Monday, October 8, 2007

An Interesting Conversation On Legal Marriage

A couple of months ago, I commented on an entry made by a fellow blogger, Matthew, about the necessity of a marriage license. You can read his original post and my comment HERE.

The following are a couple of emails that Matthew and I have shared since then:

Hello Free,

I apologize for just now being able to respond to the comment that you left on my web site, in early August.

I did visit your blog and I did read various posts that you made and I was impressed by some of the religious logic that you placed into them, if a such thing exists. :)

First and foremost, thank you for visiting my website. I created it as a tool to vent about various things, and I am thankful that you found it. I hope that you will bookmark it because I will be updating regularly now.

Secondly, I would like to correct you. Marriage Licenses ARE required in the United States. The Government requires this due to laws of consent and incest. Getting “married” without the license to do so is completely unacceptable in the United States. I am a Christian and a former Youth Pastor. I know the Bible and I understand that marriage can have two different meanings as far as the Bible is concerned—but we as Christians make a huge mistake by taking the Bible literally. If we took it literally, we would still be stoning women for wearing pants and talking back to their husbands. While on this earth we must obey the laws of the land. And using your same logic, if there is a difference between Secular Marriage and Religious Marriage then advocates opposed to Same-Sex Marriage have no right to call “MARRIAGE” a religious ceremony.

Your thoughts?



Hi Matthew,

Thank you for getting back to me. I really enjoyed your site and have bookmarked it.

With regards to a marriage license being required for consent, I've looked at this issue over and over again and, yes, consent laws exist and a license will not be issued in cases where both parties are unable to consent. Nor will one be provided in certain cases of incest. I specify "certain" because I do know of several people who are married to their own cousins. I'm checking on how this works, though, and will let you know what I find. Anyway, what is illegal here is not marriage without a license, but the relationships, themselves, are what is actually illegal. Thus (when requested) a license will not be granted in these instances. Yes, licensing helps to regulate this, but the law is a consent one, not a licensing one. Does this make sense? Ditto for people who've been legally married before and haven't failed to properly dissolve a previous marriage. However, I'd have to say that even this system isn't full proof as I do know of one person who legally married 3 consecutive people and never divorced a single one. In fact, in just now writing this, it occurs to me that I actually know of 2 people who've done so. Go figure!

On the other hand, if 2 consenting, non-related adults who are not married to other people choose to enter into a marriage covenant without the government's permission, they aren't breaking a single law. Exceptions to this exist in the states of Florida, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota, Virginia and West Virginia where actual laws against this do exist. However, even in these states, the law is not enforced and critics of the law are working to have it repealed. There are several news stories on this very topic if you Google "anti-cohabitation laws".

I live in California where our government is not bound to automatically legally recognize marriages without licenses, but no "law of the land" is being broken by those who don't require legal recognition or validation and marry without a license anyway, as no such law against doing so actually exists.

As to your point on same sex marriages, I don't speak much on this on my blog because I don't support homosexuality and definitely don't support same-sex marriages, therefore I don't want my words to be used in support of either of these. However, looking at it from a legal point of view, there is nothing that I've found in my research which would preclude homosexuals being able to marry. Secular marriage is not a religious institution in any way, shape or form and it definitely is not a Christian institution. If it were, atheists, satanists, buddhists, agnostics or any other non-religious, non-Christian couples would all be denied marriage licenses. Yahweh Elohim (the Lord, God) is not mentioned anywhere on a marriage license or a marriage certificate and He does not exist in marriagae as far as the state is concerned. So, for the state to deny homosexuals marriage based on any sort of religious pretext is hypocritical at best. This is another reason why I steer clear of legal marriage as I'm almost positive that states will begin granting secular marriage licenses to homosexual couples very soon. They legally have to. To not do so is discriminatory and like slavery, a woman's right to vote, etc. it cannot stand for much longer.

As for the Christian opposition to homosexual marriage, again I don't speak on this much publicly, but it's equally hypocritical, in my opinion. I don't know many Christians who publicly protest homosexuals dating, having sex or living together. Sure, they don't like gays doing so, but they take a live and let live approach most of the time and certainly don't push for laws prohibiting these. If one advocates that homosexuals cannot legally marry because it's wrong, then it's also logical to believe that they shouldn't be able to date, have sex, live together, show affection publicly, adopt children, etc. and that actual laws should exist against this. After all, if it's wrong, it's wrong across the board, right? So my personal thoughts are if you'll allow it to exist in society at large in these ways, why then protest a government document that purposely doesn't legally even recognize our Elohim (God) as the head of marriage in the first place (the state only recognizes itself as the head of marriage which is another problem I have with secular marriage). Personally, while I do see homosexual lifestyle as wrong (because the bible says so), I see it as wrong across the board. But if I haven't protested it at its core as a social practice which is legally protected, why now protest its legality in secular marriage? Will not allowing gays to marry stop homosexuality? Will it stop them from being able to live together? Fornicate? Raise children or do any of the things that married people do?

I could go on and on with this topic all day, but I'm sure you have better things to do. lol I don't know how much you read on my blog, but if you'd like to read more I highly recommend the following links: (which I believe is the closest to the original intent) (NOTE: I don't agree with Pastor Trewhalla on much, but I believe he's on the right track here)

Lastly, as for taking the bible literally, I feel you to a certain extent. We cannot stone our lazy children any more than we can stone women or anyone else. However, marriage was instituted in Genesis and hasn't changed one iota since then. Never was any power to ordain or legalize marriage given to men (officiants) or governments. Government can't rule over that which it didn't create without the permission of those willing to put certain, pre-existing institutions in their hands. Our government did not create marriage...marriage existed eons before our current government ever did...and some of us don't choose to give the government permission to preside over our marriages. For us, we believe we are quite capable of entering into this highly personal covenant ourselves and letting the Most High be our head in this regard.

In parting, I'm completely open to learning of any laws which exist (outside of the 7 states I mentioned before) which are applicable to consensual adults (who aren't already married to others or who aren't related) marrying without a license. In fact I've been looking for these laws, so if you can give me their reference numbers (either federal or state), I'd sincerely appreciate it. Also, I'm interested in any scriptures which give government power over marriage, specifically. Or, for that matter, any scriptures in which a marriage ceremony is performed or where any man is given the power to pronounce two people "husband and wife" are also appreciated. I'm familiar with scriptures stating we must obey government, but my studies say that we must obey A.) when government's laws do not conflict with Yahweh's laws and B.) when government creates ordinances (regarding to the institutions they've created, which doesn't apply to marriage since government didn't create it...but did create their own, separate version void of any religion which not all choose to partake of).

I'm also going to post your question (anonymously, unless you don't mind being identified) on my blog along with my reply.

Thanks, Matthew, and I look forward to any additional thoughts you wish to share.

Have a blessed one In Him,


P.S. I just received info on my question about married cousins. In certain Middle-Eastern cultures they are married outside of the country, because it's not legal to do so here. They are then granted recognition here because the U.S. doesn't know they're related. Many don't have the same last name and, for those who do, it's assumed that it's a common last name like Smith or Jones and is never questioned. Now, I don't advocate's pretty much lying and IS breaking the law...but it happens and these marriages are legally recognized.


Thanks, Matthew, for your permission to post our conversation, along with your name. ;)



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