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Marriage - What do you want out of it?

Culture marriage

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#1 QueenTiye

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 12:55 PM

Because I seem to be queen of the spin-offs these days I'll just continue the trend...

This of course spins off of the Gay Marriage in San Francisco thread.  

The question is this:  What do people want from a civil marriage?

In many religions, the definition of marriage is very clear - not subject to debate.  If you want to get married according to your faith - you follow along with the rules of your faith.  The payoff there is presumably that you are living in accord with the dictates of your belief, perhaps you may believe in the mediation of God in your marriage, gain the benefit of counselling from your spiritual institution...

But a civil marriage is a whole other matter.  The debate over "gay marriage" or any other begins to make me question the whole thing.  I don't really get what people want out of a civil marriage - or why this is such a big issue.  Clearly it is intensely personal for many - and even most who believe in a religious ceremony for marriage won't let that religious ceremony suffice. Rather - they want a civil marriage as well.  Why?  What do they hope to gain?

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Edited by Handmaiden07, 13 February 2004 - 01:38 PM.

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#2 Godeskian

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 12:58 PM

garantuee of commitment? spousal legal status in case of one half dying?
A tax break?

i know that what i'd want out of marriage is the knowledge thaat whomever i was marrying had chosen me, forsaking all others. but then i'm a romantic at heart

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#3 the 'Hawk

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 01:00 PM

I don't want a civil marriage.

(Okay, I don't want to get married at all right now, but still....)

If I ever choose to get married, I would prefer it to be with another Catholic, that the sacrament of marriage might be given something other than lip-service on my part.

If the woman I fall in love with and want to marry proves not to be Catholic, I'm going to respect her will. If she chooses to convert to Catholicism, fine. If she wants me to change my religion, no deal. If she wants to remain of her faith (whatever that faith may be), I'm not going to pressure her.

I still regard any matrimonial bond I choose to be a part of to be essentially sacramental in nature. And I would honour it as such, to the end of my days.

But all of this is just for me. My moralistic qualities extend as far around me as I do. I wouldn't dare impose my view of what a marriage should be on anyone else, even other Catholics. Some things I save just for me.

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#4 Jid

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 01:06 PM

Handmaiden07, on Feb 13 2004, 11:53 AM, said:

Clearly it is intensely personal for many - and even most who believe in a religious ceremony for marriage won't let that religious ceremon suffice. Rather - they want a civil marriage as well.
Well... this is both true and false imo - having had to attend many a wedding (large extended family plus being competent enough to get paid to operate a sound board...) most organized religion's ministers are "sanctioned by the state" as well as within the context of the religion and so you're really getting both in a one shot deal ;)

In the event your religious minister is not allowed by law to perform marriages in the civil sense, then you'd have to decide if you want to go ahead with it.

Of course, people may want a marriage - civil or religious - for a variety of reasons.  Certianly it doesn't have to be for taxation/financial purposes.  In Canada, after a period of a few years, people who live together without officially getting hitched become "common law" partners and are as such entitled to spousal tax benefits, etc.  Similarily, it's easy enough to file for a joint bank account, without being married.

It may just be simply a formal 'contract' or agreement putting into words what both feel - a desire to commit to a relationship.

I think much of the debate over  "non-conventional marriages" is 75% people associating the word "marriage" with an exclusively spiritual/religious ceremony (which has obvious implications) and 25% people thinking about tax implications, etc.

Personally, I don't know what I want out of marriage.  I'd much rather find someone I love before I start thinking of terms of union, etc.  Cart before the horse, and all that ;)

Edited by Jid, 13 February 2004 - 01:08 PM.

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#5 the 'Hawk

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 01:19 PM

Jid, on Feb 13 2004, 01:04 PM, said:

most organized religion's ministers are "sanctioned by the state" as well as within the context of the religion and so you're really getting both in a one shot deal ;)
There is that, too. ;)

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#6 QueenTiye

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 01:23 PM

the'Hawk, on Feb 13 2004, 12:58 PM, said:

I don't want a civil marriage.

