Saturday, May 26, 2007

Anti-Cohabitation Law?

N. Dakota recently introduced a bill to amend its Anti-Cohabitation law. Originally, the bill was written to repeal the law entirely, but now it is proposing that it merely be changed. What once was categorized as a sex crime (right up there with rape and child sex abuse) would now be fraud, but ONLY if the couple claims to be married. Cohabitating couples who DO NOT claim to be married will not be punished. (Anti-cohabitation law, my foot! More like an anti-biblical marriage law!)

There is no record of a wedding ceremony in the bible (the wedding at Cana is described in the KJV as a "marriage" and there is no record of it being anything other than what we would today equate to a reception). There is no record of anyone officiating a marriage or record of Yahweh saying one must be officiated by a priest or anyone else. Not to mention, there is no such thing as a marriage license or certificate in scripture either.

In fact (and in case you haven't read my other posts), upon studying the history of the marriage certificate in this country, I've discovered that it's a relatively new concept born out of legal necessity for inheritance, division of property and assets and so on. My point is that, for many centuries all a couple had to do was live together as man and wife and present themselves to society as man and wife in order to be legally recognized, and socially accepted, as married. Now, in North Dakota at least, that could possibly be a crime.

Surely many of you are thinking that we are to obey the laws of the land. And you are correct. However, with North Dakota partially excluded (and seven other states with similar laws), there are no laws against cohabitation and there are no laws saying that two people MUST enter a legal contract in order to be married. Only that, to receive state and federal benefits, they must enter into a legal contract with the government first. So there is no breaking of the law of the land if two people say they're married without a contract! I say "North Dakota partially excluded", because if this bill passes ONLY those who represent themselves as married are to be penalized. Cohabitating couples are free to continue doing so without incident. So those focused on remaining together for life are penalized, while those who are living together and taking their relationship day by day are free to do so unless and until they SAY they are married.

To some, it isn't a big deal to legally marry. But to others, like me, it is. Some entire denominations don't believe in the marriage certificate. For the latter, they prefer to marry in the sight of Yahweh only and option out of the government's benefit package for married couples. Is it their right to do so? Biblically, are they wrong? Does the government have a right to require such and to penalize people who don't abide? And, if this bill should pass, how will it affect these individuals who would now be on the wrong side of the law for choosing what they believe is right according to biblical standards? What should they do, especially if they are strongly opposed to government involvement in their marriages?


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