Some treat it as if it were a religious institution – which it may well be – but most of us recognize it for what it really is: A state approved bond between adults. Effectively, it is a mutual adoption which both creates a family structure, and creates a bridge between two independent, and otherwise unrelated, family lines.
The process involves a State License approving that the state defined qualifications necessary to enter into the bond have been met; it then must be finalized by a state licensed, or approved, agent. There is no religious component, and therefore the union can be deemed to be a Civil Union in every sense of the term.
By comparison, we are required to obtain a license to drive, and, when we get behind the wheel of the vehicle, or grab the handlebars. the vehicle must have been certified safe by a licensed, state approved, inspector. There is no religious component – even if the approved inspector is also a member of a clergy. The same applies to a Notary, a CPA, of a Game Warden – any of whom could also be a member of the clergy.
Each state holds the right to determine to whom, and under what qualifications, the initial license and final certification shall be granted. Be it marriage, or operating a motorized vehicle, the state, not a religious organization, defines the necessary qualifications and restrictions. If a term, or title, is found to be objectionable, or causes confusion, it can be changed without affecting the underlying realities. If religious organizations wish proprietary rights to the term marriage, the state should uniformly adopt the term Civil Union. Religious organizations are, of course, free to perform marriages based upon their own criteria – but they cannot to have those ceremonies certified by the state unless they meet the state requirements. Therefore, anyone entering into an uncertified, or un-certifiable, religious union cannot avail themselves of state approved and sanctioned benefits or rights reserved for those with the proper documentation and approval.
Anti-discrimination laws apply to race, religion, ethnic origin, gender and gender preference. It therefore must be shown why these laws should be set aside in the case of a mutually agreed union of two family lines through the adult adoption process currently known either as Marriage or Civil Union. Failing that test, each individual application to create such a union between family lines must be examined on its own merits – assuming the individuals would be free and qualified to enter into such a union with an alternative family line.
There is no case law to support objection in violation of Anti-discrimination laws, and therefore the matter must be resolved in favor of the right to marry where the sole objection is precluded by the Anti-discrimination laws. As to the definition of marriage: it is simply terminology and, since the matter before the court is civil, not religious, can easily be replaced by, or taken to mean, the more accurate term, “Civil Union”. In that case, setting a restriction in violation of the Anti-discrimination laws, without specific justification of a social benefit or necessity, is, at the least, illegal, and therefore possibly Unconstitutional. There are no known briefs which justify the setting aside of the Anti-discrimination laws; therefore the High Court has no option but to affirm the ruling of the lower courts and vacate both Proposition 8 and the definition change.