Is marriage privatization for you?

Imagine a world where marriage has been completely privatized, where the government will no longer recognize people as being legally married. I know — pretty hard to picture something so bleak. But you might not have to picture it much longer, because that situation may become a reality.

Earlier this month, Laurie Shrage wrote an article for The New York Times blog called “The End of ‘Marriage,’” in which she closely examined the idea of privatizing marriage. This idea would call for the removal of the word “marriage” from any pieces of official legislation, with the terms “civil union” or “domestic partnership” to be used in its place.

Essentially, the state would no longer recognize a couple as being married and would instead refer to two people living in a form of legal partnership. This would allow the government to make sure the well-being of citizens was maintained without impinging upon the intimate world of marriage.

This new mandate would not only apply to heterosexual couples, but to couples in the LGBT community as well. This would consequently mean that gay and lesbian couples could raise a family, all while sharing the government benefits given to straight couples.

Furthermore, the well-being of children in a domestic partnership would be managed more carefully, as the government wouldn’t have to worry about sticking their nose in family affairs. Each person would be treated as an individual, making it easier to ensure children were getting the attention, care and education they needed.

But this isn’t all sunshine and puppies.

Let’s pay a little closer attention to the concept of privatization. Sure, the state wouldn’t be able to declare two or more people as “married” anymore, but private institutions such as religious and ethnic groups would still be allowed to. This would give rise to further discrimination upon who can and can’t get married at the hands of groups that the government couldn’t do anything about.

In theory, privatization sounds like a great way of allowing people to have more freedom. However, allowing a couple, whether they be gay or straight, to operate and negotiate terms outside of the law is a terrible idea and gives citizens countless loopholes to exploit.

For example, imagine a mother who is in a civil union, but is also married to her partner by way of a shared church. The husband could ruthlessly abuse the wife, but the state could no longer charge it as “domestic abuse” and keep the abuser away from the victim. There would be no laws in place to protect people in marriages, because legal marriages would be a thing of the past.

To some, the idea of a civil union or domestic partnership may be enticing. More power to them, and if that’s what they really want, then let them have it. But don’t force this absurd piece of legislation upon people who want to get married in the traditional sense, especially under the guise of “it’s for the kids” or “it’s to balance out inequality with gay and lesbian couples.”

Privatizing marriage is not a bad idea because it goes up against old tradition. It’s a bad idea because it can be exploited to the advantage of sick people looking to find loopholes that protect their abusive ways. It’s a bad idea because our kids should have a standard set of laws that protect them from abuse.

If you really want to help our kids, come up with better laws for protecting them and keeping them in the hands of the right parent. And if you really want to make things even between gay and straight couples, why not just let everybody get married to whomever the hell they want to?

Hey, it’s just a thought.