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Old 20th April 2009, 06:03 AM   #132
Euromutt
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Originally Posted by linusrichard View Post
A contract is neither a public Act, record, or judicial proceeding.
I think this is where the sticking point in your argument lies. Civil marriage can be both a contract, and a public Act. Washington state law, for example (I use Washington state law as an example because it's where I live), explicitly states that "marriage is a civil contract between a male and a female who have each attained the age of eighteen years, and who are otherwise capable" (italics mine). However, it also requires that "before any persons can be joined in marriage, they shall procure a license from a county auditor [...]," and that the contract be solemnized by a person authorized to do so by the state.

That imprimatur of the state is what sets marriage apart from standard business contracts as also being a public Act. It really has to be, since marriage is not merely a contract between two parties with no resulting legal consequences for others, but one that everyone else (e.g. financial institutions, medical facilities, etc.) is legally obliged to respect.
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