Legalize Gay Marriage

It's time to repeal the state bans on marriage equality.

Last week’s twin Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage have left final disposition of the question to the states. So now would be a good time for Virginia and the 30 others with constitutional amendments banning same-sex unions to start repealing them.

Even the most strident social conservatives generally do not dispute the principle animating the drive for same-sex marriage: the “fundamental right of all people,” as the Cato Institute put it during litigation over DOMA and California’s Proposition 8, “to be treated equally by their government.” Governments must not discriminate “based solely on differences that are irrelevant to legitimate governmental objectives.”

But there is no compelling governmental reason to deny gay couples equal marriage rights or the benefits that attend them. Government’s elemental duty consists of protecting individual rights from aggression. Same-sex marriages imperil nobody’s rights. They harm no one. Hence opponents have conjured up other rationales.

We are told, for instance, that marriage equality somehow threatens “the institution of marriage.” This is akin to arguing that letting gay couples open bank accounts threatens the institution of banking. It not only does not follow, it is counter-intuitive.

Voluminous evidence suggests other social forces have eroded traditional marriage while gay marriage has left it unscathed. Marriage’s worst declines occurred in the 1960s and 1970s – long before gay marriage arrived on the scene. And where gay marriage has been legalized, other marriages have not suffered. Massachusetts approved gay marriage a decade ago. Marriage rates there shot up shortly afterward as gay couples wed, and have remained steady since.

What’s more, in states that have legalized gay marriage divorce rates have been lower, on average, than before legalization. They also have been lower than the national average. Nationwide, marriage rates are higher among those who tend to support gay marriage – well-to-do college graduates – than among cohorts that support gay marriage less.

This shouldn’t come as a big surprise. Time and again, social conservatives confronted with imminent progress have predicted dire consequences that never came to pass.

Women’s suffrage was condemned as an “exceedingly dangerous” experiment that would destroy chivalry, defy  God’s will, violate biological law, and require “a radical change in human nature of which the world has never given the faintest sign.” Women gained the vote – and yet somehow, Western civilization abides.

Opponents of integrating the armed forces similarly denounced the notion as an “experiment” that would “cripple our national defense” and “result in ultimate defeat.” It didn’t. Foes of integrating the schools warned that doing so would ruin “the amicable relations between the white and Negro races,” bring “unending violence and strife,” and destroy public education. It didn’t. Critics of repealing don’t-ask-don’t-tell warned that letting homosexuals serve openly in the military would threaten “unit cohesion,” “break the all-volunteer force,” etc. It didn’t.

Perhaps because of this record, the dwindling cadre that opposes gay marriage is falling back on less empirical arguments: Marriage is for procreation; polygamy’s a-comin’; the Bible condemns homosexuality. (True. It also decrees, in Deuteronomy 22:13-21, that a bride who is not a virgin “shall be brought to the door of her father’s house and there the men of her town shall stone her to death.” Maybe we should look elsewhere for legislative guidance.)

As the case against gay marriage has grown weaker, public support for it has grown stronger. Seven years ago, 57 percent of voters approved Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage. Today, 56 percent of Virginians think gay marriage should be legal.

That is bad news for Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate for governor, who remains staunchly opposed to gay marriage in particular and to homosexuality in general, which he considers “intrinsically wrong.” It might be better news for Cuccinelli’s Democratic opponent, Terry McAuliffe – if McAuliffe had any discernible principles, or courage to match them. McAuliffe gave tepid, pro-forma applause to last week’s Supreme Court decisions but refuses to say whether Virginia should repeal its gay-marriage ban.

That leaves only Robert Sarvis, the Libertarian candidate, who notes Virginia’s sordid history in matters marital: Not until 1967, in the case of Richard and Mildred Loving, was Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage overturned. “If it weren’t for the courage of the Lovings,” Sarvis says, “I might not have been able to marry the woman I love. But today, Virginia still isn’t for all lovers. That’s why I want to honor the Loving legacy and lead the fight now, in this election, to recognize same-sex marriage in Virginia.”

 

The clear trajectory of the issue indicates that same-sex marriage eventually will come to pass, in Virginia and the rest of the country, just as women’s suffrage, school desegregation, interracial marriage, and all the rest did. It would be nice if, for once, the Old Dominion didn’t have to be dragged into the future kicking and screaming.

This column originally appeared in the Richmond Times-Dispatch.

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  • DJF||

    Because everyone needs a government issued license? Just like dogs

  • some guy||

    You have to get a dog license to keep the city from stealing your dog. You have to get a marriage license if you want share a health care plan, file income taxes jointly or enjoy any number of other benefits accorded only to married people. It's not quite the same thing.

  • DJF||

    So marriage laws are about forcing others to do what they would not normally do? And this is called freedom.

  • Hyperion||

    And this is called freedom

    No, it's called state coercion.

    In order to control people, the government needs to keep them divided into as many groups as possible.

