1. The Range of Ideas
Yes. Maybe. No.
Marriage is a man and woman in a committed lifelong monogamous relationship, sanctioned by God, and notarized by the state. Without these thing sin place, marriage is null and void and God does not recognize the union. Even secular marriages are ordained by God, and these individuals will be spiritually held accountable to the same standards and responsibilities that come with marriage. Only God has the authority and power to ordain marriage, which is officially noted in societies record of law through marriage laws, licenses, and regulations.
Marriage is a legally and religiously recognized and sanctified institution between two people. It is necessary that persons who wish to be married in our society do so by the laws in place, which are there to maintain the unique and special arrangement of marriage, and to solidify the commitment made when entering into marriage. Without requiring the legal process one must go through to be wed, marriage would cease to exist and society and the family would suffer. It’s too easy to just say you’re going to commit to one person for the rest of your life. It is a heavy and weighty thing however to say you will be with them hence forth, and then seal that decision with the legal bonds of marriage. This process helps protect and legitimize marriage. The religious proceedings of getting married are not necessary, but also help tp bolster and solidify the institution of marriage, setting it apart from casual or less committed relationships.
Marriage is two people in a committed and monogamous lifelong relationship. Laws and religion really serve no other purpose regarding marriage than to record and document that commitment in a formal and structured way. Religion and law document marriage for good reasons, so that these committed couples can benefit from their unique arrangement through tax laws, church privileges, etc. But these societal institutions are not necessary to be married. A couple ultimately make the personal choice to be married, not the law or the church. Neither the law nor the church operate within the marriage, rather the two individuals who have made the choice operate within the marriage and make it what it is. Marriage has always been and always will be, regardless of the institutions of religion and law.