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Marriage Privatization Model
Marriage Privatization Model (MPM) The model of marriage privatization argued by philosopher Lawrence Torcello in the January 2008 issue of Public Affairs Quarterly. According to this model, the public institute of marriage as it is currently understood ought to be removed from the public domain. The MPM holds that any endorsement of marriage represents an inappropriate public endorsement of a comprehensive religious or otherwise metaphysical doctrine, which underlies any particular definition of marriage.
Taking public reason seriously leads to the idea that legalization of same-sex marriage may be just as unbalanced as its ban. This is unavoidable, since we cannot genuinely imagine any definition of marriage that does not in some sense call upon a comprehensive notion of the meaning of marriage.
In place of the public institute of marriage, Torcello argues that civil unions providing the full extent of current marital benefits under law ought to be instituted for both heterosexual and homosexual couples. "A consistent use of public reason can only endorse a civil union, whether of a hetero- or homosexual couple, with its attendant rights and benefits."  According to the MPM, such civil unions ought to replace the current legal institute of marriage. Once privatized, marriage is open for individuals to define and embrace or ignore as they see fit, within the scope of their private religious and philosophical belief systems. Torcello writes: "According to the MPM any comprehensive tradition may endorse a particular understanding of marriage. For instance, Roman Catholic tradition may wish to limit marriage to a covenant between a man and a woman. This is completely consistent with the dictates of that tradition. No religious model that rejects same-sex marriage would be required to perform same-sex marriages under this privatized model. Under this model a couple, either heterosexual or homosexual, would obtain a civil union in order to have public and legal recognition of their partnership; they would have a private marriage ceremony if they so chose in order to honor their private religious or philosophical concept of marriage. Torcello supports the concept of the MPM with Rawlsian notions of Political Liberalism and Public Reason.
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- Torcello Lawrence, "Is The State Endorsement of Any Marriage Justifable? Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and The Marriage Privatization Model," Public Affair Quarterly, Volume 22, Number 1, January 2008 pp.43-61