  • Mr. Soul||

    agree.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    Yes, that is the central point that the Overton Window crowd keeps ignoring.

    I want to know where, anywhere, in the USA is it illegal for gay people to be married any more? The only people left being jailed for their marriage arrangements are heterosexual fundamentalist Mormons. Even Reason had a series of stories on that just a couple of years ago.

    Gay people were getting married in America long before the lesbian wedding episode of Seinfeld.

    Even fining and jailing of monogamous heterosexuals has stopped as of late.

    Note to some guy, you do not need a marriage license to share in a health care plan. Every single health care package I have been presented with in the past 10 years or more allowed me to add another person, any person, if I wanted to.

  • Tony||

    What aspect of liberty is furthered by continuing to outlaw gay marriage?

  • DJF||

    What aspect of liberty is furthered by the State issuing marriage licenses?

  • Tony||

    That's not really the issue. Suppose marriage licenses remain a fact of life, if you can stretch your imagination far enough to encompass inevitable reality.

  • DJF||

    How about stretching your imagination far enough to getting rid of State marriage licenses and using the law to impose on others recognition of your private relations with others.

  • Tony||

    You are welcome to go state to state gathering public support for what I'm sure is a very deeply held belief in abolishing marriage licenses. But until a majority of straight people support such a thing, I'd say the odds are somewhere between low and whatever the odds are of a raccoon giving birth to a unicorn. This rhetoric is quite transparently a way to oppose marriage equality without having to say why.

  • ||

    Tony being a proponent of rule by mob (or by fiat when the mob isn't in agreement with his ideology), you will have to light your torches and sharpen your pitchforks before you can be taken seriously. Having a discussion about the proper role of government is useless. The proper role of government is whatever the mob says.

  • ||

    Tony only proposes rule by mob on some days. Where gay marriage is concerned, never.

    It's ironic that Tony usually says that democracy and regulation is inherently self-legitimizing and awesome. Yet, the recent triumph of gay marriage is, essentially, the Supreme Court of the US telling the highest legislative, regulative body to go fuck off, and the governor of the (arguably) most progressive state in the US telling the voters to fuck off. Getting government to do what everyone knows is the right, good thing required democracy and regulators to go fuck off.

    There's a lesson in that. I wonder if Tony can learn it.

  • Tony||

    Since I've repeatedly made clear that I do not support mob rule, but support democracy coupled with protections of minority civil rights (such as the right to be treated equally under the law), your confusion is, by now, completely your problem.

    This is a constitutional civil rights issue. Or what libertarians think of their every single policy preference from.

  • ||

    That might make sense, except that you give the government and democracy inherent legitimacy in determining what minority civil rights are, and what is equal, and what is not. This implies that democracy and mob rule dictate everything, and only protect whatever minority civil rights they choose to define. In such a system of government and system of morality, claiming a violation of minority civil rights loses any significant meaning. It can only hold the government and democracy accountable to itself, and never to any system of actual, individual rights.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Let's say tomorrow your state changed its laws to say that libertarians cannot get a dog license. Democrats and Republicans can.

    Would you say "well, this is a victory, because one less class of people will fall under this terrible government licensing scheme!"?

    Or would the better view to be "I wish there was no dog license law for anyone, but if they are going to have it they should apply it fairly."

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Absolutely, And why should the government discriminate in regards to other benefits, aka welfare. Restricting SS benefits to the retired is clearly wage discrimination and restricting panoply of benefits to the poor is wealth discrimination.

    Clearly, the libertarian solution to this quandary is welfare for all regardless of age or wealth status.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    So you're fine with the dog license example?

    BTW-allowing a dog license is kind of the exact opposite of the welfare you're talking about.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    This comes off as a bit obtuse.

    Of course gay people can have a non-recognized marriage. You can have a non-recognized marriage to your dog or couch if you'd like. The debate here is, since the government recognizes straight people's marriages should it recognize gay people's too?

  • DJF||

    So using the States power to force others to recognize a marriage that they do not want to recognize is better the more it is expanded? That is what laws are for, to force everyone to obey. They are not freedom, they are force.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I think you might be confusing recognition of gay marriage with anti-discrimination laws that are in some states that apply to gays (and their marriages). The two don't have to go together.

  • some guy||

    Note to some guy, you do not need a marriage license to share in a health care plan.

    True, it depends on who you work for. If you worked for the Federal government you would only be able to add a spouse or children.

  • Rich||

    We are told, for instance, that marriage equality somehow threatens “the institution of marriage.” This is akin to arguing that letting gay couples open bank accounts threatens the institution of banking.

    Or to arguing that letting gay people into psychotherapy threatens mental institutions.

    More seriously, can't many of the arguments being used to advance "gay equality" be applied to ending the drug war? "Discrimination" against pot-users, stigmatization or reduced "dignity" for those in an alternative lifestyle, no threatening of "the institution of alcohol", etc.?

