the church murder case (insert)

"This has always confused me," Father Frank continued, "and some of my parishioners as well. It seems almost as if anybody who says they're married is considered married."

"That's not far from the truth," my employer replied. "Most countries in the world, and most religions, consider marriage a good thing in the abstract. We don't. Because most societies consider it a good thing, they encourage people to get married, by giving them financial and other benefits for doing so.

"Once that starts to happen, then you have to be able to reliably identify who is married and who isn't, so you can be sure you're giving those benefits only to the right people."

"And, of course, societies use this to enforce their particular views on who should be able to get married and who shouldn't." She shrugged. "We don't do any of that, frankly because we don't care. Get married, or not, what does it matter to us? You get no benefits from us, so we have no reason to track who is married and who isn't." She smiled. "It makes life so much easier.

"Which doesn't mean we're against marriage on an individual basis. Marshall and I are married, but I'm not going to impose that on other people, any more than I would try to force people to smoke cigarettes and wear neckties, just because I do."

"What about incest?" Father Frank asked.

She frowned. "Are you asking in relation to marriage?"

"Yes. What if two people who were blood relations wanted to get married?"

She looked thoughtful. "An interesting question, in theory. Does it have any basis in fact? Do you know of any instances of this happening?"

He shook his head. "No, thank God. But it sounds like you're leaving the door open."

She laughed. "I suppose we are, and thank you for pointing that out. But I think we'll hold off on worrying about that scenario until we find out if it's real. Not that incest of various sorts doesn't occur, but I don't believe it usually ends up with a desire for matrimony." She shrugged. "Abstract theoretical discussions can be challenging and fruitful, but public policy should really be bounded by reality."

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About Anthony Lee Collins

I write.
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