nature - Some marriages have both religious and secular aspects to it, while others are just secular. Where a marriage has a religious aspect to it, it can be defined more narrowly by the religion.

    2. Commitment Type - This can range from:
      1. Covenant Marriage - a Covenant Bond where a human adult male (genetically) and a human adult female (genetically) commit life-long and sacraficially without qualification.
      2. Commited Contractual Marriage - Contractual between a human adult male (genetically) and a human adult female (genetically) with specific types of divorce allowed for misconduct of one or both of the parties.
      3. No-Fault Contractual Marriage - Contractual marriage between one human adult male (genetically) and one human adult female (genetically) divorcable by either party at any time.
      4. State-Sanctioned Fornication - State Sanctioned Fornication between two or more parties.

      Governments may find additional subdivisions among marriage types. Some types may exist only to equate other governments' marriages to it and may not be availble in the government's area. Divorce and Legal Separation Laws should be modified to recognize the difference between type and the additional restrictions to divorce.

  2. Establish Recognition Guidelines of Other Government's "Marriages" - Determine how the government will recognize the "Marriage" of other governments. It generally should be based on the other governments' definition of marriage with the assumption of the least commitment involved.

  3. Establish Religious Marriage Definitions Procedure - Organized religions should be able to work with the government and define marriage types that meet their definition.

  4. Establish Marriage Upgrade Procedure - For people who move into the area served by the government, develop a procedure in which they can have their marriage recognized at the level at which they and their religion consider the marriage as opposed to how marriage is viewed in the government where it occured. This can never reduce the restrictions on the marriage and divorce that originally existed.

  5. Favor more stable Marriage types - The government in granting benefits to marriage, should favor those marriage types that results in stable long term families over those that are more transient, more likely to dissolve and unhealther for children of that marriage.

  6. Permit Religious Organizations their own decisions on which marriages they will recognize. - This is part of religious freedom that religious organizations have (or should have) under the Freedom of Religion.

  7. Educate the public on the different types of Marriage. - This includes not only the adult public via the local media but also children in the schools in their civics classes.

  1. Establish Government Recognized Households - Governments need to recognize that there are households formed outside of those formed by marriage. There need to be some way for people to register these households with the government. Some of these households could be time-bound while other may be unbound. These households should have no requirement or presumption of sexual activity among the adults. They should involve some form of secondary guardianship of the children for the non-related adults. They may also include partial or full guardianship of mentally disadvantaged adults. Household may be multiple families living together to mutually take care of each other.
  2. Modify laws to include Households. - These laws should include child welfare laws, benefit laws, tax laws, etc.
  3. Encourage Health Insurance companies to Recognize Households - The governments should encourage health plans to incorporate a more robust definition and coverage of households.

  1. Modify Adoption Laws - Adoption laws need to be modified to give those putting up the child more rights to restrict who may adopt as well as recognizing the religious adoption agencies may uphold the principles of their religion when placing children for adoption. In particular, the government should never force agencies to place children into situations where abuse is likely (and according to Christianity, an environment with fornicating adults (of the same or different sexes) is abusive and harmful to the children involved).

Human Maturity States
  1. Recognize Human Maturity States - The statuses should be based on the mental abilities of the child. I recommend child (between conception and completion of 8th grade or Age 14), pre-adult (between completion of 8th grade and the completion of high school), and adult (completion of high school or Age 18). I would further allow the declaration of dependent pre-adult and dependent adult for those with handicaps and are dependent on their parents for their support. Courts could also rule for the mentally handicapped to delay a status granting a longer or indefinite period of guardianship. Laws should defined when pre-adults accussed of crimes can be tried as adults. Completion of 8th grade and high school should include understanding of civics. Note: Until abortion is illegal again, a fourth status (unborn child) made be needed to include children within the womb.
  2. Modify Laws to incorporate Maturity States - Laws should be updated to refer to the maturity and dependency statuses.

© 2008 by Thomas A. Stobie, SFO - permission to copy for personal use is granted.

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Last modified on 5 Nov 2008.