Common-law marriage

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Common-law marriage



As some of you know, I support civil unions not just for homosexual couples, but also heterosexual couples as well who find the concept of the word marriage to laden with historical or religious references to use to describe their coupling. This is treated dubiously by some who want nothing less than full homosexual marriage. However when I run across an article like this one, which describes the views of heterosexual couples, I find it pretty informative that my view is not alone, nor is it a hateful view.



Hopefully you will read this and see that supporting the "marriage-lite" option they mentioned in the article (basically filing a legal record) isn't attempting to impose hate on a group of people.



Nick
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 25
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    My understanding of common law marriage was that is was intended and used for people that were kinda outside the law. You know like if you're a pioneer and you get hitched on the range and there's no court house to register the marriage at. Or maybe you?re a hillbilly that hasn?t been off your mountain but you and your woman are hitched.



    In this day and age it's moot. People are educated, they have access to courts, they know what marriage is and choose not to be. Sure they can say ?We?re married? but if they don?t do the simple step of getting a marriage license then ? they are not legally married.



    So I think the court is right.
  • Reply 2 of 25
    Why must marriage be somthing that is handled by a govt agency?

    Can't we keep the govt out of the bedroom?
  • Reply 3 of 25
    chinneychinney Posts: 1,019member
    Actually, I would like to do away with the involvement of the government in marriage. And I do not say this as an anti-government crusader ? as indeed I am quite the opposite on many other issues. It is just that I view marriage as a matter first and foremost as between the two people being married and, if they are religious, their church, and if they want to do it before others, their friends and family.



    For the purpose of state benefits and other legal matters that traditionally have been associated with marriage, I would replace this with the concept of registered unions, which should be open to anyone who sets up a life/household together. Legal consequences would also apply with respect to support for children and for support for partners in the case of break-up of a union where a long-term dependency situation has been created. None of this would depend on ?marriage? as indeed, is already the case in many places.



    But marriage itself is, in my view, a deeply personal matter, not a legal matter. Whether and how people are ?married? is entirely up to them. Whether a church ? or other non-state intuition - should perform or recognize a marriage, including a homosexual marriage, would be entirely up to the individual church or non-state institution, not the law. And if people are married without a ceremony conducted by any church or other non-state institution ? or any ceremony at all, for that matter - that would be fine as well. It would be entirely up to them.



    So yes, there would be ?gay? marriages, because there are gay couples who would consider themselves married. And guess what, throughout history, there always have been. Everyone should relax on this issue.
  • Reply 4 of 25
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    I say this 'marriage lite' is fine, as long as everyone has to do it. If you get married in a church, you still have to go sign the marriage papers to make it legal and binding. A church ceremony is just that, a church event, not a legal one. Make everyone live up to the same set standard and all is well.



    This way the churches can keep homosexual marriages out of their churches if they so choose and couples of the same sex can, if their state allows, go get this marriage document.



    If common law isn't good enough because it's not made official by a member of the government then a church isn't good enough either.
  • Reply 5 of 25
    scottscott Posts: 7,431member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by JimDreamworx

    Why must marriage be somthing that is handled by a govt agency?

    Can't we keep the govt out of the bedroom?






    Because so many of our laws that deal with property also deal with marriage.
  • Reply 6 of 25
    chinneychinney Posts: 1,019member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by Scott

    Because so many of our laws that deal with property also deal with marriage.



    I does not have to be that way. See my detailed suggestion up above. The legal aspect of personal unions can be dealt with entirely separately from marriage. There is no need for the state to involve itself in marriage itself. I believe that some European countries have implemented this solution, or something similar to it. Canada, unfortunately, does not appear to be headed in this sensible direction.
  • Reply 7 of 25
    pfflampfflam Posts: 5,053member
    Surprisingly enough I agree completely with Chinney on this: with the exception of saying that Marriage is NOT only a personal thing.



    Marriage is about kinship relations, about the relationship between families and, by extension, is a social contract . . . in 'primitive' societies the notions of what or who you can marry are intimitly linked to the social hierarchy and structure.



    Where I agree with Chinney is that in our culture I feel that it is by no means necessary for people to acknowledge this when choosing to 'get hitched' . . . . they can keep it as 'personal' as they imagine it to be, disregarding the deeper realities of social relationships.



