Is Covenant Marriage a Sin?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by SaggyWoman, May 2, 2005.

  1. SaggyWoman

    SaggyWoman
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    If a couple goes through a church ceremony but does not obtain a marriage license from the state, is this a sin?
     
  2. dianetavegia

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    Titus 3:1 Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work,

    Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

    Yes, it is a sin and a horrible testimony! What are these people teaching their children?

    1 Peter 2:13 Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, 14 or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men-- 16 as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God. 17 Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.
     
  3. Jeffrey H

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    What would be the reason to avoid obtaining a state marriage license?

    [ May 02, 2005, 03:50 PM: Message edited by: Jeffrey H ]
     
  4. StefanM

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    I think the scriptures above might not apply in this matter.

    Marriage is in no way required of people by the state. They may live together, as far as the state is concerned. Therefore, if two non-legally-married people lived together, the state does not consider them as rebelling or breaking any law. The individuals are not rebelling because they are not refusing to do anything required by the state. How can a person be said to be not submitting to the government if she isn't disobeying any law?

    The only alternative I can see is that perhaps this could offend a weaker brother or sister, but if the church gives it the OK, then that is no objection.

    One historical example comes to mind, however. Baptists in colonial Virginia often were not allowed to be married by Baptist ministers, only by Anglican priests. Additionally, the priests would often refuse to perform the ceremony unless the couple was Anglican. Were these Baptists sinning?

    I would echo Jeffrey H's question, though. Why not have the license?
     
  5. Jeffrey H

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    Diane,

    Christian couples should be married through the church since God ordains marriage and not the State. Unless the couple is clearly breaking state law, Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2 would not apply.

    I think not getting a marriage license is foolish because recognition by the state is important to obtain rights as it applies to property laws, tax laws, inheritance, etc.

    Respectfully,
    Jeff
     
  6. Gold Dragon

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    Agreed. I don't see how Covenant Marriages are in opposition to any laws.
     
  7. Gold Dragon

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    Just an fyi that I'm not advocating this position, but simply trying to make a fair presentation of what Covenant Marriages are.
     
  8. James_Newman

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    I have been told that the marriage license was introduced as a way to keep blacks and whites from intermarrying. I haven't verified this though.
     
  9. StefanM

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    The legal covenant marriages that Gold Dragon posted about are not the same as the kind of marriage in the OP.

    Legal covenant marriages are basically regular marriages with more stringent requirements. When my wife and I got married, we did a covenant marriage. The license was exactly the same as a regular marriage license but it had covenant stamped on top.
     
  10. Gold Dragon

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    Agreed. But the motivations should be similar. Some may reject the contractual nature of state marriage to the extent that they refuse to sign the marriage certificate.

    And as we already stated, there is no legal obligation for them to do so. That is well within their rights according to North American law and is not a refusal to submit to any laws of the government. The prudence of such an action is debatable.
     
  11. James_Newman

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    I think the issue with the license is that it implies we need the government's permission to get married.
     
  12. Gold Dragon

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    I did a little more research, and it appears to be illegal in every state in the US for a minister to perform a marriage without presenting a signed marriage certificate to the government. So from this perspective, I can see how Covenant Marriages without a marriage certificate are wrong because they are causing someone else to do something illegal.


    National Association of Wedding Officiants: Celebrant Laws by State
     
  13. Jeffrey H

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    Again I ask: What would be a reason to avoid obtaining a state marriage license? Why would anyone want to prevent the state from recognizing their union as a "marriage"?

    Even if you don't obtain a license, a state will eventually recognize your union as as a marriage as a "common law marriage" after a continuous period of time of living together. In Texas, I believe it's 7 years.
     
  14. Gold Dragon

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    Here is a brochure published by some folks who hold this position outlining their reasons. I believe their logic to be a lacking.

     
  15. Karen

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    In the brochure Gold Dragon quotes, their logic is indeed lacking.
    God ordained the Church, home, and state. And they each have responsibilities and obligations,
    sometimes overlapping. As in the case of marriage. Marriage and the family are the basic building block on which the whole structure of our society is built.
    Therefore,the state has a valid duty to regulate marriage. For example, there are inheritance issues, property ownership issues, custody of minor children, public health issues.
    For example, you can't get a marriage license in most states without being free of some STDs.
    You can't marry your first cousin in most states.
    Two 15-year-olds cannot marry. A 46-year-old man cannot marry 2 12-year-old girls. People affirm when they sign the license that they are not under coercion.

