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Holy Matrimony

June 2, 2009
Man and woman's hands lying on top of their marriage contract with yellow roses

Origin of marriage

The marriage of one man to one woman is the oldest institution on earth, predating all religion and government, inaugurated in the Garden of Eden by the Creator himself. The incarnate son of the Creator, Jesus, said, “Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, and said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain [two and no more] shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matthew 19:4–6).

The traditional view of marriage that has come down to us from antiquity is shared by peoples of every culture and language, and reflects quite well the Biblical definition of marriage as being only between a man and a woman. History, likewise, reveals that all governments and religions have assumed that marriage is an unalienable human mandate from God, thus pre-existing government, and that it is therefore beyond its jurisdiction.

Legislators and rulers have seldom attempted to tamper with the private nature of this covenant between a man and a woman. Where legislation has been passed in regard to marriage, it has, with rare exception, been to protect the sanctity and independence of this fundamental human right. In fact, previous to the last fifty years or so, the march of history had tended toward increasing respect for the distinctive autonomy and sanctity of holy matrimony. As the collective states became more enlightened, they increasingly legislated against polygamy, incest, abandonment of children, and the patriarchal abuse of the female in marriage.

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The United States has demonstrated in its tax codes a vested interest in protecting the autonomous freedom of marriage. But an “invested interest” separated from the Biblical and traditional concept of a lifetime covenant between one man and one woman provides no protection at all to marriage as God has ordained it. And so it is that, until recently, the states have not attempted to offer a definition of marriage different from the traditional assumptions and practices.

Role of the State

Let’s be very clear: the established record of history has consistently indicated that the state does not create the right of marriage. As a part of its function, it acknowledges and protects certain rights, duties, and privileges of both the husband and the wife, as have been well-defined by the common practice of otherwise diverse cultures and religions. Historically, governments have guarded the sanctity of marriage more consistently than they have other unalienable rights, such as liberty, property, and freedom of association.
Where the state has failed to protect the inherent nature of holy matrimony, by allowing polygamy or preventing mixed-race marriages, it was understood by all, and eventually was so demonstrated, to be the result of corruption and injustice in that state.

The state, being secondary to the institution of marriage, has no jurisdiction to redefine the nature of marriage, as in so-called same-sex “marriage.” Even in ancient Greece, where homosexual activity was common, same-sex relationships were understood to be the aberration—equal to adultery—while heterosexual marriage was understood to be the norm.

History has consistently demonstrated that there resides in our human nature an innate knowledge that marriage—for it to be true marriage—is altogether consistent with the Creator’s intent as revealed in the Bible.

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History of holy matrimony

Most of my readers will agree that holy matrimony is not the product of the state, but few understand that it is likewise not the product of the church.

For three hundred years after Christ, the church viewed marriage as primarily a private matter not requiring ecclesiastical or state sanction. It was understood that marriage predated both religion and the state, and did not look to either for its legitimacy.

The early church devised liturgies to celebrate the Eucharist, Baptism and Confirmation, but no such liturgy was created for marriage. It was not important or required for a couple to have their nuptials blessed by the church. Men and women of responsible age could marry by mutual agreement in the presence of family and friends as witnesses.

The first detailed account of a Christian wedding in the West dates from the 9th century, and it was identical to the old nuptial service of Ancient Rome—looking to neither the church nor the state to authenticate the union. Of course, the members of a congregation took a great interest in the union of a young couple from their ranks, which is why those marriages were celebrated with family, friends, and fellow believers. But the right to marry was assumed to be a common-law right from the Creator, predating the church.

However, throughout the Middle Ages, churches often recorded the names and dates of marriages, as well as the children of that union. After printing became common, the old family Bible became the authentic record of births, marriages, and deaths.

Until 1545, all marriages in medieval Europe, including Christian marriages, came under the jurisdiction of common law. Holy matrimony occurred when two adults declared themselves to be husband and wife and then consummated the marriage in a one flesh union. Self-declared marriages were recognized as valid, even in the absence of witnesses.

The concept of a third-party “marrying” a couple was foreign to them. For those living in that time, it was inconceivable that a man could have any authority to join a couple in holy matrimony. God was understood to be the one who “joined together” a man and a woman, and he had already established the point or kind of union and its primary purpose—sexual intercourse. It was understood to be within the power of a man and a woman to commence a life of union as they pleased. The couple would publicly promise themselves to each other—called a “verbum sap” (Latin for “no more need be said”)—and then assume the duties of husband and wife, and that was marriage. When family structure and economic conditions made it possible, there were wedding feasts and celebrations surrounding a marriage, but the blessing of an ecclesiastical or civil authority were unwarranted.