  • ||

    But addiction is a disease! (So, yes.)

  • General Butt Naked||

    How about so we can stop fucking hearing about it?

    Jesus Titty-Fucking Christ, I'm getting sick of this shit.

    This issue is a perfect example of the type of thing that has no effect on the everyday person's life but is beaten to death in our one-party supporting media to show a contrast of the slavers in office.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Just wait until they perform their first state-sanctioned same-sex wedding in the Ground Zero Mosque.

  • Hawk Spitui||

    Well, it's the only hobbyhorse they have left to flog. The immigration thingy went tits up after bombs started going off and heads started getting chopped.

    Not to mention the media is more or less a one party state in it's own right. Whether they sail under a conservative, liberal or libertarian flag, at the end of the day they all turn out to be loyal supplicants of the Cathedral. They all serve the same shit sandwich, with a small variation on your choice of sides.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I wouldn't say it has "no effect on the everyday person's life." Edith Windsor gets to have $300,000 that would have gone to the government, for instance.

    If you want to say it has no effect on the everyday heterosexual's life I guess that's somewhat better (though many heterosexuals have gay friends and such who are impacted and so indirectly they are effected).

  • Another David||

    If Pennsylvania recognized gay marriage I wouldn't have to sign about a hundred different forms for all the individual contracts two my friends are making me the witness for when they tie the knot. My hand cramp is on you, Team Red.

  • RightNut||

    polygamy’s a-comin’

    This strikes me as particularly ignorant. If the state is going to allow the traditional Christian definition of marriage to be broadened, than I don't see why it can't include polygamy, especially since polygamous marriage predates gay marriage and almost certainly "traditional" marriage. In that regard, social conservatives fears are most certainly justified and it does no one any good by mocking them for it.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Can we mock them for being afraid of polygamy?

  • thom||

    We should.

  • DK||

    And, what about cenogamy or sologamy?

  • LynchPin1477||

    That last one is actually pretty interesting. From the point of view of marriage as a contract, does a one-party contract have any real meaning?

  • From the Tundra||

    This paragraph cracked me up:

    In the late 1970s, sologamy gained some popularity in America (see hippies). The "Hippie" group believed in free love and peace among all humankind, so to demonstrate their tranquility with themselves, they would privately engage in sologamy ceremonies.

    Late 70's? Weren't the Hippies disco freaks by then?

  • Brett L||

    Is a "sologamy ceremony" the same as Onanism? Or is that just how you consumate the contract?

  • Zeb||

    I thought Onanism was when you pull out.

  • ||

    Kind of. The crime of Onan was not following through on his responsibilities to knock up his dead brother's wife and provide a viable heir for him*, it was more fun for the church to make it about the non-productive spilling of seed and go after all the wankers under the Church's dominion.

    *This is your 4000 years of traditional marriage mores at work!

  • LynchPin1477||

    So they would demonstrate their commitment to free love and peace by engaging in private ceremonies that involved only themselves? Actually, that makes a lot of sense coming from the people who think that music festivals can change the world.

  • From the Tundra||

    Yep. Jam band = Onanism

  • DK||

    In terms of government benefits, a sologamist could claim the income tax benefit.

  • LynchPin1477||

    Single people take notice. Here is your ticket to the marriage benefits gravy train!

  • ||

    Would make for a fun case for some enterprising public interest law firm.

  • Austrian Anarchy||

    And if you got rid of these damn licenses, everybody could decide for themselves what sort of marriage they want.

  • Rasilio||

    "This strikes me as particularly ignorant. If the state is going to allow the traditional Christian definition of marriage to be broadened, than I don't see why it can't include polygamy"

    Then clearly you have never thought the issue through.

    There are no meaningful differences between gay and straight marriage from a legal standpoint as each has marriages made up of exactly 2 people, out laws have been heavily written around that exact assumption. To legalize gay marriage is as simple as saying "Hey gays can marry now" no other changes to the law necessary. Legalizing a 3 (or more) party marriage however opens up a huge can of worms because now you need to go and revisit hundreds of other laws at all levels of government that have a built in assumption of just 2 people.

    While I think the decriminalization of plural marriages is inevitable (and probably very soon through the Supreme Court with a Lawrence type ruling) actual legal recognition of them will probably never occur.

  • some guy||

    Legalizing a 3 (or more) party marriage however opens up a huge can of worms because now you need to go and revisit hundreds of other laws at all levels of government that have a built in assumption of just 2 people.

    How so? It's just as easy to divide by 3 as it is to divide by 2. Custody issues would be the same, just with more options for the judge.

  • Rasilio||

    2 people are married, one of the falls into a coma, by default who gets to make the decisions on a treatment plan or the decision over whether or not to pull the plug?

    Now add a 3rd person and try to answer the question.

    2 people are married, one of them dies, who recieves SS Survivors Benefits.

