June 3, 2015
Every culture in the world has marriage and always has. This includes both Eastern and Western nations as well as civilized and uncivilized communities. Whether you believe the Bible is the word of God or just a book written by men, it is one of the oldest records of history. It predates dominant cultures such as Rome or Greece, where many start their history of marriage. In doing so they choose to ignore cultures such as Native Americans, who we know practiced marriage long before either society came into existence.
The Bible also establishes traditions including a bridal price, parental blessing, and the importance of faithfulness, which are core marriage rituals found in cultures all over the world. Many who want to redefine marriage disregard the first marriage recorded in Genesis. Rejecting God’s establishment of marriage doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, it just means one refuses to see it.
"The Lord God said, 'It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.' So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, 'This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.'
That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh." Gen. 2:18, 21-24
The unity of a man and a woman has been foundational to developing a society from the beginning because the family is the smallest societal group. As with everything else, after sin came into the world the understanding of marriage and relationships became corrupt and unhealthy. By God's own definition, matrimony was never intended for multiple wives, extra-marital relationships, cohabitation, promiscuity, abusive partners, same-sex couples, or divorce.
In many cultures, a wedding ceremony isn’t even required. Up until the 1500’s, the Christian church would declare a marriage valid, even without witnesses, as long as the couple affirmed they had exchanged marital vows. Marriages were private agreements between two families, sometimes for love but sometimes for royal lineage, financial, social, or simply procreational reasons. The union was recorded in the Family Bible and with that, it was official. The church was out of it unless asked to participate but more importantly, the government was not involved. Primarily to prevent invalid marriages, the church eventually called for couples to post their upcoming nuptials in the town to confirm that both persons were available for wedlock. This is why some claim the church was not associated with marriage until the 16th century, thus denying any religious history of marriage.
MARRIAGE IS WHAT BRINGS US TOGETHER TODAY
So why did the government start requiring a marriage license to participate in a custom that existed freely for thousands of years?
It was during the pre-Civil War years that states began restricting marriages by outlawing unions between blacks and whites. Massachusetts began requiring licenses as early as 1639. Other states followed suit over the years. People were free to marry within their race as they desired as long as consent was given by the bride’s parents. It was still the parent’s responsibility to grant approval, not the state’s. This is why when the minister asks, “Who gives this woman to be married to this man?” the answer is, “Her mother and I,” not “The State of Ohio.”
Slaves were allowed to wed, even those at different households, if they obtained permission from their owners first. This is just like citizens must do today from their state. Regardless, slave owners still had the right to sell either spouse or the children as they saw fit. After the war, several states began allowing interracial marriages but only after obtaining approval from the government. In other words, states said, “We will let you perform an illegal act if you ask permission to do it first and pay a fee.” Thus begins the governmental overreach and intrusion into the institution of marriage and the license became a political tool. Pay the government and they’ll allow you to participate in a legitimate act they deemed illegal. In other words, bribery.
States quickly expanded their authoritative power by requiring all people to apply for a license before getting married. The Federal Government passed the Uniform Marriage and Marriage License Act in 1923, followed by the Marriage and Divorce Act of 1970. With these laws the Federal Government interjected themselves into the process, granting states the permission to permit not only marriages but divorces. In 1969, California started granting no-fault divorces where either party could file for divorce under the guise of “irreconcilable differences.” You could discard your marriage as easily as discarding an unwanted pet, even if your partner didn’t want to separate. That’s why a long “Hollywood Marriage” is anything over 13 weeks.
By requiring people to obtain a license, the government forced themselves into the marriage contract itself. Liberty, when your father and I got married, our pastor made it clear there were three people in this union; your father, me and God. The government agrees marriage contains three entities. According to the State of Ohio: “Marriage is a legal as well as a spiritual and personal relationship. When you repeat your marriage vows, you enter into a legal contract. There are three parties to that legal contract: you, your spouse, and the State of Ohio. The State is a party to the contract because under its laws, you have certain obligations and responsibilities to each other, to any children you may have, and to Ohio.” They kicked God out and thrust themselves in His place, taking top billing in the contract. Once again, the government has declared itself Supreme Being making the couple obligated to it, but no responsibilities in the reverse.
