The referent article appeared last year on First Things. It is worth rereading.

http://www.firstthings.com/web-exclusives/2014/09/the-princess-bride-syndrome

I pretty much agree with the breadth of the article, but I cannot accept a role of the state, nor any interest of the state, in marriage. The state’s only legitimate role in anything is fair, even application of the law. We have messed up making marriage law. Commitment, contract, other obligation factors weigh, and the state has a role there, but the actual marriage, especially with its generational and religious connotations, is out-of-bounds for law and the state.

“The state rightly takes a particular interest in this type of relationship.” No! I strongly disagree. There can be no rationale for imposing the power and violence of the state on marriage. While the relationship may be far-reaching and generational, it may even be foundational to society, it is not justifiable to hang the sanctioned violence of the state over the relationship.

Society may have standing and interest, but it must necessarily be limited to normative influence. Society, institutions, religion, et al., must be nonviolent and noncoercive.

I suppose I am becoming convinced that the traditional view of marriage and family is foundational to what society has become. Marriage is certainly key to what our cultures are in Western countries. However, for better or for worse, we the people, as well as our government, must not impose upon individuals and partners any of our corporate ideals, even if our ideals are perfectly right. (And, of course, such is impossible, given that we are also fallible humans.)

We must allow for freedom and individuality. We must.

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