    Now add a 3rd person and try to answer the question.


    These are just 2 examples, there are hundreds of other cases where it is either impossible to just divide by 3 or actually granting the benefit/right to a 3rd person would violate the equal protection clause by granting those in plural marriages additional benefits beyond those in dyadic marriages

  • califernian||

    I've never really subscribed to the 'it would be a headache' defense of discrimination.

  • Rasilio||

    It is not just that it would be a headache it is that whatever changes to the laws made would inherently be just as discriminatory as the laws restricting marriage benefits to 2 person relationships.

    It is true that the only "fair" path would be to eliminate all legal marriage benefits and treat all people as individuals regardless of what their romantic entanglements were but since that is not realistically feasible at the present time there is no point in trying to shake things up further with unpredictable results in an attempt to expand the legal benefits of marriage to multi party groups when doing so would be inherently discriminatory to someone (exactly who depends on how the laws end up getting written).

  • RightNut||

    To legalize gay marriage is as simple as saying "Hey gays can marry now" no other changes to the law necessary. Legalizing a 3 (or more) party marriage however opens up a huge can of worms because now you need to go and revisit hundreds of other laws at all levels of government that have a built in assumption of just 2 people.

    No, that's not really true that legalizing gay marriage is as easy as signing a bill into law. It involves hundreds of changes to bureaucratic rules and regulations. If they can do it for gay marriage I think they could manage for polygamy.

    You are also assuming that in a polygamous marriage that the partners would be completely equal as far as the marriage goes, however historically that has not been the case. Generally polygamy involves 1 man married to two women, who other than being married to the same person have no legal standing vis a vis each other.

    Per your example,

    2 people are married, one of the falls into a coma, by default who gets to make the decisions on a treatment plan or the decision over whether or not to pull the plug?

    Now add a 3rd person and try to answer the question.

    Easy, whoever married the comatose person first, or whoever the comatose designates with power of attorney.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "To legalize gay marriage is as simple as saying "Hey gays can marry now" no other changes to the law necessary. Legalizing a 3 (or more) party marriage however opens up a huge can of worms because now you need to go and revisit hundreds of other laws at all levels of government that have a built in assumption of just 2 people."

    Shit, it's almost like you could solve the whole problem by simply de-institutionalizing marriage and stop passing out freebies to everyone who makes the decision to marry or shit out kids.

  • ||

    ...legitimate governmental objectives.

    This is worth examining in more depth since it underpins the rest of the argument. Is handing out benefits and prizes to people based on the type of relationship they choose to have a legitimate objective of government? That's the more fundamental question than how and to whom the benefits and prizes should be disbursed.

    I'd also love it if we could stop using the term "equality" in reference to an institution that, by definition, bestows privileges on some but not others. Allowing gays in on the act doesn't make it any more equal than giving a slave a slave of his own.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If the problem is bestowing privileges on some but not others wouldn't expanding that first group by definition be a move towards greater equality?

  • ||

    Only if you expand the first group by infinity. Which hasn't been suggested.

  • Zeb||

    "by infinity"

    You mean "to everyone", right? I'm pretty sure there aren't infinitely many people.

  • ||

    Of course. I meant "infinity" in the sense that the group is expanded to include everyone, present and future, at least for the duration of the American government.

  • Zeb||

    Here's how I look at it. I'd rather the government not give anyone privileges because of the relationship they are in. But that is not going to happen. The biggest government bestowed benefit to being married is probably getting health insurance tax free from your employer for your spouse. Now, I'd rather overall tax rates be lowered and that tax exemption be removed. I think I could do better getting the amount that my employer pays for insurance in regular pay than getting the insurance plan that I barely use. But that's another thing that is just not going to happen. Rather than wait on principle for something that is very unlikely, I'd like to see people similarly situated be treated similarly under the law.

  • ||

    I understand the incrementalist argument, which I would note libertarians tend to look upon with suspicion if not contempt on just about every other issue, I just think it's pretty lame and morally bankrupt in the same sense as the slavery example I cited. I also think it's a poor argument on utilitarian grounds, because it further entrenches the government's authority on the issue, making it even less likely that real equality/reform of marriage will ever happen.

  • some guy||

    Rather than wait on principle for something that is very unlikely, I'd like to see people similarly situated be treated similarly under the law.

    But I think that tends to further entrench the law. The more people in the special class, the harder it is to eliminate that class.

  • ||

    A much more succinct way of saying what I was trying to convey in my followup.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Under this view libertarians should have opposed recognition of interracial marriages, after all they expanded the number of people in the 'special class.'

  • DJF||

    No, libertarians and others should have supported getting the State out of marriages.

  • Tony||

    The practical effect of which would be the state continuing to impose discriminatory laws on people as the quixotic (to understate) mission to end marriage altogether inevitably goes nowhere.

