On the Issue of Marriage
2013-03-26 at 21:56:35

One, the state co-opted a religious institution (marriage), and started giving benefits for it. (Doesn't matter why, though I suspect to encourage population growth or an increasing population of tax payers.) This crosses the separation of church and state principle. Government should not turn a religious institution into a civil one. (You know, like a day of worship...) We don't live in a theocracy, so it doesn't matter how your religion defines marriage. It is a religious institution and the government should have no say in the matter.

Two, if you want the government involved in marriage, and you're going to give rewards (tax benefits, asset transfer, etc.) to two people who enter a coupling contract, you can't arbitrarily disallow others to enter that same contract and receive those same rewards. You're giving one class of citizen a benefit that is out of reach of another. It's like giving a benefit to right-handed people only, or whites only. It is immoral and unethical and is anathema* to liberty. (*Oh, the irony!)

Three, you have to understand that if you give tax benefits to civil unions/marriages of two people contracting to commingle assets (and that's really all it is in the perception of the state), you have to also extend those benefits to three people contracting to commingle assets. As well as 4, 5, or 6 people... So long as all are consenting adults, it is unethical to deny benefits to this category of contracted union (bigamy, polygamy) while allowing those same benefits to another classification of contracted union (monogamy).

The solution to all this is: the government should get OUT of the "marriage" business.

2013-04-28 19:48:38

So under your plan does that mean only religious members of a church (that's filled out the correct paperwork) could marry (and wouldn't that be a violation of the first amendment) or would the government have to assay alimony and inheritance, as well as paternal/maternal responsibilities, etc. for any group of adults that make a claim that they were married?

The contract seems a fundamental human contract (and a popular one!) so government will always have a role -- even a utopian-libertarian must see that, right?

2013-05-24 10:22:02

I don't completely disagree -- actually it's fairer to say that I mostly agree. I think you view the government's reason for a marriage incentive a bit too narrowly, though.

Government, being tasked with ensuring a well-functioning society, sees benefits to marriage beyond just procreation. Family ties, community relations, estate management, having a partner increases work attendance/performance, etc.

But while I'm not as anti-tax as I think you are, I agree that using taxes to influence citizen behavior is fraught with moral dangers and is mostly a bad idea (I am a smoker, after all).

Anyway, the hot question today is over gay marriage, but I think the trend is clear: gay marriage will eventually be made legal in the U. S.

What I wonder about, though, is polygamous marriage. When it was outlawed in the US, the arguments against it were poorly worded and probably best described as racist, reflecting a Victorian reasoning that I think would not be as persuasive today.

And the challenges will come.

Ideologically, plural marriage doesn't bother me. It doesn't appeal to me personally, but then, no form of marriage has held much appeal to me so far... But when I look at real-world examples of how it's practiced around the world, I have to agree with the majority of women's groups and say it's extremely detrimental to women's rights.

So when it comes to governing: is polygamy dangerously disruptive to society? I feel confident that gay marriage is not. I feel confident that child-marriage is. But polygamy?


If I went before the SCOTUS today and had to present an argument, I'd have to say that polygamy is not _necessarily_ a bad thing, but that apparently, humans can't manage it in a healthy way.

2013-06-01 20:29:42

So anyway -- what would it look like if the government did get out of the marriage business? Do you just mean via taxation policy? or do you propose they refuse to recognize any marriages and everyone's on their own to enforce inheritance, alimony, et al.?

2013-06-08 12:40:49

Yeah, well put. And you're right about inheritance -- I just conflated those things without thinking about it. I suppose because I do, after all, come from a traditional household. My parents are Baptist, by the way, but were married in a civil ceremony by a JotP in Missouri, so -- not too Baptist, I suppose.

I guess where I'm confused is when you say "the state co-opted a religious institution (marriage)." Co-opted how? You realize, I hope, that you are perfectly free to go into the Church of That Bison on My Head (I'm High Mucky-muck of that particular church -- we don't require you to actually believe anything) and marry as many toasters as you want in as elaborate a religious ceremony as you wish (except I have to work in the morning) and the state can't do a thing about it. It's true that the government doesn't extend tax-credits to you or your toasters and won't enforce visitation rights when your toasters are in for repair (not in Texas, anyway -- maybe Oregon), but it's not illegal. I'm not convinced it's co-opted marriage merely by recognizing some of them.

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