Tensions were high last weekend when we filled out our marriage license forms on the City Clerk’s website. We had to fill out four pages of basic information about our family, where we were born, etc, etc.
Sebastien rushed through his forms. He didn’t even capitalize any formal names or use proper punctuation when typing out his street address. It started to bother me. I don’t know if I can spend the rest of my life with someone who doesn’t hold grammar and spelling in high regard. I pointed the errors out to him, but he just ignored me.
After he hit submit he was bounced back to a previous page for not listing his occupation. He let out a huff and typed in a job title.
Then he launched into a tirade about how our marriage is none of the government’s business. “Why are they even involved? What business is it of theirs?”
Sebastien had some good questions.
The Christians ask that same question. (Note: we are not religious.)
“We need to ask ourselves- why should it be illegal to marry without the State’s permission? More importantly, why should we need the State’s permission to participate in something which God instituted (Gen. 2:18-24)? We should not need the State’s permission to marry nor should we grovel before state officials to seek it,” Pastor Trewhella of the Mercy Seat Christian Church posted on his website.
I did some research on the purpose of the marriage license and learned that it was first used as a way to control what races could marry.
In a 2007 New York Times article. Stephanie Coontz reports that “by the 1920s, 38 states prohibited whites from marrying blacks, ‘mulattos,’ Japanese, Chinese, Indians, ‘Mongolians,’ ‘Malays’ or Filipinos.” Some states would not issue a license if the bride or groom was considered an addict, a drunk, mentally deficient or previously married. However, by the mid- to late- 20th century, these laws were repealed. Today, licenses are primarily for legal and contractual—not prohibitive—purposes.”
I’m sure they just want to squeeze $35 out of us.
As far as signing our marriage license is concerned, I might have to slip Sebastien a mickey before we go down to City Hall just to be sure he doesn’t cause a scene.