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01 February 2011

"What business does government have saying who should wed who?"

Marietta state Representative Bobby Franklin is often mocked and ridiculed by many in Georgia's political establishment as a radical legislator who holds a warped view of limited government.

Monday, veteran AJC political reporter Jim Galloway summed up how some see Rep. Franklin:

Franklin has a concept of limited government that may sound strange to some. He has already introduced legislation demanding that state transactions be conducted in gold or silver. Franklin regularly attempts to define abortion as murder through legislation filed each year.

His answer to the debate over gay marriage? What business does the government have saying who should wed who? But that hasn’t made it into a bill. Not yet.

Galloway, Jim (2011-1-31). Bobby Franklin: Let’s do away with driver’s licenses. Political Insider. Retrieved on 2011-2-1.

Regardless of how one views the other bills Rep. Franklin has authored, it must be conceded that he has the right idea on ending the debate over gay marriage.

What business does government have saying who should wed who? Gay or straight?

The argument made by many proponents of gay marriage is that same-sex couples do not have the same rights as straight couples when it comes to marriage.

According to a 2004 study by the Congressional Budget Office, there are 1,138 statutory provisions "in which marital status is a factor in determining or receiving 'benefits, rights, and privileges.'" Once a straight couple gets "married," they become eligible for a range of benefits including the ability to file jointly on their income tax returns as well as being able to inherit an unlimited amount from their deceased spouse's estate without being subject to the estate tax.

For many gay and lesbian couples, the right to get married has everything to do with receiving the range of benefits that come with being married; and very little to do with love.

Same-sex couples want the marriage benefits provided by the government, and we can do that while getting government out of the business of saying, as Rep. Franklin stated, "who should wed who."

Since there are at least 1,138 statutory provisions relating to marital status at the federal level alone, how about we repeal every last one of them. What I'm suggesting (and what I believe Bobby Franklin is suggesting) is that we strike the words "marital" and/or "marital status" from all one-thousand one-hundred and thirty-eight federal statutes, rules and regulations. In its place, we add two simple words; "civil union."

If a couple --gay or straight-- wants one or all 1,138 of those benefits from the government, then let them go down to the courthouse and get a civil union.

If that same couple wants marriage, then let them go to church.

Marriage, I believe, is a religious institution. And I think each individual religious denomination should determine whether they'll perform or recognize a marriage ceremony between two men or two women.

Marriage is something that the government should never have gotten itself involved in, and I think it's time for the government to gradually withdraw itself from the institution of marriage.