    I would say one other thing though, which is: the illusion that marriage is ONLY personal is similar to the Right's illusory understanding in general that we are merely isolated autonomous subjects, radical individuals with only economic inter-relationships as worth pursuing . . .
  • Reply 8 of 25
    chinneychinney Posts: 1,019member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by pfflam

    Surprisingly enough I agree completely with Chinney on this: with the exception of saying that Marriage is NOT only a personal thing.



    Marriage is about kinship relations, about the relationship between families and, by extension, is a social contract . . . in 'primitive' societies the notions of what or who you can marry are intimitly linked to the social hierarchy and structure.



    Where I agree with Chinney is that in our culture I feel that it is by no means necessary for people to acknowledge this when choosing to 'get hitched' . . . . they can keep it as 'personal' as they imagine it to be, disregarding the deeper realities of social relationships.



    I would say one other thing though, which is: the illusion that marriage is ONLY personal is similar to the Right's illusory understanding in general that we are merely isolated autonomous subjects, radical individuals with only economic inter-relationships as worth pursuing . . .




    Wow - first time it has been suggested on these boards that anything I post would be consistent with the "Right" side of the political spectrum I thought that I was making another liberal post.



    Actually, upon reflection, I really think that I was making a liberal case for marriage, at least in the sense that I understand "liberal". And, surprisingly, what pfflam is suggesting would be consistent with a very old-fashioned conservative view of marriage: one where marriage is largely determined - and limited - by societal constraints. Don't marry outside of your station...don't marry somebody your parents don't approve of...don't marry somebody your parents friends don't approve of... [No personal criticism intended here pfflam...I just found your post a bit curious, and perhaps I misunderstood.]



    While I do not reject society or societal relationships, I feel that deeply personal things, like marriage, should be a matter of personal choice. This is an area where personal liberty indeed should reign. Perhaps I am being judgmental of our ancestors - and of societies today where marriage is still entirely determined by societal expectations - but so be it. I think this is an area where modern Western individualism is entirely correct.
  • Reply 9 of 25
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    Separate but equal marriages for gays?



    *tsk* *tsk* *tsk*

    Apparently we learn nothing from our own recent history.
  • Reply 10 of 25
    amorphamorph Posts: 7,112member
    I would put state support of marriage in terms of support for the children of the marriage, since it is in any nation's interest to see to the nurturing of its future citizens (which is not to say that nations automatically do that...). Marriage ceases to be a purely personal issue as soon as an utterly helpless little human enters the picture. At that point, any number of social institutions enter the picture, often out of necessity: The need to support new parents and their children is reflected in a thousand different kinds of social conventions (baby showers, to name one) and so it's not a very big leap from there to state support. Even the religious conventions I'm aware of deal primarily with a given congregation's pledge to support members who are new parents and their children as well.



    Now, for millenia there was one way to bring an utterly helpless little human into the picture, and the man and woman who did so tended to keep the child as their own. Now there are several options, including adoption, surrogate motherhood and artificial insemination (I think artificial incubation is a good ways away). These can be used by straight couples, but they also open the door to gay couples. Either way, the point at issue as far as a state's institution of marriage is concerned is that two people have decided to take on the obligation of raising a child - a future citizen, wage earner, policy maker, reformer, or any number of other possibilities. Even if the only assistance the state offers comes in the form of relief from its usual demands (tax breaks, for example), it's still assistance, and it's still in the interest of the nation to see that the parents are successful in raising the child (leaving the definition of "success" up to the parents, within reason - the state's definition should stop at "alive and well enough educated to participate meaningfully."). This need is particularly acute in a democratic republic, which is why Jefferson got public education rolling.



    Any additional support offered by families, communities and churches is gravy. But if the government is going to recognize marriage at all, it should be as a means to ease the costly and grueling work of raising a child, just to set a baseline in case the other traditional support structures don't kick in.



    Of course, this should not be read to mean that couples who can't or don't have children should be thrown out of the institution. That's a worthy exception to allow in order to support as many child-bearing families as easily as possible.
  • Reply 11 of 25
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,455member
    George Will brings some interesting perspective to this matter this week.



    Quote:

    Opponents of same-sex marriages argue, inter alia, that such marriages will weaken marriage and injure society's interest in stable family units. Proponents argue, inter alia, that giving same-sex couples the choice of marriage, with its presumption of permanence expressed in a network of responsibilities and privileges, will reform not only homosexual life but society as a whole by strengthening the virtues that marriage is supposed to sustain.



