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Letter: Civil marriage vs. religious marriage
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To the editor: There are two parts of the marriage process — the civil license that you get from your local government and the religious ceremony. As far as the law and the economy are concerned, possessing a marriage license is the crucial part. It causes a couple to be treated as a joint partnership for legal purposes in terms of contracts and liabilities. The loan holder doesn’t care if you were married in a church or in the backyard. What counts is that there is a legal document on file somewhere that indicates that you and your spouse are legally joined together in liability for the loan.

No religion should be forced to marry anyone that the religion does not want to marry. The government, at any level in the USA, is prohibited by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution from requiring a religion to do anything in terms of their religious practice.

That’s it.

Nowhere in the Constitution or the amendments is there any prohibition or limitation on the ability of two U.S. citizens to enter into a legal contract. Obtaining a marriage license is just like any other business transaction sanctioned by the government and should be available to any U.S. citizen who wants to obtain such a license.

Should two men be prohibited from joining together in a business venture or two women?

If two people of whatever gender want to enter into the joint partnership that is granted by a marriage license, then they should not be discriminated against and should be able to form that legal union.

If any religion wants to define just who can participate in their marriage ceremonies, then fine, the religion should not be required to marry anyone they determine does not meet their requirements.

Julius J. Hayden