I must admit. When Ron came to me and said he and Jackie were going to get married, I hadn’t thought much about the institution, itself. I suppose I had the 1950ish view that a man and a woman fell in love, went to the clerk, applied for a marriage license, called a preacher, and had a ceremony. But this was the turn of the century, and things had changed while I wasn’t looking.
I began to think and question, why did the government have anything to do with getting married? I could see why people would get married in a religious sense. If you belong to a religion, of course, you are going to follow its mandates because that’s what you believe in. I wasn’t particularly libertarian, though perhaps so on some issues, but why did a state government have a hand in the marriage game, to what end except to tax and control?
I went to my wife, Jane, a sociology professor, and asked for insight. She sent me to books and writings by Stephanie Coontz, and I did learn a lot there, most of which I had never known, but I still could not find a justification for the government to be controlling marriage in modern society. As far as I could see, every argument posed in favor of government controlling marriage could be accomplished in jurisprudence without the requirement of a marriage certificate.
As the various states waged war over same-sex marriage and the politicians took advantage of it, I found irony in my position of representing a no-sex marriage institution, which would raise its ugly head when Jackie, the Wall Street Journal heiress, died and the estate battles began. Then, the argument would be that they never were married because they never had sex, and the state they lived in and she died in was what is called a “consummation state.” ——- It almost appeared from the illogic of state laws you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
I write of Jackie and Ron’s relationship in my book: The Ronnie Lee and Jackie Bancroft Spencer Morgan Story, a tale of people, greed, envy, manipulation — even crime.