The State is in charge of marriages
Some Evangelical Pastors have seemingly arrogated to themselves some sort of divine right in relation to marriage. They fancy themselves the arbiters of coupling. This may be so in essence, but not in actuality.
Marriage may (or may not) be established by a God but its legitimacy and recognition remains an instrument of the State. Marriage Officers, and that include Evangelical Pastors, may be suggested by their churches to perform marriage services but the permission to do so is granted to them by the government.
In other words, the State is in charge of marriages, the rituals of which are outsourced to pastors. Their job is merely to “solemnize” the event for those who desire their presence. They basically oversee the signing ceremony. These days though, they have commandeered some imagined authority and have escalated their own power to determine who can and who cannot be married.
To be clear, the authority to marry people rests with man, not with any God. Clerics performing the legal function without permission from the government could end up in jail. Without the government’s imprimatur, his act is a sham.
Religious extremists would do well to remember that the State can revoke any marriage officer’s license, if it finds reason to do so. Therefore, that power, the right to bind two people together in wedlock, belongs to the State and not to those claiming to represent any other authority.
Justin de Freitas