“But whether you call it marriage or not is up to the church or the synagogue or the mosque. And it’s up to the state legislatures. I think marriage is a term of art. It’s a term of usage. But the legal side of it is not: It’s not negotiable.”
Or, alternatively, a sacrament. Not to mention a very well-defined traditional institution. Any doubts now about Wesley Clark’s preference for his abstract vision of the future over history or objective reality?
This, conservatives, is why the embrace of the State always leads to disaster. Once you give the State the power to define something, you give the State the power to redefine it. Clark is saying here that there is no such thing as spiritual or sacramental marriage, only a legal, state-recognized contract. Notice the usual pattern:
1) The State recognizes an exogenous institution.
2) The State offers benefits to the exogenous institution.
3) The State, as an interested party, demands some influence over the now-endogenous institution.
4) The State takes a controlling interest in the endogenous institution.
5) The State eradicates the involvement of the party which now has no influence regarding its former institution.
You may wish to rethink that whole voucher business. You can no more have a little State control than you can be just a little pregnant.