Domestic Partnershippal Bliss


March 20, 2013 by Anders Ingemarson

SEPARATE! is a blog about relationships in a fashion. More precisely, it’s about our relationship to the government. Normally I don’t cover domestic relationships. That’s for Dr. Laura, Dear Abby, Dr. Phil and the like.

However, the past week’s news has inspired somewhat of an exception to the rule. U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, Ohio, has done what in certain circles appears to be tantamount to coming out of the closet. No, he has not admitted to being gay, but he has changed his position on same sex marriage from against to pro, which to some appears to carry a stigma of similar caliber.

As a non-religious person I have a hard time getting worked up about who people fall in love and want to spend their life with, and what they want to call their relationship. But for many Americans of faith it’s a deeply troubling issue. Marriage, they say, is instituted by God as a holy union between a man and a woman. Consequently, same sex couples need not apply.

Since it’s a matter of faith, separation is the answer. Not so much separation of state and the economy as separation of state and church.

One of the three proper functions of government is the courts, which protects your property and contracts from breach or fraud by others, and settles disputes by rational rules, according to objective law. This applies to contractual relationships between businesses, between businesses and consumers, and yes, between individuals in a domestic relationship.

I suspect civil law in most states already contains all the necessary vehicles for contractually defining a domestic relationship regardless of the sex of the involved parties. You family lawyers out there can probably provide the details. How about simply replacing the word “marriage” and its referents with “domestic relationship between two or more consenting adults” or something of that nature? (the “or more” is for the overachievers who supposedly manage to find happiness in a domestic arrangement with more than one consenting partner). If you’re a freedom loving, individual rights respecting person of faith with appreciation for the separation of state and church that our constitution provides, this ought to take care of your concerns.

I know, “domestic partnership” sounds kind of boring. “Love and domestic partnership go together like a horse and carriage” is not very catchy. “Domestic partnershippal bliss” won’t evoke the same emotions as “marital bliss”. And “I’m happily domestic partnershipped” doesn’t exactly roll of the tongue like “I’m happily married”.

But in terms of the contractual language of the law, boring is just fine. You and your loved one go before the judge to get your partnership officially acknowledged and recorded. Everything else is optional. It’s up to you how to signify and celebrate your decision to be together until death do you part. A church, synagogue or mosque wedding in accordance with your faith? A non-religious celebration with friends and family? A candlelight dinner, just the two of you? You decide. It’s your life. Call yourself married if you like, or invent your own term for your union. But do me a favor and stay away from “unionized”; it has a bad connotation.

6 thoughts on “Domestic Partnershippal Bliss

  1. Dave Walden says:

    You continually, as this latest article demonstrates, SEPARATE emotion from reason, thus engendering “conceptual bliss.”


  2. Michael says:

    This is an excellent take on the situation. What the Religious need to remember is this: if their holy book demands that a marriage only be between a man and a woman, then that is the way they should live THEIR life. Marriage, as stated in this article, is a contract between two consenting adults, and the Religious should be allowed to follow their mandate and others theirs. Gay marriage will not ruin our culture. Of course, the Gay community should not take retaliation and try to force religious institutions to “marry” them and violate the rights and freedoms of the Religious.

    Just my 2 cents.



  3. iskeen says:

    Gender neutral marriage is a boring term but it scares many folks to death because if you follow the logic, there is nothing to stop three adults from declaring their love for each other and signing a contract to that effect.

    My take on this whole debate about marriage is not the man-woman issue but the one man / one woman issue with the emphasis on both the number and the gender. We might not see this in our lifetimes, but I think it will be an issue eventually.

    In a truly free market world people might contract for marriage with limited terms, fixed end dates, renewable or non-renewable, geographical limitations, etc. Who knows what other agreements people could dream up! As long as the agreements are voluntary and the responsibilites are covered (especially in regards to children and property), then government has no role except in protecting individual rights against force and fraud or adjudicating disagreements (divorce and settlements) when they arise.


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