By Andrew Magloughlin
Republicans recurrently headline the media with their stark opposition to same-sex marriage. Claims refuting same-sex marriage typically involve references to the Christian faith, religious freedom, and the pollution of traditional family values. Republicans believe that the “definition of marriage,” one man and one woman, must describe all American families. While Republicans harangue the American people regarding the sinfulness of same-sex marriage, Democrats, and liberals alike, label the GOP as bigoted and unaccepting to “the extension” of the civil rights movement. The same-sex marriage debate is a heated social conflict drawing more personal libel than solutions. In fact, the marriage debate is so incendiary that its most solvent decisions derive from the judiciary. But realistically, what is the government’s role in marriage? Every day, men and women request marriage licenses from the government. A marriage license is a certificate authorizing a couple to marry, which provides a slew of benefits. Most notably, marriage licenses offer couples tax breaks and efficiency in tax returns. Married couples can mix-and-match employment benefits to their advantage. Marriage also protects the estate: if one spouse passes away, his or her survivor inherits their estate without taxation. Basically, marriage is an economic asset for Americans. This economic asset encourages the formation of family units, which are essential to the productivity of American society.
As previously mentioned, twelve states still don’t recognize same-sex marriage contracts. Christian stigma prevents same-sex couples from enjoying the economic liberties granted to heterosexual American families. Same-sex marriage, to some, is seen as counterproductive to American society; its opposition claims that marriage benefits exist to incentivize reproduction, a capability same-sex couples lack. Regardless of the sterility of same-sex marriage, no conservative argument will cease homosexuality. Homosexual couples will continue to copulate and love each other regardless of philosophical arguments.
To liberals, the panacea ending the marriage debacle is federal legislation enforcing that all states recognize same-sex marriage contracts. While the idea of guaranteeing all Americans the right to marry sounds pleasant, such legislation is both dangerous and unconstitutional. A federal enforcement of same-sex marriage will breach the religious freedom of the churches that provoked the Bill of Rights over two-hundred years ago. It’s both illegal and immoral to force religious institutions, which maintain predetermined stances on same-sex marriage, to recognize contracts that violate their doctrines. This First Amendment violation destroys America’s renowned religious freedom, essential to the greatest nation on Earth. Regardless, it’s equivalently immoral to bar homosexual Americans from their pursuit of happiness in marriage. That’s why I propose a solution: let’s remove government from marriage.
A simple solution finishes the marriage “debate.” Instead of authorizing the government to issue “marriage licenses,” reform the bureaucratic service to issue “civil union licenses.” The term civil union abridges the “definition of marriage” from influencing debate. Civil union contracts will recognize any partnership, including same-sex couples. Therefore, the government will provide the economic benefits of current day marriage to same-sex couples. On the other hand, marriage will be the responsibility of religious institutions. Each religious institution will have the autonomy to interpret the definition of marriage. If an institution wishes to acknowledge same-sex marriage, it certainly can. At the same time, an institution that disavows same-sex marriage can rightfully do so, ensuring religious freedom. This compromise combines the desires of both religious freedom patriots and gay-rights activists, ensuring constitutional protections for America’s religious and the pursuit of happiness for homosexuals.
In hindsight, compromise isn’t impossible. Republicans need to recognize the best interests of all Americans; Democrats need to respect the constitutional privileges of all Americans. Sometimes the best solution for a heated conundrum is to address the means by which the conundrum is addressed, instead of the conundrum itself.