    Do you apply a similar "all or nothing" approach to every issue? You're willing to tolerate any number of injustices until your utopia is fully realized? Libertarians will never get anything they want unless they realize that, here in reality, change is incremental and imperfect.

  • some guy||

    Libertarians will never get anything they want unless they realize that, here in reality, change is incremental and imperfect.

    But it happens more quickly when people are pissed off. So, the more people the government pisses off, the better.

  • ||

    Flash points like this are actually really good times to discuss things that would otherwise be considered quixotic. "Never let a crisis go to waste" or something like that, if I remember correctly. In any case, your insistence that something can never be done and your prescription to proceed under that premise is about as meaningful as Harold Camping's latest doomsday prediction. A couple of years ago I could have told you to shut the fuck up about all this marriage nonsense using the same argument.

    Do you apply a similar "all or nothing" approach to every issue?

    Damn near, yeah. At least the deontologicals. Utilitarians care less about method, but ends matter. If the desired end is to get rid of state licensing of marriage, or at least federal recognition of it, then expanding marriage licensing to gays and expanding federal recognition of marriage licenses to gay marriage licenses isn't a step along the way to get there. Generally speaking, the following quotation applies. I'm sure you know where it comes from:

    In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.

  • ||

    Apparently me and some guy are really hiveminding today

  • Tony||

    Of all the evils of the world I'm pretty sure marriage licenses rank somewhere rather far below legal discrimination against gay people.

  • Tony||

    Which is to say, ending legal discrimination with respect to marriage is not an incremental step in the wrong direction (if you care about ending state-sanctioned marriage). It's a sideways step toward justice. The crusade to end marriage is not affected one way or another just because you let a few more people get married. There are heterosexuals getting married every single day in every single city in the country. Why not go after them? They're the ones really increasing the ranks of the married.

  • ||

    Of all the evils of the world I'm pretty sure marriage licenses rank somewhere rather far below legal discrimination against gay people.

    It depends quite a bit on one's moral premise. Some might say that sucking more people into the privileged class at the expense of the non-privileged is worse than leaving the privileged class the same size and working on getting rid of it. You don't share that moral premise, and you have demonstrated aptly throughout your years here at Reason that you are pathologically incapable of even comprehending it.

  • Tony||

    The class is growing far more at the hands of straight people than gay people. Shouldn't you be focused on the far more numerous perpetrators of this evil?

  • ||

    I made a typo, I meant to say:

    I could have told you to shut the fuck up about all this gay marriage nonsense using the same argument.

    Additionally, I'd like to state for the record that I think the court made the correct decision on DOMA on constitutional grounds. My broad point was that expanding the licensing and recognition of gay marriage isn't advancing the goal if the goal is to end the marriage licensing racket, or at least get the feds out of it. You obviously reject that goal. Yours is simply "I want mine because the straights have theirs". In your case, incrementally chipping away at getting broader recognition for gay marriages makes a lot of sense. Just don't conflate that with actual equality or with the different set of goals that would achieve actual equality.

  • Tony||

    You're right. I don't actually give a shit about marriage, but I will take pro-marriage people at their word that it is a useful social institution worthy of state attention. It doesn't actually affect me, except perhaps the emotional distress inflicted by bride's maids' gowns.

    There may be many types of government-issued licenses whose existence I disagree with, but in every single case it would be wrong and unconstitutional to deny them to gay people just because they are gay. I think you should engage in a crusade against the "marriage license racket." I might even endorse it. But you, not being a total idiot, know full well that the crusade is not going to go anywhere, because it's stupid. So it can only be the case that it's serving as an excuse to oppose righting the injustice at hand.

  • ||

    I will take pro-marriage people at their word that it is a useful social institution worthy of state attention.

    That's your prerogative, but I certainly don't. In fact, I got into rows with my pastors as a youth when I was a twice-weekly attending churchgoer about this very issue.

    There may be many types of government-issued licenses whose existence I disagree with, but in every single case it would be wrong and unconstitutional to deny them to gay people just because they are gay.

    The nature of a license is that you get one on the terms set by the state. That's why marriage shouldn't be under the state's purview. There's a variety of licenses I'm not allowed to get for equally arbitrary reasons as my sexual inclination. I just moved from a state where, for instance, I couldn't get a license to operate a casino unless I happened to belong to a particular racial group.

    If we were talking about ending all of the arbitrary conditions on marriage I'd be with you, but ending only one of the arbitrary conditions and leaving the rest of the structure still standing is pretty well meaningless in terms of real equality. Yeah, I want my cake and to eat it too. I'm not gay, not married, and not looking to get into either of those groups any time soon, so I care more about the broader implications of the thing than securing privileges for X group or Y group.

