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  • PatrickServaes

    November 8, 2008 at 2:33 pm

    These are not just “civil issues”. These are just a partial list of items covered by specific state and federal laws. I’m not taking a stand for or against legalization of same-sex marriage or polygamy. All I’m saying is: if legalization of either occurs, it can’t be considered in a legal vacuum.

    A whole laundry list of other laws would have to modified so that they would apply to an “updated” legal definition of marriage.

    It’s naive to say, “government should get out of the marriage business.” Like it or not, as long as there are laws that specifically hinge on marriage, like estate and trust laws, state and federal tax laws (“dependent” definition, joint filing, etc.), conjugal visitation in prison, social security benefit transfer, marital communication privilege (which is in the domain of [u]criminal[/u], not civil, law: Spouses cannot be forced to testify against spouses in criminal cases), etc., the government is firmly entrenched “in the marriage business.”

    Although most politicians who oppose changing the definition of marriage claim to do so on “moral” grounds (which I do believe trespasses on church/state separation), I wouldn’t be surprised if more prescient lawmakers also realize that a change in the definition would necessitate a legislative chain reaction: modification of a mountain of marriage-related laws (just a fraction of which I mentioned in my previous post).