Most Americans do not question the requirement to obtain a license to get married. As in just about everything else, this requirement generates unnecessary problems and heated disagreements. If the government was not involved there would be no discussion or controversy over the definition of marriage. Why should the government give permission to two individuals for them to call themselves married? In a free society, something that we do not truly enjoy, all voluntary and consensual agreements would be recognized. If disputes arose, the courts could be involved as in any other civil dispute.
But look at where we are today, constantly fighting over the definition and legality of marriage. Under our system, the federal government was granted no authority over this issue. Many Americans would even amend the Constitution to deal with the issue by defining marriage. This attempt only exacerbates the emotionally charged debate on both sides.
I'd like to settle the debate by turning it into a First Amendment issue: the right of free speech. Everyone can have his or her own definition of what marriage means, and if an agreement or contract is reached by the participants, it will qualify as a civil contract if desired.
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