ORIGINALLY STARTED IN JULY 2017.
WILL POST AUTOMATICALLY ON JULY 1, 2022 IF I DON'T DO ANYTHING OR I DIE BEFORE THIS DATE.
In the State of Washington, if you want to renew your vehicle license, you deal with someone other than the state. You can visit a 3rd party licensing office or use the state's website. Even if you use the state's website, the issuing and mailing of the tabs comes from someone other than the state. The state has outsourced all of that. The entity doing the work gets $5 to handle the work. It might be a private company or it could even be a county - King County had an office - I guess they found a way to be profitable at $5 a pop. Maybe they did it around other work or something. Anyhow, if you signed up to do the work, you became a subagent of the state. You agreed to handle the paperwork without judgement and in return, you were granted a license to act on behalf of the state. You wouldn't refuse to license electric cars or make Acura owners jump through extra hoops to prove they were really worthy.
At some point in our country's history, we blurred the lines between church and state and allowed churches to perform "marriages" - or rather, add a religious ceremony onto the act of signing a government document that gives people specific tax breaks. The church thought they had the upper hand in the arrangement... until the government (by vote of the people) changed the definition of the word.
Suddenly, the church found it didn't actually have the power. By becoming a subagent of the state, it lost ownership of the word (or at least its definition) and found itself in a position where it wasn't willing to unilaterally attach its religious ceremony to any and all legal executions of the government document.
Still, the churches dig in their heels and attempt to reassert ownership of the word "marriage" decide who can and can't get their government paperwork signed on the church property outside of the normal business hours of the county clerk's office by non-governmental employees authorized to provide witness to the signing of the governmental document.
Sadly, to hear statisticians within the church tell it, marriages performed within a church fail at the same rate as marriages performed elsewhere - the religious ceremony fails to improve the odds that a judge won't be later asked to revoke the special tax-status.
So what now?
- Should the church give up "marriage"?
- Should it find a new word?
- Should it perform religious ceremony devoid of the execution of governmental tax-related paperwork?
- Should it be like in France (I think) where you can have an optional religious ceremony if you want, but if you want the state to recognize it, you have to have a civil/legal ceremony?
- Should churches be licensed to execute the paperwork only if they agree to perform the ceremony to anyone who meets the governmental description of marry-able?
Legislation is the strong arm of force where love and common sense have failed.