Here’s a modest proposal for resolving the problems associated with marriage:

Abolish it.

Think how much simpler life would be if there were no wedding gifts to buy, no anniversaries to remember, no in-laws to tolerate, no for-better-or-for-worse to endure.

And politicians would also be relieved from the burden of taking a position on the hot-button issue of allowing same-sex couples to wed. Or form civil unions. Or domestic partnerships. Or whatever. If there were no marriage, those uptight pols could relax and go back to pretending gay people don’t exist.

If you think having a firm opinion on same-sex nuptials is easy, consider the convoluted case of Republican gubernatorial candidate Paul LePage. According to the Augusta Insider Web site, LePage attended a forum in North Yarmouth earlier in March, where he was asked if he supported civil unions for gay couples. He said no.

That was a surprise, because a few weeks earlier, he’d been quoted on the Web site Pine Tree Politics saying he supported the idea.

“I don’t believe that the state should be in the marriage business,” LePage told PTP. “The state, for years and years and years, has been trying to sanitize religion out of government. So if they’re truly intent on doing that, I think what the Legislature should have done is simply say, OK, folks, we’re going to have a civil union. And anyone who wants to have a contract to say that they want all the freedoms, they have a civil union. If you want to have a marriage, we’ll leave that up to the churches. So, I go one step further than many, because I say if you’re going to get married by the state, it’s a civil union, period. Whether you’re a homosexual, lesbian, heterosexual. Everybody. That way, everybody gets the same legal standing.”

Why did LePage give a contradictory answer at the forum? Maybe he heard from folks who’d been married by a justice of the peace and who weren’t pleased about having their coupling converted from wedded bliss to unionization. More likely, he got an earful from GOP right-wingers.

Hey, numb nuts, they politely explained, under your plan, gay people can get civil unions and then have church weddings, which means they’re married. We’re against that. And we’re the people whose votes you need if you don’t want to become one of those unfortunate afterthoughts of Maine political history that only get mentioned when snarky columnists are looking for somebody to pummel.

So, LePage’s platform underwent an adjustment. On his Web site, he stated, “I also support traditional marriage, along with Maine voters who decided last fall that the definition of marriage should be preserved.”

But then he told the Augusta Insider he stood by his comments to Pine Tree Politics. As far as I can tell, his position is that he wants traditional marriage both preserved and abolished, more or less simultaneously.

I feel the same way about the New York Yankees.

You can get away with cognitive dissonance in baseball, but not so much in political campaigns. Bumblers like LePage have to stop straddling the line, and take a definite stand.

Which is where my idea comes in. Get rid of the thing. Marriage, I mean, not the Yankees.

Of course, we’d have to come up with some legal structure to replace it, something that would cover property rights and responsibility for offspring. But that shouldn’t be difficult. There’s already an established body of statutes expressly designed to deal with similar matters in the context of a slightly different type of merger: The corporation.

Corporate law spells out who owns what at least as clearly as probate or divorce courts. Corporate entities can have babies, although they’re usually referred to as wholly-owned subsidiaries. Corporations can legally do all the chores associated with married life: cleaning house, airing out the dirty laundry, buying everyday items such as groceries and politicians.

And there’s no legal restriction based on sexual orientation as to who can form a corporation with whom.

I’m sure that will make some members of the religious right uncomfortable, but for the majority of Republicans, it’s unlikely to be a problem. The GOP loves corporations, and if the party can ignore golden parachutes, offshore shell companies to avoid paying taxes, shipping jobs overseas and outright fraud, why should it be filled with righteous indignation just because a CEO and CFO of the same sex are engaging in PDA during PUC hearings?

BTHOOM. (Beats the hypocrisy out of me.)

A world in which corporate mergers replace romantic connections wouldn’t necessarily be lacking in love. There’d still be love of bonuses and love of power (actually, that’s probably lust, but even old-style marriages benefited from a little of that), not to mention love of crushing the competition.

Which is one more reason for Republicans to support replacing marriage: Democrats have a natural loathing for corporations.

See, they’re anti-family.

Have your people e-mail my people at