the oldest reference to the relationship may come from that text but not the word. The word is latin in origin and does not carry any religious meaning. Religious zealots of the this era have tried to muddy it's meaning by adding to it moral undertones but that reflects neither its origin nor intend.
Good point. But like it or not, Latin wasn't the first language created. The latin term "marriage" was derived to describe something that had happened before latin was even invented. And where did that practice come from? That's the problem. You can't start defining it at the point where latin evolved the word, because arabic, for example, wasn't derived from latin!
civil union is not marriage----it is civil union, marriage may be a subcatagory under civil union but they are not interchangable. Your church does not have the right to redefine terms based on their beliefs. If we all did that, we would speak a common language with words that had different meanings and therefore be incapacitated in our ability to communicate.
You are misunderstanding me...you are right, a civil union is NOT a marriage. But, under my suggestion, the government only recognizes things that we now commonly refer to as "marriage" as a civil union (basically the same thing, but with the focus on the legal, contractual, and financial implications). Churches only apply the word marriage.
Let me make a crappy analogy. I buy a beer from the store. My buddy believes that the beer is holy and calls it a religious artifact. Fine with me, it's still just a beer to me but he can call it what he wants and treat it like whatever he wants, as long as he isn't infringing on my beer or other people's beers without their consent.
And yes, churches DO redefine marriage...if you notice, Catholic churches are not so keen on divorce, and if you have a divorce they will refuse to recognize your second marriage (unless you get it annulled). This is because of their definition of marriage as a once in a lifetime thing. The law recongizes your second marriage, however, and you can call your marriage a marriage without anyone but the Catholic church saying otherwise.
The whole point is that m a r r i a g e actually MEANS something that is not up for interperitation. This is a historic fact. The creation of civil union to accomodate gay couples who want to live in concentual contractual agreements is a fantasitc idea and I am all for it but it will not be a "marriage".
That's the problem. The definition of marriage (which you have not given me a clear, defined, cut source of both it's origin, precursors, and practice...don't worry, you won't find that! That's the problem!) has been at the wrong end of a game of grab-ass with religion for a long time. Both you and I know this is true. If it weren't so, this wouldn't be an issue.
Just because someone is different doesn't mean you need to alienate them. If I saw a gay couple that wanted to be married, that is fine with me -- I would invite them to my church and share my faith with them. It is their decision to make, and I am not the judge. I can disagree with their decision (I don't), but I can't personally see anything wrong with two people, who are truly in love (and who may not be able to help their emotions, although the choice vs nature debate gets ugly) getting married. That's another argument, however.
Debate is fun though, hope you did well in your mock debate.
I think your main weakness is that you can't define marriage entirely, and especially not with a simple latin root. Usually, at the start of Lincoln Douglas debate, you begin by offering a few definitions, with sources. Not so hard when you are talking about things like "nuclear deterrence", "national security", etc, but it's not so easy when it involves things like "marriage", "human life", etc.