Marriage not the domain of the church

How did marriage come to be viewed as the domain of the church? In the sixteenth century, as many Roman Catholics were discovering justification by faith and leaving the fold to become Protestants, the Roman church launched a counter-reformation. In an attempt to delegitimize Protestant marriages, the Roman Church abolished “clandestine” marriage at the Council of Trent (1545–1563), ruling that in the future, a marriage would only be valid if it were performed by a Catholic priest in the presence of two witnesses. Of course, this transferral of marital authority into the hands of the clergy did not affect those outside the Roman church, where marriage by common consent continued to be the norm.

Since it had become traditional for the Roman Catholic Church to recognize and record marriages, in the Protestant community separation from the old hierarchy left a vacuum that was soon filled by the Protestant states. By the 1600s, many of the Protestant European countries initiated the state’s involvement in the institution of marriage.

England abolished clandestine or common-law marriages in the Marriage Act of 1753, requiring marriages to be performed by a priest of the Church of England. This law did not apply to Jews or Quakers. It was an “inner church/state” act. All countries in Europe have now abolished “marriage by habit and repute”, with Scotland being the last to do so in 2006.

In the United States, new common-law marriages initiated in a state are still recognized in Alabama, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah and the District of Columbia, and in Canada, several provinces recognize them.

Licensed by the State

At the age of eighteen, when I was “ordained” by the Southern Baptist Church to preach the gospel, they steered me into applying to the State of Tennessee for a license to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. That also gave me the legal status to perform weddings on behalf of the state. I accepted the whole process as needful for what God had called me to do, not in the least understanding the implications behind it all. It is downright scary to me to think back now on what they and I did.

Think about it. It was God who created sexual beings and ordained their marriage, and it is HE who joins them together so that no man can put asunder that union. And it is HE who commissioned me to preach the gospel and commanded me to go forth, but I ignorantly subjected God’s calling to the state and asked their permission to obey God. In exchange for that “submission” on my part, the state delegated to me the authority to act as a proxy for them in granting what had been public domain for six thousand years of human history—holy matrimony.

The state can only license that which is under its jurisdiction. And anything it licenses can be forbidden or regulated. In short, to receive licenses is to acknowledge the state’s supremacy over that activity, and it is a surrender to state control.

I applied for and received from the state a driver’s license, by which I acknowledge the state’s jurisdiction over the road systems. By being a license holder, I place myself under the penalty of law for violating any state regulation covering the use of public roads. I have no problem with being so licensed. I acknowledge the state’s jurisdiction over the roads it has built and maintains. I also recognize that without my consent, the state can change the laws at any time, and I am responsible to submit to any revision.

To receive from the state a license to marry is to acknowledge the state’s authority over marriage. What it licenses, it can un-license. One person can go to that state and have their contract of marriage dissolved. Why? Because the two parties of the divorce signed away their rights to “until death do us part” when they received a state license. The state is not bound by the verbal covenant you made in church. The state, by our consent, has made itself higher than our sworn covenants, higher than the church—higher than the God who ordained marriage. It was not always so. It is now. All praise to the state supreme? I praise them not!

Redefined Marriage

Now that we have finally granted the state jurisdiction over marriage, it has taken upon itself the authority to change the rules that have been in place for the past six thousand years of human history. As of this writing, five states—Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, and Iowa—recognize same-sex “marriage” as legitimate marriage. Vermont will soon follow, starting September 1, 2009. California was recognizing same-sex “marriages,” but later revoked the right. The battle is not over. It is under judicial review. Marriage licenses that once had lines for the signature of Bride and Groom now read Subject A, Subject B. When your daughter gets married will she be A or B? According to those states, she cannot be a “bride.” That is now politically incorrect discriminatory language.

The first country to allow same-sex couples to enter into legally recognized “marriages” was the Netherlands, effective in 2001. Since then, six other countries—Belgium, Spain, Canada, South Africa, Norway and Sweden—have followed suit.

Same-sex couples can be “civilly united,” but not married, in 16 other countries and in specific jurisdictions within five others. Even Israel recognizes legal same-sex marriages from other jurisdictions, but does not perform its own same-sex marriages. Political and legal debate continues in over two dozen other countries and in multiple U.S. states.

Californians will lose the battle against having their marital status degraded and viewed as on par with an abominable perversion. Now that we have surrendered marriage to the state, it can now be redefined to the lowest denominator. Six thousand years of tradition will not affect this “progressive” trend. Biblical principles were disregarded 150 years ago. The opinion of the majority will have no meaningful bearing. The courts will overrule millennia of acceptable tradition and the will of the people.

Sodomite Agenda

Sodomites are seeking to redefine marriage in the courts and statutes to include same-sex unions. If their concern were just to obtain the same legal benefits enjoyed by traditional marriages, they would be satisfied with “domestic partnership” or “civil unions”. But no, they want much more. They want to legislate the beliefs, attitudes, and values of people everywhere! It is not just legal standing they seek; it is complete social and moral approval of their chosen, self-felt immoral degradation.

