Marriage is a civil contract governed by established contract law

The following letter is a cogent and thorough argument for marriage rights for all adults. Marriage is a contract. Indeed, Merri has made this argument for 25+ years. Kudos to David Paul Blacher.

A different letter insists Americans bow to Leviticus as the law. Not in America, bub. We have the Constitution. You are free to let the Bible rule your life, but not to force that rule on the rest of us. Amen. peace, mjh

Contract Law Applies To Marriage Licenses

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER’S comments (“The Same-Sex Marriage Dilemma,” May 19) are interesting, but he misses the fundamental issue— marriage is a contract. In fact, in America, it is most often actually two contracts: one civil and one religious. I absolutely support the right and obligation of religious organizations to define, pursuant to their own doctrines, who may enter into a contract that they validate and recognize.

However, the civil contract — usually in the form of a “marriage license” — automatically provides the individuals who sign and register the document with several unique and valuable government- issued and -sanctioned advantages. First and foremost is a significantly lower income tax rate, both federal and state. Add to this the way married couples may choose to own real property — usually as community property — and the inheritance advantages which are thereto attached.

Also, married couples have access to a capital gains deduction upon sale of the primary residence that is double that of a single owner. Add to this the general inheritance rights and tax levels provided by governments to married couples but not single couples.

Furthermore, the ability for hospital visitation, treatment and health-decision participation are treated differently for married and unmarried couples. The list of civil rights available only to married couples is extensive. … Most, if not all, governmental entities have laws that disallow discrimination on the basis of sex in the fulfillment contracts — both oral and especially written. The most significant contract that most people will ever sign is their civil marriage contract.

To abrogate a contract based on the sex of the signatories goes totally against the grain of the history of the United States as to the sacrosanct nature of contracts — see Article I, section 10, clause lof the U.S. Constitution that forbids the states from passing any “Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts.”


[Curiously, this letter is not available on-line. What’s up with that,]