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Civil Union or Marriage?

I recently had an interesting conversation with the Chaplain at my unit.  For those who do not know, a Chaplain in the military is a religious leader trained to give guidance and counseling (of a religious nature) to anyone in the military seeking out such things. Chaplains will also hold service on the appropriate religious day.  There are many other small duties not worth noting.   He is currently a religious studies graduate student, which is why we were having intelligent conversation.

We got onto the topic of marriage among the gay population of America.  He brought up something that got me thinking; marriage is a term that refers to a religious ceremony in the Bible that the government got involved with.  He is in support of gay marriage, he just believes they should be called something different; Civil Unions.  He argued that the Bible declares marriage is between a man and a woman.  Now, since there is supposed to be a separation of church and state, the government shouldn’t be declaring that marriage between man and woman is okay but anything else is not okay.  This is going directly against this separation by giving benefits to those who are married.

This argument–paraphrased to the best of my long-term memory’s ability–has me thinking of a couple different things.  Should marriage be coined “civil unions?” What impact could this have?  Well firstly, it is very hard to be gay and be Christian.  I have a friend who is and he struggles with it constantly.  On one hand, God loves everyone and Jesus died for our sins.  On the other we have most churches preaching that to be gay is bad and that you have to be straight to go to heaven.  Without going to far into it, if Jesus died for our sins, and it is preached that to be gay is a sin, doesn’t that mean that Jesus’s death saves everyone?

If the marriage of same sex couples was termed civil unions, could the government be persuaded to give them the same benefits as a married couple?  I think so.  To me, it seems that the government is using the term marriage and saying same sex couple can’t be married because the Bible tells us so.  This goes against the separation policy, but wouldn’t legislature have to be changed/created for a new term?  What would the government say if they started to be called civil unions, what would the argument against it be?  I honestly, can not think of one.  It seems to me the only argument they have is that it goes against what is natural (only because the Bible declares it so).

I am still on the fence though if a different term should be created in the first place.  Having a gay sister who is on the verge of getting married, it troubles me.  Through talking with her, the term marriage has a historical and symbolical meaning to it.  In America, marriage has traditionally been the pledging to two lives into one.  The confusing part to me is that this originally did start as a religious affair and has been watered down so much that you don’t need to be religious anymore, just a man and a woman.  So, after all this, I am still confused and it is not easy to articulate a proper argument one way or the other.  I know it is a bit late for comments but if anyone still needs to make some, what do you think about this?


  1. lkkeilma says:

    Marriage existed before the bible…

  2. b3ek3r says:

    By it existing before the bible does it mean that the bible has not had an impact on what “marriage” is? Are you trying to elucidate some connection between marriage history pre- and post-bible times? I am very confused as to what the comment is supposed to be saying…

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