Marriage, necessarily requiring a man and a woman, has by nature been an institution of exclusion from other “pairings” of people for sexual gratification. It has earned respect and honor as a sanctified and worthy institution, the place where future generations are incubated and nurtured. On the other hand, sodomy, by its nature, has historically been understood by all cultures to be an aberration, a perversion, unworthy of praise. Queers are tired of being queer. They want to escape the stigma their sin carries by joining the ranks of the holy—holy matrimony.

Proponents of same-sex “marriage” regard it as a human right to be able to enter into “marriage” regardless of sexual orientation. I agree that Sodomites have a human right to do the wrong thing, to do harm to themselves, to be ignorant or stupid, but there is no human right to constrain others to approve or legally validate that choice. Just because one is free to choose does not render all choices appropriate. But it is not really the right to choose they seek; it is the denial of our right to choose otherwise that is at the forefront of their campaign.

Maggie Gallagher of the National Review says same-sex “marriage” advocates seek to use the law to “stigmatize, marginalize, and repress those who disagree with the government’s new views on marriage and sexual orientation.” Sodomites want you punished for making them feel ashamed or guilty. They will not rest until it is illegal to quote the Bible regarding the sin of sodomy. You can be certain that, within the next few years, homosexuals will be a protected species and heterosexuals the endangered species. They will use the courts to purge society of the last vestige of negative speech or discriminatory actions. There is no stopping it, short of a nationwide repentance of true saints for their faithlessness in praying for those in authority over them, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Tim. 2:1–4). And, God willing, that revival may be the spark that God will use to ignite another revival of the godless among us to repentance for their hell-worthy sins.

Dishonest argument

Defenders of traditional marriage have already lost the battle out of timidity. They argue that marriage is for procreation, something same-sex partners cannot do. What about sterile couples? Should they be denied the right to marry? Defenders of traditional marriage argue that “heterosexual couples provide the procreative foundation that is the chief building block of civilization, and that children are best raised with a mother and a father.” No doubt true, but what of all the single parents? Others argue that same-sex marriage is contrary to traditional marriage. So what? does that make it wrong? Others put forth religious objections, to which the other side quickly reminds us that religion is often on the wrong side. Defenders of heterosexual marriage argue that “the definition proposed by same-sex marriage advocates changes the social importance of marriage from its natural function of reproduction into a mere legality or freedom to have sex.” That might have been a good argument for the Puritans three hundred years ago, but it is embarrassing now.

What I am attempting to convey to you is this: It is ultimately futile to reject same-sex “marriage” on such flimsy grounds as those listed above. Most of you by now should know that such arguments are our last stand after having abandoned our real belief—Sodomy is hurtful sin. Anything else would be like the arguments used against premarital sex that point to “how unfulfilling it is to get involved too early.” Good luck with that argument.

You can voice all kinds of arguments about the social implications and what is best for the rearing of children, but that is nothing more than a smoke screen for a faith-grounded worldview. We do not want our holy marriages identified with same-gender unions because we know homosexuality to be an ugly sin, totally contrary to the will of God as revealed in the Bible. Period.

Are we ashamed to voice our real position? Probably not. For some it is easier or a matter of expediency not to “say those words.” Others are not ashamed, but have not sat down and clearly thought it through and measured their thoughts by Scripture. We know that government no longer recognizes the authority of God, and for that reason has lost its original reason for protecting the sanctity of marriage. When God was displaced with human rights, it left a vacuum of authority. The State stepped right in and filled the void on behalf of the people. Why not compromise some so-called moral issues and try to accommodate all of its citizenry? If homosexuals want to be included in the bonds of matrimony, who are we (the State) to say it is inappropriate? A break with tradition, yes. Contrary to the comfort zones of many, so what? They will get over it. If there is no longer a moral Lawgiver, all that is left are the feelings and passions of the people. And why should the majority deny pleasure to the minority?

“If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?” (Psalm 11:3). Offering feeble arguments about the functionally and social superiority of our position is a pitiful, losing argument. Rather, let us speak the truth, proclaiming that Jesus is the Creator, the Bible is his perfect word, we will all stand in the judgment to answer for our deeds, and homosexual acts are sinful, ending in eternal damnation for all those who practice them. And our closing statement can be, We will not accept a license from the government that views our holy marriages on a parity with a couple of Sodomites trading HIV viruses and adopting kids they could never produce.

Through the power of Godless judges in the courts, sexual deviants are pushing the State to grant them the same license that once only legitimized holy matrimony. There is no stopping the flow. One state after another is falling to their persuasion. If not already, in your state you will soon find yourself standing beside a grinning queer who holds a marriage license identical to yours. If you speak against it, you will soon find yourself in court. The only recourse when snakes get in your boat is to get out—fast. When it becomes a snake boat, I will swim or find another boat.