  • Tony||

    You guys always do this. Avoid the actual issue in favor of talking about something that's actually a completely different thing. Usually it's some hobbyhorse, but I do not see ending state recognition of marriage as high on the list of libertarian priorities or as prominent in libertarian literature. In fact it only seems to come up in the context of gay marriage. It is the easiest thing in the world to hold two separate and compatible opinions: that in your ideal world, there would be no such thing as legal marriage, but in the real world, government ought not to discriminate based on bad and likely unconstitutional motivations.

  • ||

    Tony:

    Do you apply a similar "all or nothing" approach to every issue? You're willing to tolerate any number of injustices until your utopia is fully realized? Libertarians will never get anything they want unless they realize that, here in reality, change is incremental and imperfect.

    Libertarians are already never going to get anything they want, just like Republicans and Democrats. Republicans think that they can get limited government with a huge heaping side of Christian subsidization. Democrats think they're going to get Scandinavian model socialism, campaign finance reform, and a system that's funded by wall street, but really sticks it to wall street, all at the same time. Good luck with that.

    This system isn't about giving you what you want. Or really listening to you, for that matter. Hedging your wants and desires, as if your decisions are effecting outcomes. They're not, and believing they are is a delusion. Therefore, why not say what you think and support what you want?

    I'm completely uninterested in misrepresenting my own beliefs, under the delusion that if I moderate, the system will go for it.

  • ||

    I'm also quite capable of doing two things at once. Telling gay people they can't get married sucks. Telling everyone the need government permission sucks.

    I can say that a shit sandwich is a little less shitty than other shit sandwiches, and point out that it's still a shit sandwich.

    It's not hard.

  • ThatSkepticGuy||

    "continuing to impose discriminatory laws on people as the quixotic (to understate) mission to end marriage altogether inevitably goes nowhere."

    Uh huh.

    Tell us again how all inequality everywhere will be forever solved by the implementation of further bureaucracy and never-ending tax hikes, fuckrag.

  • Redmanfms||

    You're willing to tolerate any number of injustices until your utopia is fully realized?

    I, uh, um, just fucking wow dude. This is possibly the most ironic thing you've ever posted.

  • Tony||

    You can't be serious with this crap.

  • Tony||

    It cannot possibly be the case that all of you using the "there should be no marriage at all" distraction are not or have never been married.

  • some guy||

    I'm sure many of us have been married. So what? I continue to use roads even though I disagree with how they are funded and built. I will continue to live within the existing system even as I try to change it.

  • Tony||

    Marriage, unlike roads, is quite easily avoided. The point is you have the choice, while gay people do not. That is the injustice at issue. Anything else is a distraction.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    The point is you have the choice, while gay people do not. That is the injustice at issue.

    Because nobody can choose to live a certain way unless the states says they are living that way.

  • Tony||

    Well gay people in many states can't choose to be legally married. You can piss and moan about state-sanctioned marriage all you want, but the issue is not the existence of marriage, but the existence of state-sanctioned discrimination based primarily on pernicious religious bigotry. How is maintaining that regime a practical step toward any positive goal?

  • ||

    How do you know Camping isn't deeply in love, and wishing to consecrate a relationship before the holy state, with his adult sister? Or a woman in Iran? How do you know he isn't a Muslim or a Mormon whose religion allows or even encourages him to have multiple marriages? How do you know he isn't a convicted felon out on parole looking to tie the knot with his girlfriend, who coincidentally is also a convict? He really doesn't have choices then. Based on arbitrary bigotry. Possibly religiously motivated.

    I know, I know. It's his obligation to go rouse a mob with pitchforks to storm the Supreme Court to secure him his rights. Because that's the way things are done, and fuck him anyway if he ain't popular.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "but the existence of state-sanctioned discrimination based primarily on pernicious religious bigotry. How is maintaining that regime a practical step toward any positive goal?"

    You're the one arguing for the status quo. Why should someone have to stick their dick into the random hole of someone and say: "I love you forever" and get a piece of paper from the government to be able to sponsor an immigrant? Why the fuck is that the threshold for that benefit? Go through them one by one and ask the same question.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    "I'd also love it if we could stop using the term "equality" in reference to an institution that, by definition, bestows privileges on some but not others."

    I take it what you are getting at here is that by recognizing marriages the government is treating married people differently than unmarried people and so it's not equal.

    I see your point, but if marriage is a "contract" then married people are in a different position than single people, and just as the government has certain obligations and benefits it will recognize and enforce for people in contracts it might do the same for people in a marriage "contract." Think of government recognized marriage like government recognized trusts, partnerships or corporations. Is it inequality that the government won't treat a sole proprietor like a limited liability partnership?

  • Tony||

    Uhh... is the sole proprietor gay?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    The sole proprietor is a single person.

    So the question of "should gay people have their marriages recognized by the state" becomes like "should gay people have their limited liability partnerships recognized by the state."

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Is it inequality that the government won't treat a sole proprietor like a limited liability partnership?

