Friday, August 10, 2012

Lucia Take away state regulation of marriage?

I've noticed a growing number of people (many of them Christian) who think the solution to the state redefining marriage is for the state to remove itself from the regulation of marriage completely. I reject this view completely.

Marriage is a social institution, and removing the state from the regulation of marriage would speed up the social unraveling that we are now currently experiencing. The state has an absolute interest in marriage because without marriage, there is no state. We may as well just close down Parliament completely and go back to tribal living, where absolute authority is vested in leaders of small groups.

Can I produce a coherent argument as to why marriage not regulated by the state would be so destructive to the state? Not yet, but I will.

Even if NZ makes a terrible mistake in redefining marriage, we need to stick with the State as a regulator of marriage, because this situation will not last long. At some point, people will wonder what the point of regulating short-term romantic attachments is. They will notice that children brought up by non mother/father couples will have serious problems, just as we are noticing now that children brought up by single parents, depending on their background, have serious problems. And then there will be a push to create an ideal marriage status, defined as optimal for children, and we'll have traditional marriage back again. How long this process will take, I don't know, but it with either happen or the state will implode.

In the meantime, it's worth really understanding what marriage is and how to counter the marriage revisionist arguments.

Related link: Opposing same-sex marriage: a civil decision, not a religious one ~ LifeSiteNews

9 comment(s):

Chris Sullivan said...

Good post !

The Common Good requires that the state act to defend children. It follows that the state must support, promote and defend marriage.

God Bless

libertyscott said...

How about it being treated like any contract? Have legislation which has a "default" setting for marriage, which is relatively simple on what it means for property, custody and grounds for divorce, but if a couple want different terms and conditions, as long as they would not be void (i.e. entering into a conspiracy to undertake criminal activity or uneven rights to divorce as with Islam), then fine (this accommodates different religious interpretations of marriage). Part of this includes basic commitments to the children around provision, safety and security. The best provision could be to detail how divorce would account for responsibilities around the children financially, which could do away with the DPB in the non-widowed context. It would be defined as marriage for legal purposes, and in fact civil unions would be unnecessary (those that exist would continue to do so, but no need for new ones).

Then the state does uphold marriage freely entered into, it interprets and enforces the contract and uses its terms and conditions for either annulment or divorce if necessary.

What it also would mean is that any status short of marriage would remain far more insecure. Those who live in a relationship in less than marriage bear the risks of doing so.

macdoctor said...

The state will never give up regulating marriage anyway. The distribution of welfare and taxation depends on it.

Seán said...

Does the NZ State even regulate marriage? I got married overseas and never had to submit anything here, despite enquiries. It seemed to be a given.

Now I have no problem with this, I don't need the NZ govt telling me I'm married, but as a result it blows a little hole in the argument of the above post: the State need not be so involved afterall. They add no value nor purpose.

Lucia Maria said...


I was married overseas as well, and our marriage is recognised in NZ. If, however, I was one women of four who were married to the same man, I think only the first marriage would be recognised as valid. There's nothing the NZ Government needs to do as such if a person is married overseas, it's more a matter if they treat the marriage as valid or not.

Lucia Maria said...


As far as I can make out, the NZ Government already treats marriage like a contract, as the consummation part of making a marriage valid has been removed from NZ law.

What does need to happen is that defacto relationships should not be treated like marriages, which they are at present, unfortunately.

Ciaron said...

If there is reciprocal recognition of marriages (I'm thinking at least within the Commonwealth), why have I been asked if I want an Apostille to have my marriage registered in the UK?

Seán said...

Hi Lucyna,

Yes I agree overseas weddings are recognised in NZ (as I said "It seemed to be a given.").

But this recognition is not a sacrament, so I am not too perturbed as to what type of marriage/civil union it recognises.

I understand your argument about the role of the state and of reflecting society, but at the end of the day I consider marriage to be ultimately in front of God and not in front of the state. Hence my apathy to the post.

Lucia Maria said...

Hi Ciaron,

That's interesting. It seems the UK still has much more defined marriage laws than we do over here (they still require consummation to make a marriage valid and we don't, for instance).


Just wait till you get kids. A lot changes, then! :)

Congratulations, btw! Is your new wife a New Zealander?

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