    It is by govt. regulation that we say homosexuals cannot marry. Without govt. regulation, some "church" somewhere will call it marriage when a man marries his niece and his grandmother, or whoever else. Why not his dog? Let's not be speciecists, after all. Of course, you may say the people promoting covenant marriage would never say this. But I think others would carry it that far or farther, ultimately.

    The kind of covenant marriages in the OP, I think, shows one of the dangers of the internet.
    Anybody with any agenda can get some kind of following. Some seem to have a rebellious attitude towards any other authority than their own, all the while imposing their authority on their followers. And such ideas get spread around the internet in a way that your pastor's last sermon does not.

    Karen
     
  16. Gold Dragon

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    Libertarian ideology is quite popular in the US, the NRA being one major example. I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with Libertarianism or the NRA, just that their ideologies are similar to those who oppose state approved marriage certificates.
     
  17. StefanM

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    Your argument is sound, assuming that whoever initiates the covenant marriage reserves the right to define it. However, God is the one who defines marriage. Two men can say all day long that they are married, and some day they might even have a marriage license to show for it, but in the eyes of God they were NEVER married. Similarly with incestuous relationships, dogs, goats, sheep, or what have you.

    Several of these scenarios would involve changing the definition of marriage itself--a union between a man and a woman. The same reason that the "covenant" marriage advocates say that they are not required to get licenses is the same reason that gay marriage is never truly marriage. The state does not truly determine with its documents what is and what is not a marriage. The sole authority to determine that lies with God. So just as a piece of paper does not validate a gay marriage, neither would it validate any other marriage.
     
  18. James_Newman

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    http://www.dfwx.com/marriagelicense.html#Must%20we%20have%20a%20marriage

    This poorly designed web site, Dallas Fortworth Wedding Exchange, says that marriage without a license is perfectly legal, it is just not a state recognized marriage. Is it a law that a persons marriage must be recognized by the state? I would like to see a more credible legal opinion on the subject, it has come up in our church recently. I tend to agree with the position that says a religious marriage has nothing to do with whether the state recognizes it. The state being Texas of course, where I live. ;)
     
  19. dianetavegia

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    Marriage Laws » United States » Texas


    Much of the information below is state law, however this information can change from county to county. We recommend contacting your County Clerk's Office before applying for your marriage license.

    ID Requirement: Certified copy of birth certificate; or valid driver's license or other acceptable I.D. issued by the state, another state, the United States, or a foreign government.

    • Either bring your Social Security card or know your Social Security number.

    • If you want to use your maiden name on the license bring a certified copy of your birth certificate or a certified copy of your divorce decree that states name is to be changed to maiden name.

    Residency Requirement: Do not have to be a resident of Texas.

    If previously married: If your divorce was finalized within 30 days, bring certified copy of the divorce decree stating the 30 day waiting period is waived.

    Application Requirement: Both parties must appear, together or separately, to apply. (Portions of the application process may be completed by absentee application if one party is unable to appear in person).

    Fees: $36+ - Cash Only.

    Waiting Period: Marriage licenses have a 72 hour waiting period -- unless waived due to active duty military status.

    Blood Tests: No blood test requirement.

    Under 18: If either party is under the age of 18, they must be accompanied by parents.

    • If under the age of 16, Tennessee law requires that the couple receives a court order before being allowed to marry.

    Proxy Marriages: Yes.

    Common Law Marriage: No.

    Cousin Marriage: No.

    Same Sex Marriage: No.

    Officiants: All regular ministers of the gospel of every denomination, and Jewish rabbis, more than 18 years of age, having the care of souls may perform marriages. Ministers must endorse the marriage license and return it to the clerk of the county court within three days after the marriage.

    Valid: License is valid for 30 days.
    The license can only be used within the State of Texas.

    Please Note: As of September 1995 Texas Law requires that a notorized statement pertaining to child support be submitted by all marriage license applicants. This form may be obtained at the same time you apply for your marriage license. It must be signed and completed in the presence of two witnesses and a notary public. No applications can be processed without the proper submission of this statement.

    The Texas Division of Vital Records issues certified copies of Birth, Death, Marriage, and Divorce certificates, for events which occurred within the state of Texas.

    http://usmarriagelaws.com/search/united_states/
     
  20. StefanM

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    HEY! That license is CHEAP! Mine was $75!!
     

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