    If by "treat" you mean hand out various goodies to one of those then yes, it is inequality. Yes, teh gayz have not been treated equally, along with host of others.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Do you think it is unfair that limited liability partnerships, which have different obligations and benefits than sole proprietors do, are recognized and treated differently than sole proprietors?

    This is another way of saying, do you object to corporations in their various forms? Because the whole idea of a corporation is a group that with state recognition gets different obligations and benefits than others in the market.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    "Because the whole idea of a corporation is a group that with state recognition gets different obligations and benefits than others in the market."

    No, the whole idea of a corporation is to distinguish between personal assets and liabilities and business assets and liabilities. Corporations are not originally intended to "get different benefits than others in the market", especially by direct subsidy of the federal government.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Corporations are where people pool money and then give up some part of control of that money in return for limited liability. The state obligates them to give up some control and in return they limit their liability to third persons. Corporations are treated differently than sole proprietors, who can retain total control over the money but are not limited in their liability. Note the differences amount to obligations and benefits the other does not get or have.

    I'm not opposed to this different treatment by the way. To some extent, as PM says below, it can be said to just recognize or acknowledge the differences between the two business forms. But I think you can say the same for a married couple versus a single person: they are different, and so different obligations and benefits are recognized. Government recognizing this doesn't strike me as any more inequality than it treating sole proprietors differently than limited partnerships or corporations.

    Of course this is not a defense of some of the plain out 'social engineering' goodies that are given only to married people, just the basic common law recognized differences in obligations and benefits.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    Do you think it is unfair that limited liability partnerships, which have different obligations and benefits than sole proprietors do, are recognized and treated differently than sole proprietors?

    Yes, it clearly is.

  • VG Zaytsev||

    I see your point, but if marriage is a "contract"

    But marriage in the US is not a contract.

  • ||

    I take it what you are getting at here is that by recognizing marriages the government is treating married people differently than unmarried people and so it's not equal.

    In the broad sense, yes. But also in the sense that the government gives married people tangible benefits denied to unmarried people.

    I see your point, but if marriage is a "contract" then married people are in a different position than single people, and just as the government has certain obligations and benefits it will recognize and enforce for people in contracts it might do the same for people in a marriage "contract."

    Government only treats people in a contract differently if/when the contract is adjudicated in court, and only by arbitrating the terms of the contract. I'd be in full support of the government doing that for marriage contracts, if such existed.

    Is it inequality that the government won't treat a sole proprietor like a limited liability partnership?

    In a certain sense it is. Although limitation of liability is available to sole proprietors now as well (in large part this is why the LLC was born). And limitation of liability isn't so much a benefit granted by the government as an acknowledgement of such for legal purposes. You could have limitation of liability absent the state's provision of it. It would just be tricker to make sure it is acknowledged by any court.

  • Rasilio||

    "But there is no compelling governmental reason to deny gay couples equal marriage rights or the benefits that attend them. Government’s elemental duty consists of protecting individual rights from aggression. Same-sex marriages imperil nobody’s rights. They harm no one. Hence opponents have conjured up other rationales."

    Look, I agree with you but that's a mighty big strawman you built right there.

    The problem is not that the gay marriage opponents conjur up other rationales, the problem is that the gay marriage opponents do not believe that "Government’s elemental duty consists of protecting individual rights from aggression". They also believe that government has a duty to enforce and promote a specifically religious moral code and common cultural heritage based on Judeo Christian traditions as informed by the Bible and that it is perfectly to commit aggression against someone to enforce this moral code.

    The simple fact is that what we view and what the SoCons view as the role of government are so radically different as to be incompatibile, one of us will inevitably have to be suppressed in the public sphere and it may even take initiation of aggression to accomplish it.

  • West Texas||

    [blockquote]Women’s suffrage was condemned as an “exceedingly dangerous” experiment that would destroy chivalry, defy God’s will, violate biological law, and require “a radical change in human nature of which the world has never given the faintest sign.” Women gained the vote – and yet somehow, Western civilization abides.[/blockquote]

    [a href="http://solanumonlinemedia.com/images/19th Amendment.png"]Careful now.[/a]

  • West Texas||

    What the hell?

  • West Texas||

    Nevermind, I'm an idiot.


    Women’s suffrage was condemned as an “exceedingly dangerous” experiment that would destroy chivalry, defy God’s will, violate biological law, and require “a radical change in human nature of which the world has never given the faintest sign.” Women gained the vote – and yet somehow, Western civilization abides.

    Careful now.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, it probably has contributed to the dumbing down of the electorates, but I don't think I want to go there...

  • some guy||

    violate biological law,

    So they are hearkening back to a time when might made right? Or are they just saying that men are smarter than women?

  • sarcasmic||

    I think they're saying that the ass is exit-only.

  • some guy||

    Suffrage is about voting, sarcasmic. At the polls we vote for asses, not with them.

  • West Texas||

    What the hell?

  • ||

    you can't use brackets.

