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'I Now Pronounce You [Bride, Groom, Spouse, Party, Person Now Free to Schtoop]'

by Jeremy Hooper

Wanna see yet another "pro-family" person putting out straw man arguments in order to muddy the lines between the concepts of civil marriage and religious marriage ceremony? Well check out the following little quip. According to WorldNetDaily, this line was written by Pastor Doug Bird after he learned that California's civil marriage licenses now use the neutral language "Party A" and "Party B" rather than the gender-specific "bride" and "groom":

"What's next?" ..."Will the State of California force [ministers] to use the terms "Party A" and "Party B" in the ceremony itself?"

It's a simple line, for sure. But it's a simple line that says plenty about how our opposition views this "culture war" battle over marriage. And while a terse line, it's yet another instance of a "pro-family" person merging civil matters of state with matters of faith in a way that wastes time and confuses the debate.

Here's the thing: A wedding officiant, be they religious or secular, can essentially pronounce the two parties "Stinky butt" and "Cheese Toast" if they want. There are virtually no state laws regulating what takes pace at the ceremony itself, and no gay activist is urging the government to weigh in on the ancillary concept that is the modern wedding ceremony! The state does require a civil license and a witness or two. You also need someone, be they religious or secular, who is authorized to solemnize the marriage, and that person needs to perform the certain procedural duties required of them. But the flowery ceremonial language? Well it's not up for any sort of debate!

But with our opposition, the mind always jumps to a fear-mongery place in which they are "forced" to do something that goes against their faith. So the decision to make the civil language gender neutral is not looked at as a common sense act of accommodation. Instead, it's presented as a far-reaching attempt to threaten their ministers' tongues. Now, this makes sense from a strategic standpoint, since removing this conversation from a place of civil rights and instead repackaging it as a discussion about "religious freedom" is the basis of the "pro-marriage" movement. There also might be an element of authenticity for many of them, since one whose life is deeply connected to religion might have trouble viewing the civil and religious wedding components in separate ways. We understand and respect that. But if we want to cut through the spin and get to a place of authenticity, we've got to start nipping these silly asides in the bud so that we can take on the actual elements that pertain to the actual discussion. We should be talking about what the denial of right and benefits does to gays families. We should be talking about how a majority should not be able to use their heightened numbers to overpower a minority's deserved freedom. We should be talking about the separation of matters of church and state. But as for our opposition's attempts to make the discussion about how THEY might be affected on a religious level? Well those are self-absorbed, de-intellectualizing, non-pertinent red herrings that will only prolong this civil conversation.

California bans 'brides,' 'grooms' [WND]

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Your thoughts

After all - you say "yes I do" on a wedding - this means you create a sacred bond for life.

Posted by: Wedding | Jun 20, 2009 2:28:39 PM

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