When your state declares your marriage license to be fully equal in all respects to a Sodomite’s, it will be time to repudiate the state licenses and climb to higher ground over which the state has no jurisdiction. They can recognize the civil rights of a perverted union if they please, but we will maintain ground that is faith-based and divinely protected.

Confusion

The problem that has arisen today to monumental proportions is simply that the State should never have been granted jurisdiction over holy matrimony. “We, the people” are responsible for letting this happen. Marriage has never been a political construct until this last generation. To demand that the State protect the sanctity of holy matrimony is to burden the State with enforcing a position that assumes the authority of the Holy Bible, which they have abandoned. It will never happen in the United States of America, nor anywhere else in the world.

Proposal

I will offer you a practical solution. When your state grants marital status to same-sex partners, send the state notification of your revocation of your state marriage license. And then as a couple, draw up a document that you file in your local courthouse that declares your marriage to have occurred on the date you were married long ago, including city, county, and state, with a brief statement about the Biblical nature of your covenant before God, and then signed by the two of you and witnessed by two friends. It is a retro-marriage covenant—not a license.

When I first shared this with my wife, she freaked out and said she did not want to get a divorce, just to be married again 38 years later. No, your rejection of the state license will not be a divorce. You are just acknowledging that the state never had jurisdiction over your marriage and that your marriage has existed, and does exist, apart from the state. We expect the state to continue to recognize our marriage, granting us all the protection and rights that marriages have traditionally enjoyed. It will just give us the satisfaction of stepping out of the circle into which the queers have stepped. The document of marriage you draw up and witness will have the force of law when it is witnessed and filed at your local courthouse.

Better late than never

Several years ago, a couple with several children came to me with a concern. When they were young, they had run away to get married and then came back home declaring themselves to be husband and wife. But they never had a ceremony before a preacher or a justice of the peace. It was a common law marriage. It was now a concern to them because of the legal consequences of not being married in the eyes of the State. What if one of them died? What about property rights, etc.? So I drew up a document much like the one I am advocating that stated the early date of their marital union and declared them to be married from that date to the present, “until death do they part.” They signed it and my wife and I witnessed it, and they took it down to the local courthouse where it was notarized and filed. It took five minutes and cost $.50 plus the cost of gas. It is a valid marriage contract.

Private covenant marriage

All of my children but one were married by private contract. They did not ask the state for permission to marry. I wrote a one-page covenant for them, something like a private contract, that stated their commitment to enter into holy matrimony according to Biblical precepts, a few of which were enumerated. The contractual part of the wedding consisted of their verbal pledges of marriage and their signing the pledge in front of all present. Parents also signed the pledge, committing to the union, and then siblings and friends signed it as well. In unison, all present pronounced them man and wife by the power vested in us from God. They later took a copy of the document to the courthouse and had it notarized and filed. They have never failed to gain equal status before the law as being legally married.

Need your help

I am not an attorney. Many of my readers are. Lend us a hand. Research the statutes for us, and draw up a one-page marriage covenant that we can make available to our readers free. Also, please draw up a document that we can file with the courthouse that rescinds [rescinds, nullifies, sets aside, revokes] a state marriage license already in force. Email that to me with or without your credentials. If you wish, I will include your credentials on the instrument you create for us, including any contact information you may wish. But, of course, you may remain anonymous. If you do want credit, please send us a letter of consent to publish it free of charge in our publications.

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(Our Biblical grounds against same-sex marriage: Genesis 19:5, Leviticus 18:22, Romans 1:22–32, 1 Corinthians 6:9–20, Jude 1:7, Isaiah 3:9)

They won’t mate!

I hired a young boy to help do some chores around the place. Our first job was to gather up the old hoses and irrigate the garden. But the hoses had many cuts and leaks, and some had broken couplings, so I purchased a sackful of brass couplings and hastily repaired the hoses. When I finished fixing them, I told the boy to hook them up and run them down to the sprinkler in the garden. After thirty minutes, he was still running back and forth, dragging hoses this way and that. I asked him, “What’s the problem?” In complete frustration he replied, “There is something queer about these hoses; I can’t make them fit together, no matter which way I turn them.” I examined the hoses and discovered that on one hose, I had put a female coupling on each end. Laughing heartily, I said, “You got that right; there is no way to mate two females. The couplings simply can’t couple.”

 

Leave a Reply

38 comments on “Holy Matrimony”

  1. What a great article! I have been thinking a lot about this issue lately. My wife and I plan to revoke our license and submit a covenant. Has anyone been able to send a standard covenant to you like you suggested?

