Because of the juggling between blogging services, I’ve decided to post the entire story. You can find it here.
You reference in the epilogue a church-only wedding… When I got married I had the “traditional” church and state wedding, only later reading about reasons to not have the state part done. You may be familiar with the “Virgil Cooper” article, copied on various websites around the net. One example is at http://www.usavsus.info/US–MarriageLicVirgilCooper.htm. I’m not sure how much of this to believe and am curious to know your thoughts.
The Cooper story sounds realistic enough. The particulars do vary from state to state, but the concept is essentially accurate.
In ancient times, a public marriage ceremony prevented accidental poaching. “This my woman; you no touch!” In a religious setting, the deity becomes a party to the covenant. Does anyone have to explain how lack of enforcement threatens social stability? The State originally got involved because of property disputes. The State felt it had an interest purely on the basis of taxation, etc. As the State doctrine regarding its interest in all economic assets drifted farther into what is now, in essence, a blend of fascism and socialism, you come to realize Cooper’s warning is too little too late.
Some states still recognize marriages which did not include a proper license. Texas, for example, will allow folks to claim they are married when the woman simply insists on using her married name on her driver’s license. She need not present documentation. I believe the Texas courts keep their hands off until something is brought to their attention via complaint, though I am told this is now drifting to more intrusive controls.
While I still offer to sign a marriage license as officiating clergyman, I prefer to keep the State out of things as far as possible, particularly as the State seeks to displace God in all things.
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