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In my last post I mused aimlessly about the difference between the definitions of “Civil Union” and “Marriage”, and how with the support of Prop 8 certain churches would like to define “marriage” as a strictly religious union. Yet, at the same time they say they support Civil Unions, but Prop 8 (and others like it throughout the U.S.) even ban them.

My point being was that Civil Unions are performed by Civil Servants and have no connection whatsoever to religiously recognized unions.

Case in point.  My first wife and I were married in the Greek Orthodox Church.  However, when we split I did not seek the Church’s recognition of the divorce for the sole purpose of I really had no need to throw my ex-wife under the bus and confess her sins against me for their perverted purposes.  So in the eyes of the State we are divorced and I am now married to Lucretia MacEvil.  If the State did not believe we were really divorced they would not have allowed me to marry Lucretia.  In the eyes of the Greek Orthodox Church however, they do not recognize the State’s divorce and I am still married to my ex-wife, and because of this if I so desired to take communion I could not until I seek their recognition of the dissolution of my first marriage.

My mother did the same with her first marriage and to the day of her death she was refused Holy Communion by the Greek Orthodox Church.

So where is the line drawn?  Is a State recognized marriage simply a Civil Union and to be truly “married” you must be joined by a religious body of some kind?  Clearly, State recognized marriage is completely different than a religious-recognized marriage. Unless of course it is in the religion’s best interest to blur the line.  This “Government stay out of our business, but we’ll mingle in yours when it suits us” attitude is one of the real issues that should be addressed.  The Constitution protects a Church’s right from Government interference, but what protects the Government from Church’s interference?  Nothing.  Nice situation for the Church, eh?

The masses don’t understand the difference.  A church leader can perform marriages because as an ordained minister of any kind he is automatically given (in most states) the authority to also perform a State recognized union which entitles the couple to all the benefits given to a “married” couple.  A couple can get these same benefits being married by a judge, a county clerk, a justice of the peace, etc.  The only difference?  The union is not recognized “in the eyes of the Lord” by the opinion of the Church of Whatever.

Great. They don’t have to recognize it or give the couple who don’t prescribe to that religion any benefits bestowed upon a “married” couple within that particular church.  So why are We The People allowing churches to dictate who of other faiths — or no faith — can be joined in a State and Federally recognized union and who can’t?

Why? Fear. The LDS Church was telling it’s faithful that should Prop 8 pass in California that it could force the LDS Church to perform same-sex marriages.  Now nothing could be further from the truth.  The government doesn’t have that authority or even anything that resembles it.  But, people are lazy. It’s easier to believe what you are told rather than actually research it for yourself and find-out if you’ve been lied to (hence the need for sites like Snopes.com, eh?). But the Mormon faithful, and flurry of fear, donated time and money in a Church organized manner to promote the passing of a law that won’t effect a single member of the LDS Church in a negative manner.  But it was the fear that it could in some undefined way that caused these people to do as they were informed, not as they personally felt.  At the minimum the allowed how they felt to be determined by what they were told without any real introspection into what they really feel about the subject.

Besides, in Utah thinking differently than the “majority” is frowned upon.  Politicians use slogans such as “I stand for Utah values” to get elected.  And those values are what?  Hmmm… Wait, I’m sure someone will tell me what my values should be.  Just give it a minute.

So there we have it.  My rant-and-roll for today.

~ Lucius Q. Scribbens

Authors note: This post is a little scattered, but I was writing as this was rushing through my head and needed to be put in print.

A big issue I see in the whole “married” persons debate and same sex marriages is that you cannot give people rights entitled to married persons, such as medical, taxes, and other legal tidbits without them being “married”.  There are too many regs on the books that specify “married”, all of which would have to be changed, which would require every State’s legislature, and the Federal government in many cases, to change via vote thousands of statutes and regulations and laws.  Because of partisan politics this process will take an indefinite amount of time (i.e. it will never happen).

The point being here that it will be simpler to change the definition of “marriage” than it will be to change or add to the parameters for “married” benefits to all civil unions.

The whole marriage vs. civil union debate also brings-up an important question: Since my wife and I were married by the County Clerk and not by a religious body, do we have a “civil union” or a “marriage”.  Under the LDS Church and other’s definition of marriage the union must be recognized by them to be considered a valid “marriage”.  Therefore my wife and I are not technically married and simply have a civil union since we were married in a civil, not religious ceremony.  So, under this presumption do we really have the same legal rights as someone married in the LDS Temple or by a representative of the LDS Church or any other church?

But given the nature of civil unions as described above, why does the LDS Church and others oppose same-sex couples from being joined in legal partnership by a civil servant also.  They say they don’t, but they do oppose the same ceremony being used for these people.

The double-talk and loose definitions are a huge problem in fighting this whole issue.  I think before any progress can be made, the terms “marriage” and “civil union” and religion’s role in each is going to have to be clearly defined by all.

~ Lucius Scribbens

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