Brother Ron Barnes
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Marrying Without a Marriage License


Dear Brother Ron


I am interested in knowing facts. From a Godly point of view, is it acceptable to marry without the permission of the state? I realize that a ceremony not performed with a license will not be acknowledged by law, but is this acknowledged by the Lord? Some have quoted the verses of the bible that state you must follow the laws of the land... true, i am wondering though, would this not be balanced by the verse that states ( not verbatum) that it is better to marry if one cannot control the lusts that they are feeling? I am having a lot of trouble with this, and have been practicing celebasy for 2 1/2 yrs, and we have been dating here and there for 2 yrs. While we would like to marry, my boyfriend and i would face many other legal issues if we were to do this with the certificate right now. This may take roughly 1-2 yrs for us to sort it all out and do it the soley by law.

The brunt of my question is: are we able to marry under God first, and once we clear up the other legal issues, do this again with a marriage certificate or is this not a possibility in the church? He is Catholic, i am Christian, any denomination's view is appreciated on this matter, i would like to understand fully. If you are a Godly person, please include an example or verse so that i may visualize. Please, no speculation or opinions that have no factual backup.


Dear DJ


First of all, citing a Biblical quotation would be difficult since all marriages at that time were under the auspices of the church. If you were not married by the church, you were not married. Keep in mind that marriage in those days served a very different purpose than modern marriages. A marriage verified membership of the children in the tribes of Israel. Since the purpose of marriage was the production and raising of children, it was crucial for them to be able to prove they were "real" Jews.

You and your boyfriend obviously do not consider children a priority so this standard would not apply. The permission of the state is a legal matter, not a spiritual one. If the two of you feel bound in spirit, the marriage license is irrelevant in the eyes of God. Despite what some politicians claim, God has way too much class to get involved in politics. He knows your heart and knows the forces that compel you and your boyfriend to want to share a life.

Consider Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. They have been together for many years and have grown children. They have never married for legal and business reasons but are considered one of the most stable couples in Hollywood. If legal reasons are preventing your marriage, I see no reason why you should let this prevent you from following your heart. I'm pretty sure God would approve. After all, who do you think inspired your two to be attracted to each other? Obviously it wasn't a lustful attraction so it must be spiritual. That's God's department, not the state's.

Best always
Brother Ron