In short, marriage is still important in western civilization to ration females in equal share for everyone and hence ensuring votes from singles in coming election. Other importance of marriage has gone.
Now for the explanation:
Anything created is there to max out the interest of the creators. The same way, marriage laws are there to max out the interest of those who make marital laws. That is, whoever are in power of the society.
Furthermore, is marriage nothing more than a tyrannical institution designed to control populations?
Yes. Not much more now.
Why do couples need approval from the state to begin and end a marital
In short, because government prohibit all alternatives that directly compete with marriage.
Because the state often says so and provide hefty penalty for those who don’t get married or use other alternatives.
Let’s examine non western culture first for comparison.
In Indonesia, marital status, rather than wealth, decide whether you can reproduce or not, officially. That’s effectively genocide against those who don’t feel like getting married.
To get married in Indonesia you need to register your marriage in a religious ceremony and then Indonesians’ government only approve certain religions and certain interpretation of religions. The rest are condemned as heresy and punished heavily.
So yes you can choose not to get married in Indonesia, but that means you go extinct.
In muslim countries, you can get stoned for having sex outside marriage. So not marrying there means you just jerk off your self for the whole of your life.
In western civilization, prostitution is illegal. Other arrangements like polygamy is also illegal. Of course, as people are more free and this penalty get less and less, marriage simply decline.
Alternatives are better. As alternatives are legal, there goes marriage.
Why do people consent to unelected and elected officials meddling in their love lives?
Depends on what you mean by consent. In a sense, too many things are illegal outside marriage that it effectively make mariage forced rather than a concented decission.
In afganistan, women can’t even work. So, their alternative, besides starving is marriage.
Many countries still have laws providing blanket bans on all sex outside marriage. So the alternative is either abstinence, which sucks, or marriage.
What about modern western civilization? Women can work right? Well yea. And that’s the very reason why marriage is in great decline. Once alternatives are legal, there is little reason to consent to get married.
Western civilization is still not fully laizes faihre when it comes to marriage. Prostitution is illegal. This has huge chilling effect. Imagine if I pay for my girl friends’ rent? Does that count as prostitution? Imagine if I have 10 girlfriends? Imagine if her ex boyfriend make a big deal out of it.
Rather than facing such chilling effect, people may opt for marriage. That explains why marriage is still around even though declining.
Also kids are indoctrinated with romance while more realistic movies like porn are prohibited and declared dangerous for minor.
Imagine if it’s the other way around. If it’s fully up to the market, marriage, as defined by government will be gone. There is little reason to consent to government deciding our mating terms. Why should we?
Marriage has some benign benefits. At least it used to.
Determination of fatherhood
In ancient time there is no blood test. There is only one way to know who the father of the child is. A man has to make a deal to a woman that she won’t bang other guys. We sort of call that kind of deal as marriage.
Society that accommodate that kind of deals tend to have more diligent males. Males are motivated to work harder because now they can inherit their wealth to their sons rather than distance cousins.
Such societies tend to be richer and win more wars. Finally, patriarchal marriage traits then become common.
Marriage it self evolve into totally different deals as time goes by of course.
Obviously, with the invention of genetic testing, this purpose of marriage is in decline. Marriage no longer protect men from having to support other’s kid. Marriage tend to increase the risk of having such fate.
Helping society make decision on sex by forcing the issue to be public
It’s the same reason we wrote contract. We can just shake hand and talk. However, writing a contract make it easy for society to decide who are the fraudsters. Before most people are literate, people actually make their contracts publicly.
Other reasonably benign purpose of marriage is to decide whether the sex is consensual or not. Imagine if Kobe claimed that sex is consensual and the girl disagree? Outside marriage, it’s hard to decide which one is right.
Notice if the judge can’t make decision, the mob can take justice into their own hand and well, there would be tribal wars.
However, with marriage institution, ancient people can check whether Kobe is the registered husband or not. Making consent of having sex public, which is another aspect of marriage, will make societies’ decission easy.
So another purpose of marriage in ancient time is to make consent publicly available so societies can differentiate between rape and consensual sex, where “everybody agree”, more easily.
Of course, “every body” agree is a vague term. Most marriage in ancient time is forced marriage. Even if the girl consent, you can bet her ex boy friend doesn’t. That leads to another aspect of marriage.
Marriage also tend to have another not so benign feature. Marriage tend to uphold the interest of your competitors. Marriage incorporate the interest of legislators, that incorporate the interest of voters, and those voters are your competitors. If your wife is pretty, for example, every other guy want her too but can’t because you marry her. Quite obviously they do not want you to bang too many girls.
Think about it. Imagine if there is no monogamy rule. Then Brad Pitt will get all the chicks. Obviously there are many people that are unhappy, and hence would insist that it doesn’t work that way too easily.
Marriage, or to be more exact, prohibition of various more efficient alternatives, are there to enslave and control population.
Who ever control terms of marriage, effectively become the pimp of all women. That give them enough bargaining power to get votes, and support from all the voters, or warlords, or terrorists.
Think about it. Western civilization is democracy. Natural resources get divided proportional to political power. One man one vote soon leads to one man one wife.
In western civilization, main purpose of marriage is to ration females in equal share for everyone. That’s why we have monogamy norms. Political parties that allow polygamy will be so unpopular they won’t win votes.
Alternative to life long monogamous marriage tend to be illegal in western civilization until recently. In fact, we can predict that something will be more politically incorrect based on how an option make it easy for rich males to consensually grab women. Hence, prostitution, polygamy, and contract marriage are illegal.
Sex outside marriage used to be so frowned upon. Even free sex outside marriage is not as efficient as concubinage or prostitution.
Information that encourage people to have sex outside marriage, like porn is prohibited while nonsense like romance, is taught to kids.
Let’s compare this with the only non westernized people.
The muslim worlds are led by monarch. These monarchs of course have very little interest to ration women in equal share for everyone. So monogamy is not an issue there. Sex outside marriage is. Sex outside marriage means having sex without permission from the monarch.
Now if you want to wonder how the hell Osama can motivate people to blow themselves up to your towers. Think about it. Osama control something far more precious than money for those males. Osama control their women.
No sex outside marriage means no sex until Osama or one of his underling says OK. Would you kill for Osama if you’re one of those hapless male that can only get laid if Osama permit?