From the colonial period to the second decade of the twenty-first century in the United States of America, marriage has been the subject of legislation and court decisions. Specifically, the question that I am exploring herein is how statutes and court decisions define or permit “who can marry whom?” The following is not intended to be a detailed overview of more than four centuries of history. Undoubtedly, there exist monographs and books written on this topic and the interested reader can search them out. I did a search through DuckDuckGo on “history American marriage laws”, which returned several hits. The first sites, including Wikipedia, contained some information about the changes in American law since the colonial period and several things jumped out at me and that’s what I want to discuss. The reader is warned that this might be “getting into the weeds” somewhat, but the overall trend addressing “who can marry whom?” is what I’m interested in sharing with you.Continue reading “Marriage Laws – A Brief Survey of Changes in Modern America”
In the opening article in my new “Marriage Laws” series, I made the proposition that Yeshua clearly said that some things belong to YHVH only, and that marriage is one of those things that YHVH has reserved to Himself, and not given to Caesar (the government) to legislate. In forthcoming articles, I will explore how “Caesar” in America and other societies in the past has arrogated to himself the power to regulate marriage. In this second article, I am going to answer the question of what YHVH has said about marriage. It turns out that He has said a great deal, and nowhere has He said that Israel’s rulers have any legal jurisdiction on this topic. If they don’t, how much less jurisdiction do the nations have?
We will begin at the beginning during Creation Week in which we are going to analyze what He said and did through the aftermath of the Fall. Later, we will discuss what He put into the Sinai Covenant and the related statutes and judgments in Leviticus and Deuteronomy.Continue reading “Marriage Laws – What YHVH Has Said”
When people put forth arguments against the polygyny laws of the Old Testament, one of them is that if there are laws on the books that make polygyny illegal, then even if it’s legal in the Old Testament, it’s not legal in the present day, and the secular law is the controlling authority and should be obeyed.Continue reading “Marriage Laws – God or Caesar?”
The most recent issue of Patriarchs’ Journal (V. 3 Issue 21) has a very thought provoking article by attorney Rick Knuth titled, “So Which ‘Traditional Marriage’ Do People Want To Save?’
“Until the passage of Married Women’s Acts in 1898, a married woman’s property was controlled by her husband, even property she brought it into the marriage. Married women were legally incompetent to transfer assets or make binding contracts for themselves…
“This was preceded by an even older tradition, “coveture,” under which a woman, once married, lost her separate identity. The wife was considered to be her husband’s property, and all she owned was under his control. He could dispose of his wife’s property and could command her labor, even her body itself.”
In fact, Knuth points out in his short and rather pithy article that marriage as a ‘romantic union between a man and a woman’ is quite a new ‘tradition.’ Among other valid points he presents, Knuth reminds the reader that civil and state regulation of marriage is also more occasional than traditional. As I have pointed out, the state has no place in marriage bonds and, for that matter, Scripturally, neither do religious ‘authorities.’
The point to really consider is, ‘are God’s ways better than man’s? Cognitively, we know the resounding answer is ‘Yes!’, but our flesh often cries out against it. Just as with Shabbat, feasts and eating clean, we should simply embrace the Word of God regarding family structure and marriage while trusting that blessings follow obedience.
Additional thoughts regarding marriage, family and the restoration of Israel in our Restoring Kol Israel series.