  2. Ok....my daughter is getting married in 3 mos. and after reading this article in a recent NGJ, they do not want a state license. Did you ever get anyone to help draw up a marriage covenant? How do I find out if our state (MI) does 'recognize' filing something like you suggested? Where can they hold a wedding, if not in a church (that may require either a state license, and/or a licensed pastor), during our cold MI winters (i.e. not outside)? Oh, dear! We are running short on time to come up against this now! I hope you will answer this asap! 🙂
    Thanks SO much for your help!
    ~Jan
    P.S. How do we find out abt. property rights, etc., etc., if/when one of them dies?

  3. I couldn't agree more about the state marriage license thing! This has been something that has bothered me for a while... I am not married, but if I ever get married I will not be doing it through the state! Just me, my husband, and my God. 🙂

    Thanks for the article. It really resolved a lot of things I had been questioning about marriage controversies.

  4. What is the status of the marriage covenant? My husband and I will celebrate 30 years in May and we would like to do that for soon. Though we did a license at the time of the wedding, we have always felt our marriage is a covenant with God and that divorce is not an option.

    Even though we like the covenant idea and will gladly revoke our license, we wouldn't change our church wedding. We are thankful for the pastor who presented the gospel to our lost family (at our request).

  5. Your views and use of the word "queer" makes me sad... As one who works with youth who identify themselves as queer (since it is their right to do so, not yours) I feel that I must speak up for them... they do not choose to be the way they are, nor are they they Sodomites in a biblical sense (yes, I have a degree in theology). I understand your perceived need to protect the sanctity of marriage... but... how does it make your marriage any less to let different folks marry? For at one time, interracial marriages weren't allowed either, based on perceived biblical premises.

    1. Laura, would you be happier with the word "pervert"? "Queer" has meant the same thing in popular vernacular for years, but "pervert" more accurately reflects the Lord's view of same-gender sexual behavior as "perverted", not what He designed men and women for. Note the Scripture references given at the end of the article, both OT and NT.

      To seek to compare same-sex "marriage" with intercultural marriage does not compute, Biblically-speaking. I do not use the word "race", since the Bible says God has made us all of one blood, and He does not differentiate between people of different skin tone, nor has He ever forbidden the intercultural marriage of two believers. Simply speaking, we are all members of the human race, period.

      Go all the way back to Moses and you'll see that when he married an African woman and his sister, Miriam, criticized him for it, God struck her with leprosy. Only when Moses interceded for her did God heal her.

      Again, there is no Biblical reason to oppose intercultural marriage, but there is Biblical reason to stand against the world's pressure to legitimize same-sex relationships with the word "marriage". There is no Biblical support for this idea.

  6. Has anyone responded with the guidelines to draw up a marriage covenant to file at the court house? My husband and I would like to file one. Thanks

  7. Holy Matrimony - Please take the time to answer this. We are in need. My husband married a couple without a license in MI, this happened in Nov. 2009. We are still facing persecution from our council and some church members. Good grief. How would these people have lived with Jesus, who was about breaking laws to teach the religious leaders a lesson or two. Anyway, it is illegal to do in MI which we could care less about. I have researched and researched and they tried to contact you for info. I understand, however you are soooo busy. They made up their own beautiful covenant and had it notarized and we signed it. They were laughed out of the court house who refused to take it. So this week they finally got a license. Do you have any info at all with this? Any scripture? Anyone who knows MI law? My husband could be put in jail and fined for this, which we don't really care, but would rather not happen. We are mostly just concerned for the battle with our church council.

    Guess MI just has tougher and more stupid laws. At least they have philosophical exemption for vaccines. Woot!

  8. I live in Idaho, & though marriage is not on the horizon yet, I would really like to get a copy of your 'covenant'...could you put out an example or something????

    Thank you for your stand! It has been a real eye-opener...
    Blessings,
    SH

  9. My fiance and I are getting married in one month. I currently live in VA and will move to ME where he is. We have decided against a marriage license for reasons stated in this article and wish to do a notarized contract like you're mentioning. Is there any more info I can get on this? I don't care so much if we're legally recognized as married, but my family sure does and for their sanity, I want to make sure it's possible to be legally married without a license. If you or anyone else reading this can give me more advice or stories of other people who have done this, I would greatly appreciate it!!!!!

  10. My husband is a pastor and we have been married for 8 yrs. I appreciate Bro. Pearl's perspective on this matter and agree that the State does not have jurisdiction over a marriage. However, I personally feel it is foolish to deviate from the laws of our land and "marry" without a legal license. We are commanded in Scripture to adhere to the laws of our land, as long as they do not violate the commands of God. I don't see that getting a marriage license violates anything in Scripture.

