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The battle over the definition of marriage is sweeping the country. The state of Maryland may be the eighth state to adopt gay marriage, if the governor signs the bill as he is expected to do on Thursday.

The battle over California’s Proposition 8 is highly complex as many proponents and opponents are still confused over whether Proposition 8 is a measure that gives gay people the right to marry or if it is a measure to prevent gay people from getting married. Being “Pro” Prop. 8 means supporting the measure, which defines marriage as between one man and one woman, and not for gay couples. Being “Con” Prop. 8 means supporting their right to marry, for all people including gay couples.

Marriage is indeed defined as between one man and one woman, by the majority of Christian churches and other religions, but not all. It is foolish to assume that every person in the California is a Christian.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Proposition 8 was unconstitutional on Feb. 7. In a written statement regarding the decision, Judge Stephen Reinhardt wrote “we considered whether the [Proposition 8] amendment violates the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. We conclude that it does.”

In addition the court had the opportunity, but failed to re-invest and uphold one of the most fundamental provisions in U. S. Government; President Thomas Jefferson’s “wall.” In his written response to a religious group in 1802, Jefferson introduced “a wall of separation between church and state.” Marriage is a religious sacrament and should never have transferred over to the civil/government sector.

The resolution of the Proposition 8 issue and the nationwide battle over the definition and legality of any marriage is simple; marriage should be given back to religion and all existing civil marriages between a man and a woman or two same-sex people need to be reverted to legal domestic partnership unions. End of problem.

Prop. 8 is a state level extension of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. DOMA recognizes “the word ‘marriage’ means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word ‘spouse’ refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.” The law also states that no state will be required to recognize the marriages of another state.

DOMAWatch.org, a site devoted to providing legal information to uphold the tradition of marriage states that “Congress passed DOMA because of a decades-long assault on marriage, and particularly in response to a Hawaii court decision that suggested there is a right to same-sex ‘marriage’ in the Hawaii Constitution. The legislative history reflects a congressional concern about the effect that legalizing same-sex ‘marriage’ in Hawaii would have on other states, federal laws, the institution of marriage, traditional notions of morality, and state sovereignty.”

Back in California, Protect Marriage is the group that is the proponent in the Proposition 8 case. On its website it states that “while gays have the right to their private lives, they do not have the right to redefine marriage for everyone else.”

Alliance Defense Fund (ADF), the Christian based legal counsel institution that represents Protect Marriage, has a clear stance. “With God’s grace, ADF and our allies will continue to fight all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, if necessary, to uphold marriage as the union between one man and one woman.”

This past weekend, ADF established National Pray for Marriage Day on Sunday, Feb. 26 and invited the country to “make a difference by taking action today. Spread the word and commit to pray for the future of marriage and families in our nation.”

It is the right of Christians or any religious institution to define marriage or any thing else as they see fit for their congregation. However, given that DOMA requires that no state should be required to recognize a marriage from another state, that not everyone in this country is a Christian, and that Jefferson’s “wall” is very clear, why should any civil or state entity be required to recognize a religious sacrament at all?

Legally, there should be no legal definition for “marriage” at all. Legal domestic partnership unions for all people will resolve the multiple issues at hand.

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