Occasional reminder that the state's interest in marriage is about 70% how to deal with property at the end of the marriage due to death or divorce, 20% tax treatment, and 10% some other random legal/rights issues. Yes I made up those numbers but you get the point.
Even some of my liberal gay marriage supporting friends sometimes say stupid things like, "why doesn't the state get out of the marriage business entirely and just issue civil unions??!?!" Well, you know, that's what the state does. You go sign some papers. We can call it marriage or civil unions or Parcheesi or whatever. Yes our culture tends conflate the religious ceremony with the state's role, but they really don't have anything important to do with each other.