This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The United States rarely looks to Mexico for an example of how to do things, but sometimes it should. For example, because of Mexico's history with its dominant and dominating religion, Mexico has long had strong laws that emphasize separation of church and state.
In marriage, that means the state only recognizes civil (not religious) marriages, which are performed by the Registro Civil. Religious officials are not empowered to legally marry couples (they may officiate in a separate religious ceremony).
That approach would help solve some of our brouhaha over same-sex marriage. Require that everyone, gay and straight, who wants their marriage to be legal (for tax purposes, custody, etc.) go to the courthouse and get married. Before or after, they may have whatever religious ceremony they choose.
That's true separation of church and state, and it makes sense. After all, while pastors may legally marry couples, they can't legally divorce them. Let's take religion totally out of the state's affairs.
Salt Lake City