  11. My husband and I have been together for 7 years and have children together. We decided this year that we wanted to make it "legal", so that I could have his last name. But we do not want a state marriage license or a wedding ceremony. I called my attorney to find out if we could write up our own private marriage contract/ covenant and file it at our court house and be recognized by our state as married. My attorney told me that this is impossible in the state of Idaho. I was disappointed to hear this. So what we have decided is to write up our own private covenant that explains our religious and political views on why we do not want the state involved in our God given right to marry. And also to express our commitment to each other, til death do us part. We will not be filing this at our court house, we will have all our family and friends that attend our reception sign it as wittnesses to acknowledge us as a married couple in the eyes of God. My attorney told me that I can legally change my name to his, and we can write up a Will. By doing this we will not be eligible for any social security benefits from the state for each other. This is fine with us. We would rather not receive "benefits", from the government because there are always strings attached and can also be used as a form of control. I will be writing a letter to my newspaper editor on this topic. I would also like to start a petition for my state to acknowledge private marriage covenant/contracts. Blessings, Trisha

    Stand up for what you believe in, even if it means standing alone.
    - Unknown

  12. I think that the first step in addressing this issue is to differentiate between a Lawful marriage and a Legal marriage. A Lawful marriage is one that I would define as a marriage covenant in which God is the third party to the marriage. A Legal marriage is one in which the State is a third party to the marriage. Thus, I see many Christians with marriages of two characters: both Lawful and Legal. This creates a problem, for as Jesus said, no man can serve two masters.

    The State implements their scheme by way of a marriage license, but most people don't understand that the laws requiring a marriage license were not written to apply to them. If one looks up the word "license" in a legal dictionary, such as Blacks, one finds that a license is permission to do that which would otherwise be illegal, unlawful, a tort or a trespass. In other words, on gets a license to do that which one legally or lawfully had no right to do. The State cannot require a license for something you have a right to do... but if one applies for the license, it is assumed by the State that said person or persons had no right and a license was required.

    How does this apply to marriage? Well, look up the phrase "marriage license" in the same legal dictionary. One finds that a marriage license is "A license or permission granted by public authority to persons who intend to intermarry."

    What is the meaning of the term intermarry? Don't assume that you know the answer. Look it up, and you'll see "Miscegenation; mixed or interracial marriages."

    Look up Miscegenation and you'll find that it's defined as the unlawful mixing of the races, such as between a white and a negro...

    So, after learning all that, one understands that the Marriage license is a specific license to allow people of different races to marry, which was forbidden by Scripture. When a man and woman approach the state and apply for a marriage license they are in effect telling the state that they are not of the same race and have no right to marry under God's laws... and they are asking the state to be their god.

    This same marriage license creates a 3 party contract: you, your spouse and the State. The State is recognized to have an "equitable interest" in all the assets of the marriage... and the most valuable assets of any marriage are the children. This is the legal foundation of the State's authority to legislate things like compulsory education and vaccination of children... and the authority to enforce child welfare laws.

    It is not such a simple matter to nullify a contract such as this after the fact, as there has to be a settlement with respect to the equitable interests of the State. Unfortunately, this is one of the consequences of making a bad decision, whether it was done out of ignorance or fear. Once done, it cannot easily be undone.

    When a spouse dies under this rubric, the assets pass to the other spouse. When the remaining spouse dies, the heirs come forward to inherit... and the State, as the sole remaining party to this contract says "Buy me out." This is also known as the inheritance tax or the death tax. This is, by the way, where the authority to legally demand such a payment came from.

    There is far, far more to the issue of marriage licenses than there might seem, and my best advice to anyone considering marriage is a private marriage contract, witnessed and properly filed with the county recorder in the county wherein the Lawful marriage took place. As to nullifying an existing marriage, I would think that it would actually require a divorce, but even this would not nullify the equitable interest of the state in the assets of the marriage that were acquired during the period that the State was a party to the marriage.

    To get a definitive answer, that issue would probably have to be litigated and an a published decision would have to result from said litigation.... The problem there is that such an issue can only be litigated under the issue of religious free exercise, because only the fundamental rights of religious free exercise will move the State out of the "rational basis" test and onto the ground of "compelling interest" and that is the only way to win. Someone would have to bring an action... and that someone would have to have suffered damages... and the only damages that could be argued would have to be under issues of Scriptural authority. In other words, your relationship with the Lord is suffering because of this ungodly contract and your God requires that you quash, rescind and nullify said contract and remove the equitable interest of the State from any and all assets of the marriage.

    The only way to win on this issue is a proper and careful argument of religious free exercise, and the State must be forced to respond on the basis of compelling interest.

    You see, if the standard that the State is required to submit to is "rational basis" then all the State has to do is provide the court with a rational basis for why they are doing what they want to do. In other words, they make a reasonable argument and they win. Under "compelling interest" the State is forced to argue why they are forced to violate your rights of religious free exercise and have no other choice. In general... this is a very difficult process and requires proper preparation. In order for this issue to win correctly, the entire case has to be "created" specifically aimed at placing the case squarely before the highest courts possible, at least at the Federal Appellate level. I think it would be highly unlikely that the Supreme Court would grant cert on this issue unless there were a split in the Federal circuits.