(Okay, I don't want to get married at all right now, but still....)

If I ever choose to get married, I would prefer it to be with another Catholic, that the sacrament of marriage might be given something other than lip-service on my part.

If the woman I fall in love with and want to marry proves not to be Catholic, I'm going to respect her will. If she chooses to convert to Catholicism, fine. If she wants me to change my religion, no deal. If she wants to remain of her faith (whatever that faith may be), I'm not going to pressure her.

I still regard any matrimonial bond I choose to be a part of to be essentially sacramental in nature. And I would honour it as such, to the end of my days.

But all of this is just for me. My moralistic qualities extend as far around me as I do. I wouldn't dare impose my view of what a marriage should be on anyone else, even other Catholics. Some things I save just for me.

:cool:
Kinda answering you and Jid at once...

I assume that Catholic ministers in Canada are "sanctioned" to perform marriages by law - and so a Catholic marriage would automatically fulfill marriage requirements.  But what if that were NOT the case?  What if you lived in a country where religious ceremonies were universally NOT recognized by the state?  Would you, after having a sacramental ceremony performed, have a civil one? Why, or why not?

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#7 Jid

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 01:30 PM

^ Well, I'm not Catholic, but you're right, I do believe.

Would I have a civil ceremony too?

Depends on what my spouse thought of it, and how much easier it would make life in the whole "official" capacity.

(Besides, one could always just ask their minister/whatever title of respect they deserve if they would object to obtaining their JoP certification ;) )
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#8 the 'Hawk

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 01:36 PM

The civil benefits of a union and the religious freedom to be married under the church co-exist. They necessarily have to. Civil law has no grounds to suppress religious freedom, and religions don't have any jurisdiction over civil matters. But that's just in Canada.

Suppose for a second I was, um.... a member of the Cilohtac Church. Some splinter group not sanctioned by law. In China. Would I go through with both the religious sacrament and the civil union? No. I'd pick a religious bond over a civil one. Because being a Cilohtac would have eternal ramifications. They can do whatever they want to me in this life. I don't care. My faith means more. Maybe I'd become an, um... rytram for the faith. Yeah.

Point is, the sacrament means more to me than the civil benefits. It necessarily has to-- I don't stand in damnation of my soul for violating a fully secular civil union. My conscience can live with that. My soul can't tolerate me violating sacraments. So I'd have to put myself in God's hands and choose to be wed under His eyes regardless of the state.

Chances are in such a system, I'd already be a missionary-terrorist type anyway. I doubt, being who I am, that I could go on living under such a system for long anyway. This is why I'm not taking a teach-in-China job anytime soon. They'd disappear me so fast.... ;)

:cool:
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#9 Drew

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 01:37 PM

the'Hawk, on Feb 13 2004, 12:34 PM, said:

Chances are in such a system, I'd already be a missionary-terrorist type anyway.
Oh, speaking of that . . . in a couple minutes you'll have a PM from me.  :cool:
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#10 Shalamar

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 02:04 PM

Cross posted from the other thread at  'Hawks suggestion.

Additionally - on the religous side...

I'm wiccan. My religion doesn't say word one about marriage being solely between a man and a woman. To me having the government state that marriage is between solely a man and a woman is the government crossing over into religion on behalf of those religions that veiw marriage as solely between a man and a woman...and there goes the seperation of church and state.

Taking away my freedom to practise my religion.

I don't get up on my soap box often but this has become a stick in my craw if you will excuse the 'Hawk ism.

If a persons religous beliefs state that marriage is between a man and a woman, thats fine, it is their right, but damn it don't shove it down my throat! Your religion is your religion and mine is mine.

