The science of archaeology says civil marriage predates Christianity. Not some kind of informal 'partnering ritual', but registered, contractual civil marriage. Civil marriage doesn't "mirror" Christian marriage, it got there first.
Christianity is barely 2000 years old, of course marriage predates it.
However I'm leery of saying that civil marriage predated a religious meaning of marriage. Early civilizations (ie. the ones with archaeological records) usually don't separate religion and state. The state is religion and vice versa. Ancient Egypt, Sumer, Israel - the religious power was political as well. Some ancient societies didn't even religiously or civilly codify marriage, in Greece if the couple said they were married they were. And in ancient Greece, even though older men and younger men were encouraged to be lovers, marriage was still the preserve of man and woman for the purpose of having children.
There's always been homosexual lovers, even in very rigidly heterosexual societies for example Central Asian Bacha bazi. Often the ideal lover is seen as a beautiful boy, indeed in ancient Greece a small thin penis was regarded as the most beautiful because it mirrored the adolescent body. (Shades of Justin Bieber?)
I don't think civil marriage is an imitation, but I do think marriage _as an institution_ is about creating kin through bloodlines. That has been the main social function of marriage. Obviously definitions have changed in New Zealand and I have no doubt the law will come to reflect that. It will be interesting to see how marriage is viewed a century in the future.
Either everyone gets to _choose_ how to build their family, or no one does.
The top quote is my belief about what marriage is and why it exists, my bottom quote is a description of what is actually New Zealand reality.
To a certain extent I'm shrugging my shoulders about this discussion because Wall's bill is going to fly through the House and become law. The legal question is whether Idiot Savant is right or not - will people who are civil celebrants who won't marry GLBT couples be forced to stop being legal celebrants. I hope they can remain celebrants, but I just have no idea of the law around that.
How marriage is defined has already changed in society.
By this reasoning, then anyone who wanted to get married would have to be religious.
No, I meant that anyone could have the ceremony of their choice with the meaning of their choice. Basically I'm advocating a system that allows for multiple definitions of marriage without the State having a legal preference.
Craig: I'm trying to find a document that specifies the Church's view in civil marriage for unbaptised people but no luck do far. I did however find the 1910 Catholic Encyclopedia page for civil marriage. It's an interesting look back on countries' laws re marriage.
In Italy you had to get parental consent to marry up until you were 25, or 20 if you were a woman. In England females could marry at 12 with parental consent.
I'm not a creationist a la Evangelicals. If you want to know how the universe got here ask science. I was using the term "Creation" in a theological sense. I think Genesis is literal only in a theological way, it's certainly not a scientific text. Sorry if I was unclear.
Canon 1055.2 - it only applied to baptised persons. If you're Catholic and you choose a civil marriage over a Sacramental one then yes, it's not valid or licit. Which was why Kidman could marry in the Church 2nd time around.
If a Muslim gets married by an imam or an atheist by the State they still have a real marriage.
The hierarchy has a hell of a lot to say about civil marriage it doesn’t recognize for anyone
Re: not recognizing civil marriage - that is absolutely not true.
The Church recognizes it for what it is, a civil secular marriage. What the Church does not do is call a civil secular marriage a Sacrament where the man and woman become one flesh because of God (and thus they can not be divorced). That's why Kidman could marry again in a church because her first marriage was not Sacramental.
Marriage as an institution was created by God for humanity when Creation began. That the State recognizes it is just a reflection of the genuine truth of marriage. Other religions tap into this divine truth when they perform marriage.
Now I acknowledge that many people disagree with the above paragraph, but I think it is factually true. Marriage is traditionally how we build family and the family is the base cell of society. Now I'm not talking Mum, Dad and the 2.4 kids, but I am talking about kinship bonds created through marriage and birth. It's both biological and relational. My mother (who lives with us) is related by blood through her grandchildren to my husband's family. Marriage creates family bonds. When God unites a man and a woman in Sacramental marriage the family bond is permanent.
What I think is that the State should get out of the marriage business completely. Our society is forming families freely with many people coming together for a while and then breaking up again, some marrying and some not. Many parents aren't married at all and marriage is no longer a social requirement for sex and children legitimized by society.
The whole point of the State to get into marriage in the first place was to ensure property rights, to make sure there wasn't bigamy and to prove legitimacy of children and inheritance. We no longer legally need marriage specifically to accomplish these things, so there is no legal reason for the State to have anything to do with it.
Lets be honest, the religious meaning of marriage was lost in wider society not by "teh gayz" but by heterosexuals when they started using contraception and getting divorces. The debate was lost _decades_ ago and GLBT marriage makes perfect logical sense after that.
My preference would be for couples (or polygamous groups) to form their own unions in their own way. The State can use the defacto legislation to deal with property division in breakups (or people can create their own agreements) and the Family Court can deal with custody of children if needed. This way people can do what they want. Muslim men can have several wives, or people can have group relationships. Couples of any gender or sexuality can express their love the way they want to. This way people can create a union that means what they need it to mean, maybe for life, maybe for the life of the love.
Yes that's true, but the sacrament is more real than a human legal construct. If you believe in God then He is a higher authority than the State. It's called "the sacrament of marriage" not a "sacrament of a wedding".
The sacrament is far older than our State.
One nit pick. I disagree that churches do weddings but the State does marriage. In the Catholic Church the sacrament (ie. the ritual) is marriage. Whether the State recognises it or not isn't the point.
Suppose we split civil and religious marriage, if it were up to me I'd have my Catholic marriage and then wait until we considered defacto by being together. Although I'm not sure how I'd do the name change thing.
I think reducing religious marriage to a wedding is really misconstruing how religions view their own theology and rituals.
The thing about separating clerics and civil celebrants is that then if you have a secular wedding with a civil celebrant you're married according to the State. If you, say, have a wedding at a Hindu temple or a Catholic church then you aren't married at all. To get married you still have to go and see a civil celebrant.
Another way would be to separate weddings and the legal paperwork entirely. Everyone has to get the official marriage registration at the Registrars Office and then have a wedding as they see fit.