You know I'm all about the compromise, about figuring out the middle ground, even if the wingers think that my middle ground is somewhere to the left of Lenin. Who would have thought that The Royals and their silly pathetic middle-aged wedding would show me the way?
For those of you who weren't paying close attention, they didn't marry in church. It seems the Queen as head of the Church of England couldn't really support their marriage. So they married in a private civil ceremony. After the civil ceremony they went to St. George's Chapel the Archbishop of Canterbury performed a blessing ceremony.
This is the answer for all of the wingers who are oh so worried about changing the definition of marriage. And the answer for gay and other sorts of couples who want to unite permanently. Let's separate marriage and the state. State sanctioned unions would morph from 'marriage' to a civil union alone. And any consenting adults could join in a permanent union. Neither states nor the Federal Government would sanction marriage; it would become a private connection sanctioned by churches if they so chose.
The best analogy that I can think of offhand is that of baptism and/or child naming. Parents (or mothers, depending on the jurisdiction) simply tell the state what the name of the child is. Privately and/or religiously the child may be named in a number of ways. It may be baptised, may have a bris, or may have a variety of naming ceremonies within a religious context. Or it may have no religious naming at all. It is simply none of the state's business. But the state recognizes the name, no matter how it is created.
What's wrong with this model? Please, tell me.