The authentication of marriage

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The primary question presented by Stephanie Coontz is the legitimacy of using a marriage license to validate marriages. The author examines the reason why couples require permission from the state so as to marry. In the Western history, marriage was decided by two families and the state was not involved. The authentication of marriage has changed over time from being validated by parents to the church and eventually by the state. The government started using the marriage license as a way of deciding the dependents of a married couple by using the marriage as proof. Marital status is further used to determine the beneficiaries of health insurance and pension benefits of employees. Though this was practical when almost all of the adults were married it has changed since marriage licenses do not show all personal responsibilities. The above is true because most of the American adults are not married yet they still have responsibilities. Hence when the state uses a marriage license to determine when it should protect the interpersonal relationships, it will not be sensible. The above will have negative impacts when recognizing the inheritance rights of children from parents who are not married. Since marriage has changed over time, I agree with the author's conclusion that churches should be the ones to decide the marriages to be deemed licit and couples should be allowed to decide if they want any legal protection and the obligation of a committed relationship. A marriage license is no longer practical since it does not address the current circumstances in most couples. The interest of the public is not addressed when it comes to helping people meet their different care-

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