  • ||

    This ain't vBulletin buddy. HTML or GTFO

    ;)

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "The clear trajectory of the issue indicates that same-sex marriage eventually will come to pass, in Virginia and the rest of the country, just as women’s suffrage, school desegregation, interracial marriage, and all the rest did."

    They said Columbus was crazy...they said Edison was crazy...they said that my crazy Uncle Ed was crazy...oh, well, that's only one out of three...

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I agree that the argument "the clear trajectory is that this going to happen, so let's hasten it" is nearly always a terrible one.

  • ||

    You heisted that from Carl Sagan, you pernicious paraphrasing plagiarist

    The fact that some geniuses were laughed at does not imply that all who are laughed at are geniuses. They laughed at Columbus, they laughed at Fulton, they laughed at the Wright brothers. But they also laughed at Bozo the Clown.

  • cavalier973||

    Who laughed at the Wright Brothers?

  • ||

    Their longsuffering wives and parents. There's always "that guy" who thinks he's a comedian...

  • cavalier973||

    The correct answer is "Georges Méliès".

  • cavalier973||

    This will be an issue only until the bleefur bigotses finally give up and start endorsing "same-sex marriage," including arranging flowers and baking cakes and allowing your place of worship to be used for the "same-sex weddings."

  • Cane||

    "Women’s suffrage was condemned as an “exceedingly dangerous” experiment that would destroy chivalry, defy God’s will, violate biological law, and require “a radical change in human nature of which the world has never given the faintest sign.""

    To be fair, that did happen.

  • Brandybuck||

    "Women’s suffrage was condemned as an “exceedingly dangerous” experiment that would destroy chivalry, defy God’s will, violate biological law, and require “a radical change in human nature of which the world has never given the faintest sign.” Women gained the vote – and..."

    ... we immediately got the income tax, central bank, and a world war.

  • Brandybuck||

    Yeah, yeah, we got those things a couple years before. Still... it was the whole idea of womyn voting that caused it.

  • umh||

    My guess is that many of them will come to regret getting married.

  • cavalier973||

    What for? One can easily get out of marriage, anymore. "No fault divorce" is the real threat to definitional marriage.

  • Redmanfms||

    What for? One can easily get out of marriage, anymore. "No fault divorce" is the real threat to definitional marriage.

    One can easily get out of marriage if one is a woman. Men pay.

    Gay marriage will make the spectacle that is America's divorce courts very interesting...

  • Anders||

    Kind of disappointing to see all this pro gay marriage and anti-federalist BS on reason.com

    If states do not want gay marriage - and they do not - then that is the end of it.

    The hypocrisy of some so-called libertarians is why they get roundly mocked as the sodomy and marijuana freaks of the world.

  • califernian||

    It's really not that hard to understand.

    Ideal libertarian option: no govt involvement in marriage whatsover.

    Second best option: no one can be discriminated against by govt when it comes to marriage.

    It's not that fucking hard to understand.

  • califernian||

    And neither of these preclude the standard libertarian view on freedom of association: ANY private party can discriminate against anyone for any fucking reason they like.

    So don't start whining about flower shop owners and act like libertarians are hypocritically in favor of giving away the store to the trial lawyers.

  • jacob||

    The GOVERNMENT is not a private party.

    "libertarians are hypocritically in favor of giving away the store to the trial lawyers"

    Has the health care system been given away to trial lawyers?

  • Barnstormer||

    As a Virginian, I wish A. Barton would have kept this opinion to himself. We like the status quo.

    With the exception of age restrictions, marriage in Virginia is an equal-opportunity institution: anyone--yes, anyone--that can find a person of the opposite sex willing to go along is allowed to participate. The rest of this debate is crap.

  • John12345678451320321||

    Am I the only one that recognized the out of context reference to Deuteronomy 22:13-21? You can read what it has to say here: http://www.biblegateway.com/pa.....ersion=NIV

    but essentially he manipulated the text to better his argument. I may not 100% accurately represent what the scriptures mean, but this is what I got out of it:

    If a man gives a woman a bad name because he doubts the woman's virginity and he is proved wrong then the man that made the claim will be fined 100 shekels of silver which will be given to the father of the woman

    If the man was right about the woman not being a virgin and based upon this quote "I married this woman, but when I approached her, I did not find proof of her virginity" (Deuteronomy 22:14) it seems that virginity was something expected before being married. Then that would mean that some person lied (in my opinion it would make sense that the woman lied about her virginity unless the man asked someone else about the woman's virginity). So the part of being stoned to death (a common sentence back in the day) has to do with the lying about being a virgin and "being promiscuous while still in her father’s house" (Deuteronomy 22:21), not about what the author was saying. He was simply stating that if a wife is not a virgin, then kill her. Completely out of context

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  • Jake345||

    Reason implicitly supporting state sponsored marriage ...lol...these guys are just too funny...

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