SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Marriage could soon be called a domestic union in the state of Missouri if a proposed bill pre-filed this week is passed.
The change would be applicable to everyone wishing to marry, but the legislator behind it says it would help protect same-sex couples and churches.
State representative T.J. Berry says the idea came about after another resolution didn’t pass. That was SJR39, which would have protected churches and businesses from penalties if they denied services to gay weddings. His newly proposed legislation, Berry says would protect both sides.
“We want to protect church and clergy and we want people to feel included,” he said.
Under this proposed legislation marriage licenses would be called a contract of domestic union.
“I thinks some people would really be against that idea, just because domestic union doesn’t sound as loving, and what the norm is,” said Makenzie Young.
“Whether it’s marriage or domestic union, what’s the difference?” said Johnny Johnson.
Representative Berry says one of the goals is to separate church and state.
“The hot controversy over gay marriage, whether you’re pro or against, is traditionally a religious argument. So why are you having this in the public arena in a government area?”he said.
For some, that sounds like the way things should be.
“Religion doesn’t really belong in some things that are politically natured,” said Heidi Heinrichs.
Others the word doesn’t necessarily mean any religious beliefs or practices.
“I personally never really connected the word marriage with religion just because that’s what it has always been,” said Angel Kloepfer.
The benefits would be the same and this change would apply to everyone.
“There’s absolutely no chance of discrimination, everybody goes through the process if you want government benefits,” said Berry.
Berry says it would help diffuse the controversy over gay weddings…
“Anything to have equal inclusion of all people I’m so for it, so whatever they need to do, let’s do it,” said Mikey Bellinger, a MSU student.
While protecting churches and the rights of those who wish to be married in one.
“If you church supports traditional marriage they are not going to do it, and if they support gay marriage they are going to do it, but isn’t that what religious freedom is all about?”