The state has no business in the marriage game. It does have a legitimate interest in noting who is in a committed relationship. As a society, we want to be able to tell which people happen to be sharing accommodation as mere flatmates, and which have amalgamated their interests for the foreseeable future. …
It is unfair the state gives a certain status (marriage) to some households but not others. Either the recognition ought to apply to all, or none. Anything else represents the state picking and choosing among citizens, saying some are more worthy than others. That ought to be anathema in an egalitarian society.
Churches should not be allowed to perform state marriage ceremonies. They are welcome to perform their own ceremonies, but there is no reason for the state to endorse them. If the Head Prefect of the Assembly of Elf Worshippers wants to conduct wedding ceremonies on midsummer night’s eve, then she should go ahead. It just oughtn’t to count for the purposes of the state.
People who want to register their relationship with the state as well as in the eyes of their church or coven or humanist society should do that. They should make a trip to the Registry Office to record their relationship for the purposes of the state, and then independently do whatever they like that constitutes solemnising a marriage in their own religion.
As for marriage for lesbian and gay and other non-traditional couples, or trios, or whatever, what is available for one New Zealander must be available for another. If the Government wants to stay in the marriage game, then it should make its version of marriage available to everyone – straight, gay, lesbian, transgender, two or three or more, whatever. That’s only fair.
I broadly agree with Deborah that the state should merely register relationships, and it should be up to individual couples if they wish to have that relationship called a marriage by the particular religion they follow.