enforcement; that was always part of its intended purpose.
The point I attempt to make is that of identifying the inherent penalties of government-sanctioned / "legal" marriage wherein taxation and confiscation by government are involved when you play by their rules (Perhaps bait = convenience / perceived savings on legal expenses [via standards] you mention, plus feeling good because "the law" is being obeyed / accommodated, and stick = getting taxed / denied tax credit opportunities [for individual marriage participants] out the wazoo!).
(As we know, agreements can be drawn up and be binding without involving lawyers as well, of course, except for the fact that the Lawyering Guild has so mutated the art of law into a treacherous, semantics-dependent mine field, so we almost always must grovel before a legal practitioner... or else expose ourselves to grave risks.)
Spiritual marriage is what I advocate (with or without a deity / church involvement / approval--your choice). Side stepping the government scam, while seemingly initially inconvenient, pays off in the long run, I believe.
Please consider: Instead of having these insanely expensive weddings... often almost competitive in their opulence (where "opulence" = high expense relative to income [People sometimes even go into debt for such occasions.]), spend just a fraction of the dough for a lawyer to hammer out inheritance issues, DNR, and power of attorney, etc.
I shudder at how people have become so accustomed to believing that government (marriage license) is what legitimizes marriage--an affair of the heart, for _____'s [insert deity] sake! I mean, there were times in history when marriage ("western" / euro culture, at least) was simply a PROMISE between two people. (Do we need simply to call it something else to side-step government intrusion? Dunno. I know I will / already do. LOL! Perhaps I'm ahead of my time per this Liberty issue....)
And lo: we can always rely on social pressure from each other to keep each other in line / total conformity, especially with regard to marriage... being one of the biggest institutions conducive to the "conform-or-you're-a-loser" mentality!
What would the Founders do?
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