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Marriage musing

What with all the publicity about the controversy of gay marriage lately, I've been thinking about it frequently. The problem I see with the way we talk about marriage right now is that it encompasses too many different ideas under one umbrella. Breaking them out and creating new laws to govern those pieces that we need laws for would make much more sense than the current system, but this involves taking the emotion out of the debate.

"Marriage" as it currently stands is religious and secular and I think this is where the problems start. Government has no business including religious rituals within its purview. Religion needs to be kept separate, but the history of the institution of marriage makes this nearly impossible. Therefore, marriage laws must be repealed.

If you take out the religious parts, marriage is really a property issue. And government is always interested in defining and protecting property. So it is their business to help individuals who want to commingle assets to disentangle them should the partnership dissolve. It's nearly a business arrangement at this point, but isn't that what the property bits of marriage are about?

Let's have a few examples to show this.

A man and woman decide that they want to be long term house partners in some way (marriage, long term cohabitation, housemates, whatever). They both work and contribute to living expenses in some agreed fashion. They split up. Left over is all the stuff they've accumulated: furniture, rent/mortgage, kitchenware, etc. The assets are then spilt either equitably by consensus or through court intervention (divorce or small claims).

A man and a woman are in the same situation, but only one works. If you were to look at this from a business standpoint, only one contributes monetarily. But that's like saying the partner in a LLC who provides the startup money but none of the labor gets all the assets when things fall apart. This just isn't the case and divorce courts agree. Assets are split not by monetary contribution but by other means.

Two men or two women agree to commingle assets in a domestic partnership. As far as property, this is exactly the same situation as the two above. However, current restrictions don't allow for anything other than the rights a renter would have. There is no property in common , one partner is just borrowing space from the other and has no legal standing. In business law, this would not be the case. Why is it ok to discriminate against individuals in a way that business can get away with?

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Thanks. I feel a lot better after getting that out. :)

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