The privilege of marriage is under the purview of the States and it is my belief that it should remain so under their respective constitutions and derived laws and judgements.
That being said, the Federal Government defined 1,138 (GAO 2004) benefits and privileges reserved for married individuals. The State of California defines over 400.
The Federal Government uses the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to define marriage as a legal union exclusively between one man and one woman. This law is questionably unconstitutional under the 10th amendment.
Currently the State of California also defines marriage as valid between a man and a woman.
But the State of California Constitution also says "A citizen or class of citizens may not be granted privileges
or immunities not granted on the same terms to all citizens. Privileges or immunities granted by the Legislature may be altered or revoked."
Therefore, even under current law while both the Federal and State governments can define marriage, they cannot grant privileges to that class of people not granted to all. All benefits and privileges conferred upon the class of married individuals not granted to others should be immediately abolished.
Long Term Perspective:
As the benefits derived to both the Federal and State governments in granting marriage are arguable at best. Many of the arguments are derived from creating, providing, and protecting children. If those are the primary goals then if we are to confer special benefits, privileges, and protections at all then they should be for and attached to the children themselves and not to their respective parents or guardians.
Therefore I support the rights of individuals to form private relationships as they see fit, either by contract or by mutual agreement. I regard marriage as one such private relationship. The Federal government and the State of California should not dictate, prohibit, control, or encourage any such private relationship. To implement this principle, I advocate:
- The repeal of all marriage and marriage dissolution laws and their replacement by contracts where desired by the parties.
- Property not specified as "community property" not being presumed as such.
- The repeal of all alimony laws.
- The recognition in law of marriage contracts as an addition to, or replacement for, marriage and marriage dissolution laws.
- The right of all consenting adults to form marriage contracts without regard to gender, sexual preference, degree of consanguinity, or number of parties to said contracts.
- Until such time as the state of California ends its involvement in marriage, we call upon the state to issue marriage licenses to any adults without regard to gender.