The Anarchists were right. Marriage, like wage slavery, is a legal device designed to oppress women. Now it is being claimed by gays. Rather than open up this instrument of oppression and discontent to gays, why not simply get the State out of the business of weddings?
Of course, the Anarchists would have abolished the State, in favor of voluntary social associations. That might be going too far. Or perhaps not?
But let's not get distracted from my main point: marriage under civil law in a religiously neutral system of government is, at best, a contract. It does not have a track record of working very well and as soon as people found a way to get out of it, they have done so in enormous numbers.
In the United States, one out of every two marriages ends in divorce. By various soundings, a majority of men and women admit to adultery. Domestic violence is a rampant social problem.
Why have marriage at all?
I'm not saying people would be forbidden to go to a church and promise the lifelong fidelity that most will not observe. Go, have your church wedding with all the nine yards -- or do some ceremony on a hilltop reciting poetry or whatever.
Why do I, and every taxpayer you don't know, have to be involved in this?
I'm not saying that we should abandon all child protection laws that are built around marriage. Children still need all the protection society can offer -- which at present is not stellar.
Nor am I saying that cohabiting couples should not have a claim to insurance for cohabiters, or parents or whatever; nor that a longstanding cohabiter should have some priority in inheritance.
Nor am I saying abolish love. Although, seriously, what does marriage under civil law have to with love?
Just abolish the pretense that the State has an inherent interest in marriage that it does not have. Marriage may be a religious idea, but the State has no business with religion -- nor, I would argue, marriage.