The Faytteville Observer published an op-ed over the weekend by reporter Paul Woolverton in which he critiqued the bill state Senators advanced last week to set up, in effect, “separate but equal” marriages for same sex couples. Interestingly though, his focus was not on the language allowing magistrates to opt out of marriage duties due to “sincere religious beliefs.”
Instead, Woolverton flew up to a slightly higher altitude and rightfully asked: Why in the heck are magistrates even involved in officiating marriages?
“Lawmakers who say they want lower taxes and smaller government dropped the ball Wednesday.
Their missed opportunity was glaring when the Senate voted to create a law to let magistrates opt out of conducting any weddings if they have a religious objection. This issue has surfaced since gay marriage became legal in the state.
No one in the debate questioned the underlying premise that a magistrate or clergy member is necessary to seal the marriage contract.”
Of his local lawmakers who supported the bill, Woolverton said this:
“As fiscal conservatives, they could have said to themselves: A man and a woman pay the government $60 to get a government-approved marriage license. Why should they then have to visit another government office and pay the government another $20, or hire a government-designated third party for a fee or ‘donation,’ to finalize their marriage contract?”
He sums up this way:
“If it’s good policy for the government to be involved in marriage, then the government should make its involvement the least intrusive it can be. It should record marriages when couples visit the Register of Deeds to buy their marriage licenses. The staff at that office can handle the ‘I do’s.’ Read More