(This a general 'your' not addressed to any one in specific, unless some one makes it so )

This country was founded on the notion of religous freedom, and it seems to me that too many people see religous freedom as being only for their religion

and just to clairify...I never cottoned to the term 'civil union', just not me...to me marriage is the term I use wether it's a common law marriage, a religious marriage or one performed by a Justice of the Peace ( here in Texas you live together long enought it is a 'common law' mariage, and I've never known a priest/minister or what have you here in Texas whos presiding over the ceremony wasn't the same as a JP performing it )
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#11 Kevin Street

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 02:28 PM

Handmaiden07, on Feb 13 2004, 11:21 AM, said:

I assume that Catholic ministers in Canada are "sanctioned" to perform marriages by law - and so a Catholic marriage would automatically fulfill marriage requirements.  But what if that were NOT the case?  What if you lived in a country where religious ceremonies were universally NOT recognized by the state?  Would you, after having a sacramental ceremony performed, have a civil one? Why, or why not?
Well, the civil union is the one that would have legal standing, so I guess that's the one I'd most want done. That way, the law would recognize both people as partners, which would entitle us to a different tax status and financial status, potentially give my spouse certain benefits if I suddenly died, and things like that. The religious union would be more of a conscious choice, while the civil one is is something of an obligation.

Looking back on it, I think most of my friends only had the civil union (they're all married now, alas), mostly because they couldn't afford church weddings. In fact, I haven't been to a religious wedding ceremony in at least ten years. They all tended to be large, expensive affairs with big parties afterward (usually paid for by the parents), and people around here just don't have the money to spend on such things anymore. Everybody's already in debt from student loans. ;) Then there's the divorce thing to consider. Do you really want to rent a church when there's at least a fifty percent chance the marriage will end in divorce in the first year?
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#12 G-man

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 02:44 PM

I believe that with Civil Marraiges, this is done to be recognized in the eyes of the law that these two people are married.  And because they are married in the eyes of the law, they benefit in terms of inheritance laws, and would probably benefit in terms of trying to adopt a child since there would be two parents to provide care.  After all, isn't that ultimately the whole point of marriage to form the nucleous(sp?) of a family?

Now, what should make up a family is what I believe is coming under attack here, as the conventional view is that a proper functional nuclear family has a mother, a father, and children.  But given that this is occurring largely within a home, I feel that the government has no business defining what a family is, and as long as the group of people are law-abiding, responsible, and tax paying then they should be allowed to call themselves a family, or married, or whatever else they like because this is their business.

(looks up)

I hope that makes sense.

/s/

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#13 Drew

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 02:48 PM

Kevin Street, on Feb 13 2004, 01:26 PM, said:

Looking back on it, I think most of my friends only had the civil union (they're all married now, alas), mostly because they couldn't afford church weddings. In fact, I haven't been to a religious wedding ceremony in at least ten years. They all tended to be large, expensive affairs with big parties afterward (usually paid for by the parents), and people around here just don't have the money to spend on such things anymore. Everybody's already in debt from student loans. ;) Then there's the divorce thing to consider.
So you don't really mean that they couldn't afford a church wedding. What you really mean is that they couldn't afford to throw a huge party.  :cool:  

Quote

Do you really want to rent a church when there's at least a fifty percent chance the marriage will end in divorce in the first year?

Well, our church charged us exactly $0.00 to have our ceremony there. The marriage license from the state cost us quite a bit more.  :cool:
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#14 Drew

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 02:51 PM

G-man, on Feb 13 2004, 01:42 PM, said:

I hope that makes sense.
No, it makes sense. It also makes me want to secede from the union like SF is doing, but for the opposite reason.
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#15 G-man

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 02:54 PM

:blink:

Secede from the union as a reaction to the government trying to define what a family can and cannot be?  Right?

/s/

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#16 Kevin Street

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 03:01 PM

Drew, on Feb 13 2004, 12:46 PM, said:

So you don't really mean that they couldn't afford a church wedding. What you really mean is that they couldn't afford to throw a huge party.  :cool:
Isn't it the same thing?

Quote

Well, our church charged us exactly $0.00 to have our ceremony there. The marriage license from the state cost us quite a bit more.  :cool:

That's quite surprising. I was under the impression that the church required quite a bit of money (in the form of a gratuity rather than a direct payment) for wedding ceremonies, the use of a minister, parking, and so on - but that may be a local thing, or I could just be wrong. It has been a long time.

