Marriage is a right, not a privilege granted by the state. At state-approved weddings you have the bride and the groom but also the state as partner to the contract. The state gives permission to marry because you asked for that permission. So don’t ask. You don’t need the state’s permission to do what is a God-ordained right. If the state forbad you to marry you would disobey as principled people did in the past.
You have a birth certificate because you were born; a death certificate because you died and a marriage certificate because you were married. You did not ask to be born or to die and should not ask any government or church to be married.
The road to family control by the state started rather early in America with Virginia’s first legal code consisting of the Lawes Divine, Morall and Martiall, enacted in 1610 by Sir Thomas Dale. In this code, Virginia’s Anglican ministers were required to record all christenings, marriages, and burials they performed. (Government has no authority to require a preacher to do anything regarding his ministry.) In 1631, the Virginia House of Burgesses created marriage licenses tightening the knot around the neck of families.
Down through the centuries, marriage was changed from being a family affair to having churches and the government as the permission-givers! A license is “permission by competent authority to do that which otherwise would be illegal, a trespass or a torte.” According to Black’s Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition, a marriage license is “a license or permission granted by public authority to persons who intend to intermarry, usually addressed to the minister or magistrate who is to perform the ceremony.”
So, at that time, an interracial couple had to get permission not from their parents or church to get married, but from the state! Why? People had been marrying since the beginning of time without any government involvement, but now a couple must get legal permission! Therefore, the state began to issue a license permitting one to do what he normally could not do because many U.S. colonies in the late 1600s prohibited marriage between Whites and Blacks, Indians, Asians, etc., although it was never illegal for two whites to marry and no permission was required until recent years.
When a slave boy got permission from the master to marry a slave girl, the offspring from the marriage belonged to the master and became part of his assets or chattel. Some states take that same approach today. After all, they give the license so any issue of a marriage is state-owned; therefore the state assumes the authority to force children to have shots, to attend school, etc.
In early America, some slave owners prohibited slave marriages and others permitted them, even giving lavish dinners and ceremonies at the “big house” to honor the couple. However, the marriage never superseded the slave owner’s authority. Often, depending on the plantation owners and the state, black men were not permitted to marry and sex between slaves was often punished. However, many masters wanted new slaves coming along so in some places, black male slaves were kept for the purpose of producing young offspring! It was normal for the owners of such studs to receive one out of four of the babies.
One Texas slave woman said that slave women had to always be available for sex at the appointment of the master (often with the master) and she had to live with any man of his choosing. The reason most slave owners permitted slave marriages, although often reluctantly, was because of religious reasons. Many tried to justify slavery by the Bible but the Bible clearly teaches personal morality and family. The Bible never condones slavery.
The slave marriage ceremony varied from state to state and plantation to plantation. If the marriage involved two plantations then the man was often permitted to visit his wife’s plantation on the weekends. With adjoining plantations, a wife was permitted to visit her husband each night.
Marriage unions were formed when the couple jumped over a broomstick together and dissolved by reversing the process. A broomstick marriage was an illegal marriage, solemnized, according to the Oxford English Dictionary, by having each party jump over a broomstick as the couple told everyone they were married while holding hands. It is probable that 20% of the U.S. population during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries may have lived in an illegal relationship as a replacement or rejection of formal marriages. The broomstick weddings and the divorce by jumping back over the broom were common. Jumping the broom was always done before witnesses as a public ceremonial announcement that a couple chose to become as close to married as was then permitted. I believe such marriages were as legal as those done in America today as long as there was consent, commitment, consummation, and communication.
On other plantations, each one had to jump backward over a broom that was held about a foot from the floor. In the event one did not clear the broom successfully, the other received the authority to be boss of the household. Moreover, if both partners were successful, there would be no “bossin.” Strange custom but not much stranger than some sophisticated wedding I’ve attended. Jumping the broom is much better than getting drunk and falling into the swimming pool!
The broomstick marriage was also known in Ireland. The marriage was not officially recognized if either touched the broom. In this kind of marriage, a woman kept her own home and did not become the property of her husband. It was a partnership, and a child of the marriage was considered to be legitimate. If the couple decided to divorce, they simply jumped back over the broomstick again, but that could only be done during the first year of marriage. If a child had been born, that child was the father’s responsibility.
In the mid-1800s in the United States, common-law marriages were valid, but thereafter some states began to invalidate such marriages. Common-law-marriages were recognized as legitimate even though there was no license permitting the marriage. Eleven states still recognize such marriages.
In 1923, the Federal Government established the Uniform Marriage and Marriage License Act and they later established the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act. By 1929, every state in the Union had adopted marriage license laws. Politicians love power.
The state was now in control of marriage and had become the master, or is that monster? Let’s get all government out of all Christian marriages since it is a God-given, unalienable right of man to marry a wife and bear children and no authority on earth has the right to supersede that right–or to regulate it.
(Sixth of nine columns dealing with no state involvement in marriage. Next column: “Taking the State Out of Marriages Could Not Make it Worse!”)
http://bit.ly/1iMLVfY Watch these 8 minute videos of my lecture at the University of North Dakota: “A Christian Challenges New Atheists to Put Up or Shut Up!”
Fact, Fraud or Faith?
by Don Boys, Ph.D.
Only an uninformed fanatic says that evolution or creation can be proved scientifically. Christians believe in creationism because we believe in the veracity of the Bible but we also have scientific evidence to support our position. In every debate I’ve had with evolutionary scientists, the arrogant, asinine accusation is made, “Well, evolution is scientific while creationism is religion.” Evolution is about as scientific as a voodoo rooster plucking ceremony in Haiti. Almost.