Posted BY: Ted Noel

There is a way to undercut the left’s sustained attack on religion, expressed most recently through its assaults on traditional heterosexual marriage. The answer is to take government out of “marriage,” while continuing to allow it to control what are essentially the business aspects of two people joining together.

Tanya Berlaga has clearly shown why the “Respect for Marriage Act” is no such thing. And, as legal briefs so commonly say, Berlaga’s arguments are incorporated by reference herein. While she discusses marriage’s proper role in society, space likely prevented her from reviewing the government’s role in marriage.

Let’s begin at the beginning, with the American colonies. In the Southern colonies, while marriage was performed before a magistrate, divorce was unacceptable because the Church of England did not sanction it.

Marriage was an explicitly secular act in the New England colonies. New England civil courts could dissolve marriages, but did so only rarely. There were only 44 divorces in one 60-year span. Courts also awarded property and typically granted child custody to the father because children were regarded as economic assets. The concept of “the welfare of the child” developed later when the economic value of children declined.

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