    So, to sum up, I would not think that the simple filing of a document nullifying the marriage license is the way to go, nor do I think it would work to remove ones marriage from the authority of the State. Should someone more learned in this matter care to comment, I'd love to hear their thoughts.

  13. If anyone has submitted any ideas on legally carrying out the idea of getting out from under a state marriage license, I would certainly be very interested!

    My husband and I were going to avoid it, but we caved to family pressure and got one after all. Oh, the regret we feel! We'd love to free ourselves if we can.

  14. Thank you, Michael for your article. I have been able to pass this on to people who think i am certifiable. Thanks also to Daniel for sharing his expertise on the issue and everyone else for your stories. I love serving the Lord with my whole heart.

  15. I understand and appreciate all that went into compiling this vast amount of information. It is very enlightening and I have been truly blessed by reading it. I believe that a marriage covenant would help people to realize all that marriage is about and all that it is supposed to be in God's eyes. I believe every word from the Bible regarding right relationships and sinful relationships. I believe that God placed all of this in His word, the Bible, for our own good, edification and instruction in right living.
    I, personally, see nothing wrong in a state marriage liesense and I look to His word where God has told us to obey civil authority unless it goes against His word. I believe that it is at the very least a persons choice but for me it falls under God's Biblical mandate. As a result of having read this ariticle, I will now seek to establish a Covenant of Holy Matrimony to celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary. We have learned through the years, God has done a work in and through us and we gave accepted God's work and plan in our lives. But it is now time to put it on paper and tell the world what God has done in our lives, so that He may be glorified. Thank you, God bless you and keep you.

  16. I was absolutely enthralled with this article. For so long I have tried to use the useless arguments against homosexuality. Never knowing how to truly argue for Christ about it. This is giving me so much to think about I love the fact that there're still people out there who will stand up for God's true word. Thank you so much for posting this. God bless you

  17. So the RCW in Washington State is easy to find online, and although you aren't specifically talking about "common law" this is not a common law state, and in order to be married in our state according to the law you must have a marriage license. The law is easy to find online. Also, someone wrote on another website in answer to the question, can someone marry without a license or minister... (the entire thing must be read). So why would Christians want to be lawbreakers? Also, the writer of this article has asserted his opinions... God is my master - not the state. Just because I have a marriage license doesn't mean the state is my master. If you believe this, then you need to get rid of your state drivers license and far more than that -- you could wrongly reason that you can't have a boss because that's your master (in the way of thinking you are presenting). Some people may misuse and abuse your ideas presented here and marry - oh that one didn't work out - onto the next... oh that one didn't work out -- please answer for those that are teaching their children and others that it's okay to shack up - we'll just call it marriage and consumate it before God.... (abusers of your way of thinking -- perhaps they don't mean to abuse it). Finally, in this day and age FULL of people shacking up, LET US CLAIM MARRIAGE for those who love God - let's proclaim it from the Mt. Tops, obey the law and get a marriage license (are you kidding that thing get's shuffled away in a box somewhere - don't tell me that makes the state my master) and let us AVOID THE APPEARANCE OF EVIL. Marriage belongs to God. Yes, you can marry yourself without a marriage license or a minister. I think what you're asking, however, is whether the marriage will be legally recognized and that answer to that is...it depends. In some states, commonlaw marriage is legally recognized after certain conditions have been met. In states where commonlaw marriage is not recognized, however, then the answer is a resounding no. There's an ebook on Amazon called Marriage Without a License that may offer you more insight into this question.

  18. Hello,

    I have a question. My husband and I were married almost 15 yrs ago, and now have 4 beautiful children. At the time of our wedding, we were young and had no idea about this subject. Now, 15 years into it, we realize that we made a mistake in signing a contract with the state. My question is, would my children still be wards of the state if my husband and I chose to "divorce" and remarry under a Godly covenant? I am eager to get my hands on more info if you could please help.

    Thanks SO Much!
    Erin

    1. Just keep in mind if God forbid something happens to your spouse or vice versa you will no longer be considered next of kin and will not be able to see him. While i like the majoroty of the Pearls articles, not all of them are.really biblical. Joseph took Mary to register after they got married, and Jesus said render unto caesar that which is.Caesar's. Just saying, think about it before you jump on the bandwagon and do your research. Whats good for the goose is not always great for the gander.

  19. I have a dilemma...I truly believe in the doctrines you teach, but I am disappointed in how you choose to label individuals who transgress against our God. The derogatory label "Queers" just makes you come across as condescending and judgemental (which we know is something only God can do - to judge). In my conscience using language such as this will never be a drawing to anybody seeking to make a change. Again, this is my dilemma because I feel you have solid convictions and teachings on a myriad of issues in Christian life, but I cannot support name-calling. God Bless.