    There is inadequate evidence to confirm either proposition. And there is no evidence that either the Massachusetts court or the U.S. Supreme Court realize how far the logic of their recent rulings goes. Taken together, the rulings point toward a constitutional right to, among other things, polygamy.



    Last June, the U.S. Supreme Court, overturning Texas anti-sodomy laws, spoke of a need to respect "autonomy of the self ... (in) certain intimate conduct." The Massachusetts court, taking its bearings from that ruling, cited "respect for individual autonomy" -- emphasis added -- when defining marriage simply as "the exclusive and permanent commitment of the married partners to one another."



    The binary idea of marriage -- friends and foes of gay marriage agree it is an institution involving couples -- arose because there are two sexes. But if the meaning of marriage and the right to marital status is sufficiently defined with reference to "autonomy of the self ... (in) certain intimate conduct," what principled, nonarbitrary ground is there for denying the right of marriage to, say, a threesome whose members insist that it is necessary for their self-fulfillment through intimacy?



    Will on Marriage



    Will wisely doesn't mention some forms of consentual adult behavior that people quickly use to distract from the core issue of the matter regarding the Texas Supreme Court. However he does make a convincing argument about the likelyhood of future rulings regarding polygamy if the logic is continued out.



    The only thing that really compelled marriage to be a two party affair in the past was the fact that it took place between two different genders. It was much easier to claim that each only deserved one. However if the gender argument is removed, why not polygamy? I'm sure bisexual and transgendered folks could argue that their rights are still being violated.



    Likewise Will mentions, what I have mentioned, that not all homosexuals endorse marriage for homosexuals. Will mentions that marriage is an institution not just or rights, but of responsibilities. Much like how some civil rights leaders claim for example that blacks shouldn't have to act white to get their due rights, there are homosexuals who claim they should have to act straight to be accorded certain rights.



    Nick
  • Reply 12 of 25
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    Quote:

    However if the gender argument is removed, why not polygamy? I'm sure bisexual and transgendered folks could argue that their rights are still being violated.



    Polygamy existed as an issue before gay marriage was an issue, so attempting to make a slippery-slope argument in that regard is a bit disingenuous.



    Polygamy was outlawed in 1862 as a way to further attack Mormons, who were at the time gaining political and economic power wherever they gathered en masse. The roots of anti-polygamy legislation come from England based on the 17th century Church of England stance that polygamy was an insult to the sanctity of marriage. And that's it.



    In practice, some weirdo "Mormons" (non-sanctioned Church off-shoots) practice arranged marriages whereby girls are either forced to be married or are married before legal age of consent, which are both naughty.



    But when it comes to men/women of consenting legal age... why not?



    Quote:

    Likewise Will mentions, what I have mentioned, that not all homosexuals endorse marriage for homosexuals. Will mentions that marriage is an institution not just or rights, but of responsibilities. Much like how some civil rights leaders claim for example that blacks shouldn't have to act white to get their due rights, there are homosexuals who claim they should have to act straight to be accorded certain rights.



    I don't see an argument in there.

    Not all gays want gay marriage... so?

    What does "act straight" mean?
  • Reply 13 of 25
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,455member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by groverat

    Polygamy existed as an issue before gay marriage was an issue, so attempting to make a slippery-slope argument in that regard is a bit disingenuous.



    Polygamy was outlawed in 1862 as a way to further attack Mormons, who were at the time gaining political and economic power wherever they gathered en masse. The roots of anti-polygamy legislation come from England based on the 17th century Church of England stance that polygamy was an insult to the sanctity of marriage. And that's it.



    In practice, some weirdo "Mormons" (non-sanctioned Church off-shoots) practice arranged marriages whereby girls are either forced to be married or are married before legal age of consent, which are both naughty.



    But when it comes to men/women of consenting legal age... why not?







    I don't see an argument in there.

    Not all gays want gay marriage... so?

    What does "act straight" mean?




    I think you are perceiving me wrong. I have simply stated that if you follow through the court opinion that declared that the government basically cannot regulate or legislate sexual behavior between consenting adults, then it applies in other areas as well. I haven't even spoken against polygamy.



