Regarding Robert K. Vischer’s “Prop 8 & the Rule of Facts” (September 10): The struggle for acceptance and recognition for gay and lesbian couples has resulted in a hodgepodge of state laws regarding same-sex unions. This dilemma can be solved by treating all couples the same way—but not as currently proposed. In the United States, couples go to the local authority and get a license to marry. This is not a marriage. The local magistrate can perform that service, but more commonly, the ceremony is performed by clergy, who are authorized by the state to sign the marriage certificate.
The solution is for states to dispense with licenses, revoke clergy authorizations, and require all couples, gay and straight, to undertake a civil union witnessed by the local magistrate. This would remove the dispute over marriage from the political arena. As in many European countries, if a religious wedding is desired, the couple can then take the matter up with their clergy.