In the two-decade debate over same-sex marriages, who among us asked why the state recognizes marriages in the first place? Surely a true separation of church and state would have the state keep its incentivizing little hands out of a religious ceremony?

Instead of the state granting civil unions and the religions performing marriages, we have a situation where church and state are one. And thus, from 2003 onwards, we had numerous state governments ban same-sex marriage on the basis of quasi-religious arguments, defended thereafter by explicit appeals to religion. 

What a pity that we let the entanglement of church and state go on unnoticed, until it became a hindrance to the lives of innocent people. 

And that's all assuming that a marriage even needs to be a religious ceremony, or even a ceremony of any sort -- in the earlier parts of the Middle Ages a wedding didn't even require a priest to officiate. The Church was supposed to register a marriage but it wasn't obligatory, and the state had no involvement in the whole business, except in cases where peasants had to declare to their lord who they would marry.

Likewise among Jewish people of the Middle Ages marriage was an entirely domestic affair involving neither lord nor rabbi; it wasn't until the later middle ages that Jewish people began to imitate Christians in making a marriage a big social fooforal.

So there was a time in human history, until relatively recently, when states clearly had no interest in the marriage of their subjects among the lower classes. Why did that change?

I don't know why marriage had to get either the church or the state involved in it, but, you know what, I want both of them out of it. Shoo! Vamoose! Let marriage be a contract that you nail up on the wall of your house so you can check it whenever you argue about household responsibilities!

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