    What does act straight mean? I don't know, you would have to ask the homosexual acquaintance who said it to me. I still don't quite get how someone can "act white."



    If I were to venture a guess though, it would be that there are segments of the homosexual population who, free of the desires to have children or be monogomous with one partner basically get to club, party, sleep and possibly drug around. This is equally true of some heterosexual people, but that darn offspring issue isn't guaranteed to never raise it's head. Likewise while some male on male sex is considered rape, the issue of male consent with sex really isn't something we think about as a society. (we have had several discussions though where I have said I wouldn't compel heterosexuals to parent either. Likewise I have advocated dealing with rape differently as well)



    I would guess that it talks about the rights still having some responsibilities. It basically endorses monogomy. Having children be it via natural or artificial means. Buying the house, SUV, and going to the burb's where you discuss how your mutual funds are doing. (This sort of sounds a lot like the acting white thing from what I understand as well)



    This means they are "safe"(based off the assumptions I am making from anecdotal discussions) and not truly acting like homosexuals. It is probably more splitting hairs from a more militant few than a general view. I mentioned it more in passing. Obviously in the civil rights area there are still issues of what constitutes acceptance of people of color even though there really aren't any more laws attempting to hold back or segregate a particular group of people with regard to skin color. So just as there are folks claiming that racial issues aren't over just because the laws aren't there anymore means that there will likely still be groups claiming homosexuals still don't have full acceptance even when given the right to marry.



    Nick
  • Reply 14 of 25
    bungebunge Posts: 7,329member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by George Will

    Proponents argue, inter alia, that giving same-sex couples the choice of marriage, with its presumption of permanence expressed in a network of responsibilities and privileges, will reform not only homosexual life but society as a whole by strengthening the virtues that marriage is supposed to sustain.



    Is this guy serious? I think most people who want gay marriage want it because they don't want to be screwed out of a potential inheritance or hospital visitation rights. He may be right that there isn't enough proof to support this grand vision he has, but I think he's the only one making this argument.
  • Reply 15 of 25
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    Quote:

    I think you are perceiving me wrong. I have simply stated that if you follow through the court opinion that declared that the government basically cannot regulate or legislate sexual behavior between consenting adults, then it applies in other areas as well. I haven't even spoken against polygamy.



    Nor have I said you did.



    I merely expand the question, why is polygamy illegal?



    Quote:

    What does act straight mean? I don't know, you would have to ask the homosexual acquaintance who said it to me. I still don't quite get how someone can "act white."



    Surely you point out that aspect of Will's argument for a reason?



    Quote:

    If I were to venture a guess though, it would be that there are segments of the homosexual population who, free of the desires to have children or be monogomous with one partner basically get to club, party, sleep and possibly drug around. This is equally true of some heterosexual people, but that darn offspring issue isn't guaranteed to never raise it's head.



    Take a pill and it is guaranteed to never raise its ugly head. Lots and lots of married couples never have children and no one with a sane mind would say only child-producing couples should be married.



    So this argument falls apart against gay marriage.



    Quote:

    This means they are "safe"(based off the assumptions I am making from anecdotal discussions) and not truly acting like homosexuals. It is probably more splitting hairs from a more militant few than a general view. I mentioned it more in passing.



    You mentioned it in passing, yes, but it is a large part of the anti-gay marriage argument; the idea that homosexuals will corrupt the sanctity of marriage with their "deliciously decadent" (props David Cross) lifestyle.



    Obvious silliness.
  • Reply 16 of 25
    brbr Posts: 8,395member
    I think that, if anything, the national divorce rate of 50% damages the institution of marriage more than allowing gays to go about their business could possibly ever do (although I disagree with the premise that gays getting married would damage marriage in the first place).
  • Reply 17 of 25
    trumptmantrumptman Posts: 16,455member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by groverat

    Nor have I said you did.



    I merely expand the question, why is polygamy illegal?





    Polygamy is likely illegal because it hasn't yet been challenged under this new "understanding" where the right to privacy has been expanded to include anything done between consenting adults. The logical conclusion of that ruling is that the government has no business attempting to govern the sexual mores of consenting adults.



    Quote:

    Surely you point out that aspect of Will's argument for a reason?



