A Modest Proposal: just do away with “marriage” as a legal concept altogether

I support gay marriage unequivocally.  There is no however.  Gay and lesbian couples should have all the same rights as my wife and I do, and it’s a shame on the United States that this still hasn’t happened.

Right now, the Supreme Court is dancing on the head of a needle with two different cases that relate to gay marriage, and since the New York Times has done a good job of reporting this I don’t need to go into those details.

But I wonder why we don’t simply eliminate “marriage” as a legal concept altogether in favor of domestic partnership for all, regardless of who has what plumbing?  (This is much the system in France and Francophone cultures today.)

Civil Rights taught us that separate but equal doesn’t work, so we shouldn’t create a separate “domestic partnership” legal entity that has the rights of marriage but not the name.  Instead, we should eliminate marriage altogether as a legal entity.

Most of the arguments against gay marriage are religious ones– and we have freedom of religion in the country.  So let’s just transform the notion of marriage into an exclusively religious concept on only one side of the Church & State divide, leaving both heterosexual and homosexual couples as domestic partners in the eyes of the law.

My wife Kathi would become my domestic partner — she has no problem with this idea, by the way, I asked — and I’d be hers, but socially we could still refer to each other as husband and wife.  And this would hold for our gay and lesbian friends as well.

Same-sex couples who want a religious ceremony of marriage would find a friendly religious institution, as would different-sex couples– but all parties would trot down to the courthouse to get a “domestic partner license” rather than a “marriage license.”

We can avoid some of the legal wrangling by turning marriage into something akin to a religious confirmation or a Bar/Bat Mitzvah and render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s on both sides of the brouhaha.

I’ll end where I began: I support gay marriage unequivocally.  I’ll vote for it.  I have signed petitions, spoken about it, changed my Facebook picture, the works.  And if for gay marriage to work all marriage must go away — including mine — I’m fine with that too.

There is more than one way to reach equality.

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