“Marriage” is a religious concept that the civil government should never have borrowed to be used as a term or status in its tax code and other laws. Because of its beginnings the concept of marriage is deeply entangled in religious ideas of sexual morality.
Our lawmakers need to pass legislation removing the idea of marriage from our laws and allow it to revert to religious institutions to be defined and administered by their beliefs. The civil government would then be free to develop an inclusive, neutral term that it controls and can redefine as the needs of secular society change.
I would like to suggest “domestic partnership.” It would allow any two adults to establish a “household” for the purpose of companionship and shared finances. Sexual activity would be of no concern. As a result, nonsexual partnerships such as an adult child and parent (sandwich generation) or older friends (Golden Girl concept) could be included. The needs of these groups are being completely overlooked in the current debate because of the sexual connotations of marriage.
Another advantage would be the change from “Are you married?” to “Are you partnered?” would not be difficult.
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Daryl Yandell, Mountain Home