Get out of marriage business altogether

One interesting response to California's anti-gay marriage Proposition 8 seems to be gaining traction: encouraging the state to get out of the "marriage" business altogether. In an Op-Ed article in Tuesday's Los Angeles Times, Catholic writer and Pepperdine University law professor Douglas Kmiec argues that would be a win-win for everyone in the contentious same-sex marriage debate.

Kmiec argues that the state should stop creating civil marriages, and instead call them all "civil unions" -- gay, straight, or no preference. Marriages, he says, would be religious ceremonies performed in churches, mosques and synagogues -- with those places determining who can and cannot marry within their religious traditions.

In this way, all people are equal before the law -- everyone gets a "civil union," with all the attendant legal rights -- and religious freedom is served, as well, Kmiec writes. It's an interesting idea -- spoken of quietly in debates leading up to last November's Prop. 8 vote -- that seems to be feeling a bit of wind at its back now.

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