In the wake of California’s mandating same sex civil marriages, some in that state are considering just that:
Some clergy think churches should divorce themselves from the wedding business.
The controversy over same-sex marriage – along with a growing sense that many couples who marry in churches never return – has prompted faith leaders to say it’s time to reconsider how California couples tie the knot.
After the California Supreme Court ruled gay marriage legal, the bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of California began encouraging all couples to marry outside the church.
"I urge you to encourage all couples, regardless of orientation, to follow the pattern of first being married in a secular service, and then being blessed in the Episcopal Church," Bishop Marc Handley Andrus wrote his clergy June 9.
This model is used by many European countries, according to John Witte, director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion at Emory University. He said that approach has been practiced in France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavia and other countries for many years.
Although the article doesn’t touch on the issue of discrimination, an exit from civil marriages by churches would eliminate charges/lawsuits that they were discriminating against same-sex couples.
It’s true that, in much of Europe, churches aren’t allowed to perform civil marriage ceremonies. That’s because the state has basically taken away the right of marrying people from the church (that’s certainly the case in France.) This leads to some interesting situations, as I describe concerning Belgian King Leopold III and Lilian Baels, whose son Prince Alexandre de Rethy visited my family’s home in Palm Beach.
But isn’t marriage a divine institution? Didn’t God marry Adam and Eve in the Garden? He didn’t need the state then, did he? So why does he "need" the state now? By conceding the ultimate legitimacy of marriage to the state, churches basically proclaim that their god is the state, not Yahweh.
Christian churches–especially if our elites continue to promote same-sex civil marriage, which they will–need to come up with an alternative to civil marriage for Christians.