The license grants Children’s Services rights to your children under the guise of protecting the child. They gave themselves the authority to sue you on your child’s behalf as well as the freedom to take your children at their leisure. So in reality, is the government’s power over your marriage and family any different than that of the slave owner? This legal contract allows them to control your family unit and rip it apart as they so desire.
Marriage licenses were not limited to racial grounds, but included biological purposes as well. Many states required blood tests to get a license claiming health concerns, looking for signs of venereal diseases. This provision has since been abolished but not before denying many people the right to marry. With the advancements of DNA tests, how long until the government requires a DNA sample before allowing marriages to take place? Half of the states prohibit first cousins marrying, citing reproductive concerns. Another six only allow them if the parties are beyond childbearing years. What is to stop the government from using DNA to ensure healthy progeny from a union? They’ve already claimed the principle partnership in the marriage as well as authority over products of the union. What’s to prevent them from insisting on oversight of the children’s health before they are even conceived?
Government first replaced God in the marriage contract. They now want to make Him completely irrelevant to the issue. Because they granted themselves the power to issue marriage licenses, they wrongly concluded it also gives them the right to determine what marriage is. With all the accepted perversions to marriage throughout history, it has never been defined as a union between people of the same sex. A man may have had many wives, but each marriage was between a man and a woman.
It is important to note that even without governmental or church oversight, societies having freedom in wedlock still rejected homosexual unions. Even in Ancient Greece, where adult males were presumed to take a young boy as a student and lover, they were still expected to have a wife and children. Homosexuality was openly accepted, yet it was never recognized as marriage and never seen as the dominant or preferred relationship.
American’s all over the country have overwhelmingly voted to reject same-sex marriage, understanding it’s true definition of one man and one woman. Activist judges are usurping their authority, ignoring the will of the people, and changing thousands of years of history by issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples anyway. They punished bakers, photographers, florists and caterers for not participating in same-sex ceremonies even if their religious beliefs oppose the union. Many of these cases occurred in states where same-sex marriage was still illegal at the time. So judges fined business owners hundreds of thousands of dollars for not participating in a ceremony that was illegal and rewarded the couple that willingly broke the law, thus making the government a co-conspirator in a crime.
As history shows us, humans and civilizations tend to tumble into more and more moral decline until they completely crumble. The deterioration of the traditional family and marriage are results of this decline in America, which now faces its own demise. According to British historian Arnold Toynbee, “Of the 22 civilizations that have appeared in history, 19 of them collapsed when they reached the moral state America is in today.” Surprisingly, he made this statement long before the effects of the policies of the 1960’s, such as rising divorce, unwed births, and astronomical abortions rates, truly took root.
Those trying to abolish marriage altogether are attempting to convince people that marriage is racist and oppressive. They twist, turn and combine the history of the marriage license with marriage itself. What they fail to reveal is that the racist and oppressive components did not enter the issue until the government took control. Marriage is not the problem, government involvement is. As they always do, the government took an institution that was working perfectly fine, legislated it until it was almost completely broken and now insist they are the ones to fix it.
Liberty, when the Federal Government has grown as big as Washington is now, the only way to cut it back down to size is for the states to reclaim their rights and freedoms. Alabama has taken a very good first step to reverse this intrusive and blatant overreach of the government. The State Senate passed a bill abolishing marriage licenses thus removing the ability of federal judges to illegally issue them to same-sex couples. Alabama should be applauded and used as a model for other liberty-loving states. They should be replicating this action with issue after issue until the Federal Government is reduced to the manageable level it was intended to be.
Instead of debating whether the government should allow gay marriage or not, we should be asking why the government is involved at all. If we follow Alabama’s lead, they soon won’t be.
That’s my 2 cents.