But there is a marriage debate we ought to have — or to put it more accurately, a non-marriage debate. Over half of American households are now headed by single people. They include young singles and confirmed bachelors, the widowed and the divorced. Some are gay. Most are straight. Except for an occasional nod to elderly widows, single people and their concerns are nearly invisible in the presidential campaigns…
The troubling aspect of the push for gay marriage is the part that perpetuates the notion of marriage as a goody bag for sundry government and corporate benefits. A gay advocate asks, “Why can’t I leave my $4 million estate to my partner tax-free, as Jane and Joe Jones next door can do?” Valid question, but then one asks, “What about Widow Smith and her sister, who have lived together for decades? Shouldn’t tax law favor their estates as well?”
Christians don’t generally think of marriage in legal contract terms. But, as long as they conflate civil marriage and Holy Matrimony, they really need to face this issue more squarely. Sooner or later single people are going to start agitating for either the abolition of civil marriage or the state abandoning marriage in favour of civil unions between any two people. And, if you look at things from a purely logical and legal standpoint, there’s no reason not to.
Let’s take the issue of the estate tax exemption for property transfer between spouses at death. As I noted before, this has only been enshrined in U.S. law since the late 1940’s. There’s nothing stopping Congress from revoking this. On the flip side, where in the Bible does it say that this goes with marriage? Personally, I don’t even think that estate taxes are Biblical!
Turning the issue around to something more Christians can relate to, how many people do you know who shack up to prevent a government benefit from being cut off if they’re married?
The state, with its widening, tangled web of rules and regulations, has made a mess of civil marriage, and adding same sex civil marriage only promises to make things worse. Someone needs to "cut the Gordian Knot" on this issue. If we don’t, someone else will.