#17 Drew

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Posted 13 February 2004 - 03:21 PM

Kevin Street, on Feb 13 2004, 01:59 PM, said:

Quote

Well, our church charged us exactly $0.00 to have our ceremony there. The marriage license from the state cost us quite a bit more.  :cool:

That's quite surprising. I was under the impression that the church required quite a bit of money (in the form of a gratuity rather than a direct payment) for wedding ceremonies, the use of a minister, parking, and so on - but that may be a local thing, or I could just be wrong. It has been a long time.
(Warning . . . off topic anecdotal stuff)

There was a recommended gratuity, and we went a little above it because our pastor was getting ready to move to NYC. We also gave some money to the person running the sound system. But none of this was required.

We also used the church hall for our reception and that cost us only $50.00.

The biggest expense for our wedding was the caterer--who I almost fired on the day before the wedding. (In retrospect I should have.) It's possible to have a very nice wedding and reception without spending a whole lot of money.
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#18 Lady Maigrey

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 12:26 AM

In 1988 Dan and I were living common law. The Military [at that time] did not recognize a common law relationship. Dan spent from Jan - Jun away on course, in Ontario, while I stayed home to work in Alberta. The day Dan was due home, he received his posting message. We were due to be married in Catholic Church in July of 88. The Military wanted to post him out to BC before our marriage. Because we were only common law prior to the posting, he could not apply for Military housing, could not have my personal effects moved with his, and probably would not have been given leave from his new Base to 'get married'.

So, on 18 Jun 88, the day after Dan returned from course [after blood tests and applying for a license] we were married by a Justice of The Peace in the basement of the Palliser Hotel in Calgary. Immediately afterwards, everything Military changed. Because of that little piece of paper, we were allowed an extension to the posting [after the Church ceremony], we got a house, we were entitled to all the rights and privileges that being common law hadn't.

The fun part was telling our parents we were already married, before our wedding *sigh* Dad [who paid for the whole church/reception] didn't find out for about 5 years - by then it didn't matter. We were re-married in the Catholic Church on 30 Jul 88.

We didn't have a choice. So yes, I married the same guy twice in one year. On the upside I get two anniversaries a year ;) On the downside, I feel I've been married twice as long LOL

Does anyone else see the wrongness in this? We should go back to the old handfasting...

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#19 Rhea

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 01:50 PM

I think that a civil union (as opposed to a religious marriage) ought to cover all same bases that it does now - co-ownership of property, the right to shared benefits, including death benefits, the right of one spouse to make decisions for the other if the other is incapacitated, protection of children, and any tax benefits that accrue to heterosexual families (since I'm single I already KNOW nobody's ever gonna give me a tax break!  :p ).

The sacramental aspects should be left to whatever religion the two people involved practice.

Many countries have ALWAYS had separate religious and civil ceremonies.
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#20 Brynhilde

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Posted 14 February 2004 - 02:13 PM

[Rambling]
Well, I think that everyone should have the right to get married if they want to, or not to if they'd rather not. I also think that the effects of church weddings, civil weddings (and also that co-habitation over a long period of time, if they so wish) should be the same because not all non-religious people want to get married, yet they still want the co-ownership of property and rights etc. I appreciate the differences, and as long as one isn't prized higher than the other its fair. People dont' deserve to be descriminated against because of things like that. Besides, my uncle and aunt have been together for 20 something years and not got married, even though it means that co-ownership by law is tricky (especially where they live, on the French-Swiss border) but what matters is that they're together, that they love each other and that they're happy.
[/Rambling]

And as for what I want out of marriage, primarily: someone to love me for who I am, to be with always; for support, love and friendship; for me to be housewife to; to be the father of my children etc (to greet him after work, make him dinner, nice things like that etc :)) A life like that would be lovely :D for those reasons rather than for legal stuff or money or anything

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