Today, the Vermont senate voted to allow same sex marriage. It still has a step to go as Governor Jim Douglas has indicated that he prefers the civil unions that Vermont currently supports. I’m not sure if this means he’s going to sign it since it passed by an overwhelming majority nor does it appear that the legislature would move to override any veto. As noted in the article, this would be the first state to recognize same sex marriage without the prompting of the state judicial system actually reading some of the discrimination laws the legislature passed.
This headlight reminded me of an article in Time I read a couple of days ago about getting the government out of the marriage business. I can’t possibly agree more with this position. As the single most controversial connection with the religions of this country, it is past due for the government to drop its interest in something so intertwined in spiritual and political semantics.
The basic goal would be reduce it down to the benefits that couples (gay or straight) seek to provide their partners. Leave the word “marriage” to the churchs, synagogues, and mosques; it is a word whose definition is loaded with spirituality. If a church wishes to perform a marriage, fine; if not, fine as well. It is not the domain of government to dictate the rite of marriage in the church, nor should the church dictate who can become a legally bound couple outside of it.
Although, I will confess, the taking of the word “marriage” from the legal document would hurt. I was married in a church, so the spiritual aspect is there for me. But to have the marriage license seemingly boiled down to a civil union boilerplate document (which it really is already if you think about it and how many have been issued) feels a bit off.
But, then again, sometimes doing the right thing can feel a bit off.