Prop. 8 Fix: Dump Legal 'Marriage' Altogether

Gov't could create civil unions, while marriage would be religious
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 16, 2009 9:11 AM CDT
Supporters of gay marriage gather for a recommitment ceremony and march to the California Supreme Court building in downtown Los Angeles on Wednesday, March 4, 2009.    (AP Photo/Jason Redmond)
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(Newser) – 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.