Confirmations, bar mitzvahs—religious institutions mark a number of rites of passage, but marriage is the only one the government has mucked with. As the heated debate over gay marriage continues, two professors ask: Why not take the government out of the equation? Officially, any couple could have a civil union, and "marriage" would be left up to one’s place of worship, Time reports in a look at the idea.
That way, all couples would be equal in the eyes of the law, receiving the same benefits, without the legal labeling. When a justice in California’s ongoing high court gay-marriage case asked about the merits of the professors’ proposal, lawyers from both sides said it would fix the key equal-protection matters at the heart of the case. Still, messing with an entrenched label like “marriage” could be sticky, particularly for already-married couples.