Marriage: what should be the relation of church and state?

Forum category

A hot topic today is whether the church should get out of the marriage business, whether the government should do civil unions, and terminology.

For example, should we keep the state terminology the same “marriage” and come up with a new term for a religiously endorsed heterosexual marriage, like Eden Marriage (or some other term). This would be the term for church/synagogue/mosque endorsed heterosexual marriages as well. I couldn’t fit all that in the first choice below, so please understand “church” in this way below. This would be the easiest and quickest to implement.

Or should we pursue a more difficult (to implement/legislate) route and call the government’s legally binding union a “civil union” and a church wedding “marriage?” But, in that scenario, you need to remember that same-sex marriages are also performed in apostate churches. It would involve changing countless pieces of legislation, insurance policy terminology, etc. and much, much red tape. Note that this could take years to enact — if such an idea succeeds at all.

Or should things just stay as they are? Share your thoughts.

Poll Results

Marriage: what should be the relation of church and state?

Churches should come up with a new name for church-sanctioned heterosexual marriages, ( Eden Marriage, Traditional Marriage etc) Votes: 1
We should push the state to change what they do/license as Civil Union Votes: 3
We should enact choice one now and work on choice two long term Votes: 1
We should keep things as they are, with individual churches having policies based upon their beliefs Votes: 2
Other Votes: 1

(Migrated poll)

0% (0 votes)
Total votes: 0


I’ve changed my views on this a little bit… I guess. That is, before the tide shifted (apparently hopelessly) in the direction of redefining the word “marriage,” I would not have favored civil unions for the public policy side of things. But it’s looking better and better to me now as policy. As far as legal issues go, we probably have to face the fact that the state is increasingly secular and values-blind when it comes to sexual ethics.

So the best way forward is probably some kind of wider separation between holy matrimony as a church function vs. legal rights and responsibilities. Sad, but it seems to be where we are.

As for terminology, hopefully once the activists have their way, “marriage” becomes less attractive. I really do think that much of the interest there is driven by the feeling that something is being denied them. Once it is no longer denied (at least superficially—as a matter of vocabulary) it will quickly become pretty uninteresting to most who are in homosexual relationships. After all, we’re talking about something very traditional and old fashioned—and that is generally not what appeals to this demographic.

Views expressed are always my own and not my employer's, my church's, my family's, my neighbors', or my pets'. The house plants have authorized me to speak for them, however, and they always agree with me.

considering ἀλλοτριεπίσκοπος (1Pe 4:15), i’ll go for not worrying about what unbelievers do with marriage.

the writer seems to refer to those who, with holy but intemperate zeal, meddle with the affairs of the Gentiles – whether public or private, civil or sacred – in order to make them conform to the Christian standard