Originally Posted by UncleWede
So then I should have recieved a Civil Union license from the county, and the judge never should have used the words God or love, and I should not be considered married but instead unionized
(made myself laugh there)
This is exactly how it should happen, in my opinion. For one, the government doesn't really care why you're getting married, so long as it's not to commit fraud or if coercion is being used. Secondly, whether the state or federal government allows me to marry my partner doesn't change how I feel about him. We are in a registered domestic partnership in NJ not because we needed the state to somehow affirm our love for each other, but because it carried financial benefits that would not have been otherwise obtainable (not without additional costs, in some cases). It's perhaps a bit dishonest of me to be in a domestic partnership when I truly believe that government should step out entirely, but I'm also pragmatic, and would be content with civil unions as merely a fast tracked way of allowing two people to enter into the various legal arrangements that marriage typically confers.
Marriage, in my example, would be left to the various religious institutions to regulate. Any special significance that you wish to attach to the union of two people would be done here.
This is just one example of how it is extremely difficult to seperate the (religious?) upbringing from the secular leadership needed. When was the last time a president didn't end the State of the Union address with "God Bless America"?
I believe that the federal government is already pretty secular with respect to marriage, or at the very least, treats almost all religions equally in that the government doesn't really care what religion you are, provided that you're one man and one woman. To make it completely secular would require going beyond just allowing same-sex couples to marry; it would necessarily have to allow polygamy (or any other arrangements as provided by the various religions). That's why, at the end of the day, the best would be to remove government completely, even out of the business of issuing civil unions in my example above. If people want to marry and they are within the rules of their religion, they can go ahead and get married and get whatever benefits that institution confers upon them. Any legal protections currently automatically granted by marriage would simply have to be pursued via a lawyer.