Love is blind and marriage is an institution.
So this means when you get married,
you check into an institution for the blind.
I am a married man who is anti-marriage. Now, before my wife thinks I am going to haul her in for a surprise divorce on her upcoming birthday... No. I love her very much and plan to grow old with her... unless she kills me first. Rather, I make that statement based on my Libertarian philosophy, and I am anti-marriage from a government perspective.
We are culturally steeped in the idea of marriage, so I really hadn't given it much more thought than "I do" or "I don't" until recently with all the hoopla surrounding same-sex marriage.
I'm no sociologist but I know marriage has existed in various forms and for various reasons throughout human history. Sex & procreation, a helper/cook, a protector, or to ensure the preservation of a bloodline or title, to pass along property, and so on. The idea of love is a modern one, since many marriages have been, and still are, arranged. I'm not saying that love has never existed in nuptials, just that it has not been a primary reason for initiating wedlock in every instance or culture.
Fast-forward to today in the U.S.A., I wonder why government at any level is in the marriage business? Licensing, sanctioning, regulating, etc. Despite claims by some, there is no mention of a god or particular belief system in The Constitution. We are a "Christian Nation" in tradition alone. Otherwise, we are (supposed to be) secular.
In my view, marriage is a two-part process for many. One part is religious, the part where one's chosen religion sanctions the union before God, etc.
The other part is legal, in which certain rights and privileges automatically kick in simply because one is "married." Next of kin, survivorship, hospital visitation, decisions on life support, property, inheritance, insurance, and the list goes on and on. I'm not a lawyer, but to write those same rights into a civil contract would likely require many pages of documents, powers of attorney, notary seals, etc. Yet simply by saying "I do" it's like finding the Golden Ticket and the rights magically disburse quicker than you can say "Habeas Corpus." Why is this?
My version? Any two consenting adults should be able to walk into a courthouse and fill out a simple checklist that extends some or all of the rights we typically associate with marriage. So it could be a "full marriage" or one with caveats. Traditional marriage already does that with prenuptial agreements, so it's not without precedent. Step in front of a notary, say vows if you wish, sign papers... boom. You're the same as what we now consider a traditional married couple.
If the religious portion is desired, then simply find a church that will perform the ceremony. And if you're a same-sex couple, some may choose to not do so, as is their right. With aforementioned legal papers in hand, before your god, the clergy, your family & friends, say your vows, sign your papers, notary/clergy seals it... boom. You're a married couple in the eyes of your religion, with whichever legal rights have been shared.
Complicated? I don't think so. Put the lawyers and legislators to work on it, it can be done. Probably won't, but imagine... the government governing, but not forcing one person's version of morality on another. But it's not likely, because it will be spun as "taking away" or "killing" marriage.
I don't advocate this as a lesser settlement for those desiring same-sex marriage. Rather, I want to level the playing field and get the government out of the marriage business, other than issuing the documents and enforcing the contract(s).
But as I said, I don't think it's likely to happen. Which is why I voted in favor of same-sex marriage here in Washington, which thankfully passed.