Vice President Joe Biden found himself as a guest on Meet the Press Sunday morning speaking on the issues surrounding marriage law in the United States and came perilously close to endorsing the concept of gay marriage. My understanding is that this was not the exact discussion that the Obama Administration wants to have at this particular juncture because David Axelrod has been seen moonwalking to a rousing chorus of "that's not the official position of this administration" all morning long. It forces one to contemplate why they even let Biden off of his leash during the election cycle to begin with, but ours is not to wonder why…I suppose.
Now then. Are you ready for a shocker? I know that this sounds crazy, but I don't precisely disagree with Joe Biden. I know, right? How can the Cranky Housewife side up with such counter-cultural ideas? And before you begin shaking your fist in heightened rage over my apparent blasphemy regarding traditional values, I just want to say that I may be more in line with those traditional values than first meets the eye. I believe that there's a point to be made regarding the buying and selling of matrimony, and my point is to critique the secularization of marriage in the first place. Here we find the crux of the issue under which sacramental marriage has been buried.
Joe Biden puts it like this – "Who do you love? Who do you love? And will you be loyal to the person you love? And that's what people are finding out, is what all marriages at their root are about, whether they're marriages of lesbians or gay men or heterosexuals."
But Joe Biden is wrong about that. The significant reason for marriage is not to contractually obligate loyalty or there would be nothing to stop you from marrying your golden retriever. "Consecration" is the key concern within the marriage contract. It is the sanctification of a spiritual union. Marriage was and (for some) still is a religious vocation.
"Husband and wife receive actual graces to fulfill their matrimonial obligations. These duties arise from the very nature of matrimony and cannot be altered by any subjective ideas of the contracting parties. They are [for] the procreation of children and the fostering of mutual love between husband and wife to meet their respective material and spiritual needs." Marriage is the exact equivalent of receiving Holy Orders i.e. priesthood, ministry. Obviously, this runs contrary to everything that our pop culture wants us to believe and the Kardashians may beg to differ, but marriage isn't a game or a fad. It's not something to take lightly. It's more than a pretty dress and a registry at Macy's. It's kind of a big deal. It's one of those cornerstones that hold commonality in all successful cultures.
Interestingly, up until the mid-1800's, the government had no role in the process of marriage whatsoever. That's right. Marriage as an institution was capable of surviving for thousands of years without a blood test and a thumbs-up from the State. Go figure. But as you well know, something started to go terribly wrong during the mid-1800s. (I don't know. Maybe there was too much lead in the drinking water or something?) Progressives made it their business to insure that only the "right kind of people" were allowed to marry and procreate.
"The marriage laws and license requirements of many states originated from the ideas of eugenics. Such ideas had the support of scientists such as Linus Pauling, who advocated that people with genetic defects be denied marriage licenses. Today the science of eugenics, being highly suspect and often overtly racist, has been largely repudiated, although the requirement to obtain a license has persisted, along with the associated fee."
Quoth Wikipedia nevermore.
I've said this before and I will say it again. Prior to the mid-1800s, I am quite certain that you could have found a minister, priest or rabbi who would have married you to the chipmunk living under your front porch if that's what your heart so desired. But alas, the Progressive Movement was hot for keeping the races pure and so that's how we have come to this moment in history.
So now that the government has butted in to areas of religion where they really don't belong, it brings to the contractual table an obligation to be even handed in how it bestows the "marriage privilege" upon its citizenry. You may indeed believe that until the state bequeaths marriage upon gay, bi, tri, bigamous, entrepreneurial and zombified individuals, that marriage is a meaningless and unconstitutional in-club that ought to be abolished for the sake of humanity and common decency. Again, regardless of how the state treats matrimonial definitions, marriage is still a religious vocation. Any further governmental intrusion into the matter is tantamount to establishing an official religion or worse, granting government specific authority over religious institutions. And I've said this before too - religious institutions have a constitutional responsibility to push back on these impositions lest they find themselves kneeling before a new Religion Czar who will be authorized to regulate religious authority right out of existence.
Bottom line. The state should be required to get out of the marriage business altogether. Religious and common law unions were doing just fine up until 1850 and they'll be perfectly useful long after the government has been kicked out of everyone's bedroom.