Marriage Privatization is an alternative perspective on the same-sex marriage issue. The vast majority of supporters are libertarian-leaning in terms of their opinions. Supporters of marriage privatization are not necessarily in personal support of same-sex marriage; however, they feel the government should play no role in defining marriage in general.
Supporters of marriage privatization believe that any two (or, according to some supporters more than two) consenting adults should be able to enter into a legal relationship which affords all the legal benefits currently provided to married couples. However, this would not be referred to as "marriage". Some advocates would refer to this partnership as "civil unions" regardless of whether the couple was same-sex or opposite-sex. Others would use a neutral term that has not previously been held to refer to either type of couple (for instance "civil partnership").
It would then be left up to churches (or other religious bodies) and the beliefs of individuals to determine what is or isn't "marriage." For instance, the Catholic Church, which has always been strongly opposed to same-sex marriage, could refuse to recognize the couple's relationship as anything more than signatures on paper and would face no consequences or sanctions for doing so. Since Catholics also have very strict beliefs regarding the sanctity of marriage, couples could choose to get married in Church. However, this would have no legal impact, only a religious one. Additionally, the Church would still be able to perform the marriage rituals exclusively for heterosexual couples. They would not be forced to perform same-sex weddings, nor would any other religious institution. Non-religious or interfaith couples who desire a formal marriage ceremony could still get married by a justice of the peace in the same way they do now (except that there would likely be no licensing requirement for JOPs). However, once again, this would be ceremonial only and would have no legal impact.
Advocates of marriage privatization points out that most of the rights afforded to married couples (such as power of attorney in medical situations) can be granted to a non-spouse now by filling out paperwork. Opponents say granting equal rights to homosexual couples is just the same as same-sex marriage, regardless of the name.Dr. R. Albert Mohler Jr. has argued against marriage privatization from a conservative Christian perspective:
Nevertheless, markets do not always encourage or support moral behavior. Here is a classic example–a libertarian and free market argument for destroying marriage as a public institution. Marriage is not just another commercial partnership.