    1. Would you be happier with the word “pervert”? “Queer” has meant the same thing in popular vernacular for years, is commonly used amongst themselves, but “pervert” more accurately reflects the Lord’s view of same-gender sexual behavior as “perverted”, not what He designed men and women for. Note the Scripture references given at the end of the article, both OT and NT.

  20. I absolutely agree!!! Thank you so much for writing it up. When my husband and I were discussing marriage he told me all these things and I kind of freaked out not wanting to not really be married. However, I did still listen to him and we were married with a Affirmation of Christian marriage that we typed up. Afterwards we filed it at the court house under miscellaneous (they wouldn't allow under marriages). For 5 years we never had any trouble with anyone accepting our Marriage, until my husband joined the National Guard. After sending him to Basic they decided he was not married and that he didn't have dependents (we had 2 children and 1 on the way at the time). He was encouraged by all his superiors (one was a preacher) to just get a license and make it valid, but he refused. With help of family we typed up documents to request a declaration from our county judge showing that we were valid without license. After much fight, we received it!! And all his back pay.
    You might have to fight for your marriage against the state. But you can win and I believe you will be blessed by it!

  21. This article has good points, but just look at the comments below. Now people are going to start refusing marriage licenses. Then they wont be able to file taxes. Lets all just panic and freak out. Joseph took Mary to Bethlehem to essentialy register as a couple. Jesus said render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's. Thr thing most Christians dont like to admit is that THEY are the reason the sanctity of marriage is destroyed. If we are the salt of the earth why did i grow up in a fundemental, independent, KJV 1611 church with the pastor and deacons having affairs, missionaries leaving their wives for women they meet overseas and wives acting like a holy spirit to their husbands.

  22. So what is the point of having a private contract at all? Is having a private contract not similar? It may not be a license (which may be shared with homosexuals), but it still has to be recognized by your state to be a legal contract.

  23. Marriages in the West were originally contracts between the families of two partners, with the Catholic Church and the state staying out of it. In 1215, the Catholic Church decreed that partners had to publicly post banns, or notices of an impending marriage in a local parish, to cut down on the frequency of invalid marriages (the Church eliminated that requirement in the 1980s). Still, until the 1500s, the Church accepted a couple's word that they had exchanged marriage vows, with no witnesses or corroborating evidence needed.

    Marriage is a truly ancient institution that predates recorded history. But early marriage was seen as a strategic alliance between families, with the youngsters often having no say in the matter. In some cultures, parents even married one child to the spirit of a deceased child in order to strengthen familial bonds, Coontz said.

    1. Your post does not compute. The only people in the Western hemisphere in the 1200s were native Americans. Early Puritans publicly posted banns, or notices of impending marriage, but they were staunchly anti-Catholic. So were the Separatists (we call them Pilgrims). Not sure if they posted marriage banns, or not.

  24. Hi. I am glad to hear about common law marriage as it is an answer to a question a friend I and I were seeking God about. Ty! But it hurts my spirit your use of the word "queer" and certain comments that flavor the truth in this article like the HIV one. It leads the reader to believe the writer is sneering and judging with a derogatory grin. 🙁 I think it is the Spirit of God within me grieved. His word states the facts and that is it. Please reconsider the use of this derogatory word and language equal to the "n" word. Thank you for considering this. Lynn

    1. Dr. Michael Brown (a Jewish believer) wrote a book called 'A Queer Thing Happened to America' about the anti-Christian phenomenon which has so quickly led to the legalized re-definition of marriage in many states already. When he was on an airplane flight and told a seatmate of the book in response to conversation, the guy (who is a pervert, a more Biblical term) was totally unruffled by the title. Come to find out, they routinely call themselves that.

      http://www.amazon.com/Queer-Thing-Happened-America-Strange/dp/0615406092

  25. I had no idea that a state license is not an absolute necessity to make a marriage valid. And I am certainly on board with the idea of rescinding my submission to the state as the authority over my marriage. However, I have a concern with respect to those who, like I did, will have to submit a marriage license to state boards and national boards of certification, in order to change the name on state licensure. I have an Advanced Practice Nursing license (CRNA), and I wonder if a contract like what you described would be accepted by the likes of the NBCRNA when requesting a name change. All of that trickles down to things like billing for services, liability insurance, etc. So these people will need to recognize the name change!

  26. In the majority of states, in order to be recognized as husband and wife, one has to be LEGALLY married in accordance to state law of where the wedding took place. Even if one live in a common law state, the couple would have to be "living in sin" for about five years in order for that state to even recognize that marriage to be legal.

    From the looks of Tennessee law, Tennessee accepts the marriage contract, but if the copy moves to a different state, like New York, they might have to show proof of their marriage in order for that state to even recognize it.

  27. I hope your thinking has changed on traditional marriage. We should be supporting Biblical marriage, not Traditional marriage. There is nothing wrong Biblically, with a man having more than one wife.