Can we agree that the government doesn’t belong in marriage?

This week there’s been a lot of talk about a CEO being forced to resign from his position for donating $1000 to a proposition in California.  This proposition called marriage a union between one man and one woman and received a lot of attention all over the United States. Tonight I read what Matt Walsh had to say on this issue. My original idea was to share his post on Facebook with a little bit of my thoughts. Then I realized that my thoughts were too big for the little room Facebook would give me (or that my friends would read) and my  only choice to share my thoughts would be here.

So, for those of you who read my blog because I write about my faith, here is a warning. This post is a little different. I’m not including a bible verse (sorry, that was a lie. Go check out Philippians 2:12 which tells us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling). This post is not about my faith. This post comes from the libertarian side of me (which I believe I’ve always been but just recently learned what to call it.).

Almost 10 years ago, my husband and I decided to get married. I never dreamed of a big wedding (and my parents offered me money to go to Vegas to get married). I knew I wanted the dress, but other than that I wanted small. Maybe to get married outside, barefoot in the grass. Maybe in a small church (one that even in 2004 looked like the doors were always unlocked) like the one my parents were married in. My husband had a different idea. He thought a sandy beach in the Caribbean would be the perfect place to exchange our vows.

It turns out he was right. Once he said beach, I was sold. It was the best of all worlds. Our closest friends and family would be willing to make the trip, but we wouldn’t have to invite everyone we know. It would be outside. It would be intimate. And let me tell you, it was perfect.

However, it almost didn’t happen like that. My uncle is a preacher, and there was no one else I would have wanted to perform the ceremony that day. My uncle was more than willing to travel with our group of 17 to Saint Thomas, Virgin Islands and do the ceremony. We had a great wedding planner who handled all the details for us. There was one little thing we had to do when we landed on the island 36 hours before the wedding. We had to get the marriage license, and my uncle had to show that he was licensed/ordained to perform the ceremony and the judge had to approve it.

Less than 36 hours before my wedding, my preacher was told he could not do the ceremony and it be a “legal” marriage. There are not words to describe to you how 23 year old me reacted to this news. It was not pretty, and there were a lot of tears.

There was no one for us to call to step in. There was no one else I wanted to be a part of our day. I had been waiting 23 years for this day and the United States government told me my uncle’s pocket membership card with his official information on it was not good enough to perform my marriage ceremony.

Once I was talked down off the ledge, we started discussing options. We didn’t have another minster so just switching was out. We didn’t know anyone on the island (except the wedding planner who was amazing at dealing with my crazy calls). What we did have was each other and faith in God.

A decision was made. The next morning, less than 24 hours from the start time of my wedding, my uncle, my future husband and I would go back to the courthouse and ask the judge to reconsider. If the judge still said no, the wedding would go on as planned, and when we got home we’d go to the justice of the peace and get the official paperwork. And that ceremony would be just as Holy in the eyes of the Lord as if the judge said yes because that piece of paper from the government means nothing to God,

This is my point. I find it insane that the government has to “approve” a marriage. Had the judge said no a second time, we would have had a wedding, and we would have been married in the eyes of our family and the Lord. And it would have been Holy and beautiful.

That day the judge approved our request the second time, but that’s not what this is about. Why is the government telling us who we can and can not marry? How is it possible that one judge in a small family court had the power to approve or deny my marriage?

And why should anyone have that kind of power? Why have we given the government that kind of power over us? Why are they in the marriage business at all? Why should a judge be able to deny my marriage because he didn’t like the paperwork my minister had?

He shouldn’t.

I truly believe that marriage is between the people getting married and God, and the government shouldn’t be involved at all.

If you want to stand before your friends and family and God and vow to love each other until death separates you, then you should be able to. I don’t care if it’s a man and women, two men, two women, a man and three women, or you and your horse. And the government shouldn’t care either. As long as no one is being forced into it, marriage is none of the government’s business.

Again, this is not a faith based discussion, and that leads me back to Philippians 2:12. Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. My personal beliefs and yours on this issue are not important. That’s for a different discussion. What is important is that the government shouldn’t be deciding for anyone who can and can not be married.

I won’t force you into my beliefs if you won’t try to force me into yours. And let’s get the government out of all of it.

There are three of us in my marriage: my husband, my God and me. I have no room in my marriage for the government, and there is no reason for the government to be in it.

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