    I don't think Will mentioned it. I did while making reference to Will. Will mentions that many believe marriage a set or rights or in the vocabulary of some, priveleges. The trade-off of those are responsibilities. I merely mentioned that there are people in the homosexual community and minority communities that believe there should be no trade off. So they believe, and I think, rightly so, that you shouldn't have to be married to visit someone as "family" in a hospital.



    As for who you leave property to, as long as you have a will or trust that isn't an issue at all. This issue usually comes up when there is a lack of estate planning and dependents left from prior relationships. (read when the guy or gal was straight) If the man did not name his partner, the state will likely award the majority share of his estate to his former wife for example while granting the partner little or nothing.



    Quote:

    Take a pill and it is guaranteed to never raise its ugly head. Lots and lots of married couples never have children and no one with a sane mind would say only child-producing couples should be married.



    So this argument falls apart against gay marriage.



    Huh? I know a number of women who have gotten pregnant while on the pill. There was even a recent case where a woman got a support order against a doctor who had botched a sterilization and then the woman became pregnant.



    I never claimed that only child-bearing couples should be married. What I said is that the child bearing factor doesn't have to factor into the homosexual lifestyle unless they choose to make it so. I said that even when a man and woman are choosing a childless lifestyle, there is always the possibility it could still happen.



    Quote:

    You mentioned it in passing, yes, but it is a large part of the anti-gay marriage argument; the idea that homosexuals will corrupt the sanctity of marriage with their "deliciously decadent" (props David Cross) lifestyle.



    What I was mentioning is that some homosexuals believe that in the quest to gain acceptance from heterosexuals, homosexuals will sacrifice aspects of the homosexual lifestyle. You do have to remember that the reasoning isn't one way. If there are heterosexuals that believe that homosexuals can corrupt heterosexual institutions, there are homosexuals that believe that heterosexuals can corrupt homosexual institutions.



    I have said before that I think the biggest opposition to homosexual marriage is simply religion and history. You can get the same benefits, call it a civil union, and be done with it instead of trying to argue about 55-60% out of their definition for a word.



    Most amusing about this is that common-law couples realize this and homosexual couples should too. I'm sure many already do. That is they declare themselves married and live as such even when there isn't a state entity that has registered it.



    Nick
  • Reply 18 of 25
    709709 Posts: 2,016member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by trumptman

    What I was mentioning is that some homosexuals believe that in the quest to gain acceptance from heterosexuals, homosexuals will sacrifice aspects of the homosexual lifestyle.



    Or exaggerate aspects of the homosexual lifestyle.







    Steven Cojocaru is an affront to gayness.
  • Reply 19 of 25
    chinneychinney Posts: 1,019member
    Quote:

    Originally posted by trumptman

    You can get the same benefits, call it a civil union, and be done with it instead of trying to argue about 55-60% out of their definition for a word.



    Most amusing about this is that common-law couples realize this and homosexual couples should too. I'm sure many already do. That is they declare themselves married and live as such even when there isn't a state entity that has registered it.







    Fine. But why not just get rid of state-sanctioned marriage altogether? I still do not understand why it is necessary for the state to intervene to declare people married at all.



    I note Amorph's well-written and thoughtful intervention on the benefits of state marriage above, but I believe that all of the meaningful state support for couples with children can be provided quite apart from any state intervention to recognize the marriage itself.



    I am a strong supporter of marriage, and of marriage as an institution that can be beneficial to the offspring that can arise as its consequence. But to me marriage is a pledge that I made to my wife (and, in my case, before God). I don't see what it added when I signed the register afterwards as "married". That did nothing extra for me in terms of my feelings about the marriage itself.
  • Reply 20 of 25
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    Quote:

    The logical conclusion of that ruling is that the government has no business attempting to govern the sexual mores of consenting adults.



    w00t!



    Quote:

    ... you shouldn't have to be married to visit someone as "family" in a hospital. ...&... As for who you leave property to, as long as you have a will or trust that isn't an issue at all.



    Separate but equal is inherently unequal.



    Quote:

    I never claimed that only child-bearing couples should be married.



    I know, I said "no one with a sane mind". I consider you sane. Reactionary and fearful, but sane.



    Quote:

    I have said before that I think the biggest opposition to homosexual marriage is simply religion and history. You can get the same benefits, call it a civil union, and be done with it instead of trying to argue about 55-60% out of their definition for a word.



    Again, separate but equal is inherently unequal.
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