Then by your definition marriage can only be sanctioned by the religious community..Government has no right between two people determiming their own destiny..Seeing as how a JOP "married" my wife and me. We must by your definition be only a legal contract unsanctioned by any religious community...Ok by me.. Two people(or more as far as I care) who enter into a legal contract ie: marriage should be able to share in te same benifits a any other legal contracted people...ie: married folks.<quoted text>No, next of kin is generally defined by law and is used in a legal process to determine ownership of property and guardianship of juveniles. It typically is blood based by first choice then marital based. For instance, if you had a kid and the mother died during birth then you remarried, your next of kin in most states would be your kid, and guardianship would go to either one of your parents, one of your siblings, one of the dead mother's parents, then to your now wife if they were unable or unwilling to take guardianship of the child.
Marriage is a legal concept born out of a religious concept specifically to determine the disposition of property and offspring legally. When the state took over, there was a concept called common law marriage which stated that after being together as husband and wife for a period of time although not legally recognized by the state or a church, you were in effect legally married. But almost all states have gotten rid of that.
Now everything that is accomplished by marriage can be accomplished by legal doctrine. Disposition of property can be accomplished by last will and testaments, quit deeds and upon death deeds and or contracts. Medical privilege can be accomplished by designating the significant other as the medical power of attorney and a few other things. Guardianship of children can be accomplished by adoption and/or a will with agreements. What cannot be accomplished in this way is tax breaks for asset inheritance and other government handouts to married people. In fact, one of the two court cases in front of the supreme court right now is because a foreigner who married outside of the US but now lives here doesn't want to pay taxes on an inheritance.
Love has nothing to do with it. It's all about the benefits and extras from the government. Next of kin is a government function and it is the right of the government to determine it.
Government has no rights except those that we allow it to have..