Michael Schiavo: "Take it from me, when the government gets involved in our personal relationships bad things happen"

|

Gay rights advocates fighting Proposition 8 in California have in their corner Fallout Boy, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the conservative Orange County Register, Google, the California Episcopal Church, and a handful of other notables; but who's donating face time on behalf of the anti-Amendment 2 crew in Florida? As of yesterday, Michael Schiavo. Remember him? He's the guy who wanted to remove his brain-dead wife's feeding tube, but—thanks in part to a network of moralizing meddlers—couldn't (then could, then couldn't, then did).

Schiavo's an interesting choice for Progress Florida, which has been the most vocal opponent of Amendment 2. He's more qualified than any celebrity to speak on the repercussions of government infringement in private matters, but I think he gives a lot of Floridians the willies. By the end of the Terri Schiavo case, most Floridians had at best a luke-warm attitude toward him even if they strongly agreed with his right to do what he did. Conservative "murder" rhetoric and 24-hour media coverage pushed a lot of moderates out of the debate, while stirring up the worst in civil libertarians and religious fundamentalists alike. I wonder if Yes2Marriage, the Christian group behind the proposition, is going to air any anti-Schiavo ads to rejuevenate its campaign?

The Schiavo spot [The best line, IMHO: "As a former Republican, I think if the people behind Amendment 2 really cared about respecting a legal marriage between husband and wife, they would've respected mine."]:

Sidenote: On a related post, a handful of commenters conflated lobbying for gay marriage rights with lobbying for expanded government powers. In response, I'd like to suggest that, because there is no viable movement to de-legislate state marriage licensing, gay marriage is an issue where libertarians should vote the lesser evil even if it means expanding government powers.

Advertisement

NEXT: The Three Major Memes of the Great Bailout Bonanza

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “libertarians should vote the lesser evil even if it means expanding government powers.”

    Are you fucking kidding me? This is why Reason has had NO impact on reducing government size and power in the last 30 years.

  2. I think this slogan needs some work–

    Gay Marriage: Because someday, the only thing between you and a huge insurance payout will be that dammed machine pumping life into your former sex partner.

  3. REASON is in the tank for Obama.The Illuminati must have promised them a privatized road,Whole Foods gift cards,cocaine,green Italian scooters or something…..

  4. have in their corner Fallout Boy, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

    I was going to correct you and say that Arnold was Radioactive Man, while Milhouse Van Houten played Fallout Boy.

    But it was Rainier Wolfcastle, my bad.

  5. It’s not really increasing government power to remove an arbitrary restriction on property interests through marriage.

  6. Are you fucking kidding me? This is why Reason has had NO impact on reducing government size and power in the last 30 years.

    Yeah, that’s it, genius. The new guy at reason makes a suggestion, and HE’S THE LONE CAUSE for your completely unprovable and substance-less claim.

    Thanks for that.

    Regardless, I agree with Riggs’ point; part of government’s job is contract enforcement. AFAICT, government moves to ban gay marriage are actually denying homosexuals their right of contract.

  7. Whole Foods gift cards

    “It’s the arugula, stupid!”

  8. Honestly, if you think that passing a law forbidding certain people from entering into a certain kind of contract is a good way to limit government power government power and promote liberty, then you can go fuck yourself.

    These propositions are about codifying hatred and bigotry and nothing else.

  9. have in their corner Fallout Boy

    OT:

    Version 3 of the best videogame of all time “Fallout” is on sale 10/28

  10. Regardless, I agree with Riggs’ point; part of government’s job is contract enforcement. AFAICT, government moves to ban gay marriage are actually denying homosexuals their right of contract.

    Bingo!! My only problem with this is the same I have with pot legalization before total repeal of the WOsD. Once the largest minority is no longer ostracized it will be harder for the rest to gain equal footing (polygamy anyone?)

    From a strictly libertarian POV we should be agitating for full repeal of Government interference in personal contracts but to ignore an option that will make things better because it’s not perfect is like voting against NAFTA because it’s not fully free trade.

  11. Of course it doesn’t prevent someone from entering into a contract. If you want your gay partner to get your stuff, write a will. If anything government recognition of marriage restricts your freedom rather than expanding it. Right now you can write your gay lover out of your will. Your wife or husband gets a forced share. I suppose if you really are into it you could write a contract giving them a forced share.

    If you want your gay lover to make healthcare decisions for you, you write a living will and get a power of attorney. Want them to own half of what you own, put their name on the titles. Want to get married? There are lots of churches that will do it, you just don’t get a license from the state.

    The only thing you can’t do is married filing jointly or put them on your health insurance. Married filling jointly is a worse way to file than single, so that is not much of a loss. Further, there is plenty of insurance out there that covers “domestic partners”.

    In the end the gay marriage debate is about a whole lot of nothing. As a civil rights issue it is pretty far down the list. But since it is about so little and the stakes are so low, people feel free to get really angry about it.

  12. That having been said, Schiavo is a hell of an odd choice. Also, could Florida antis not have found a number of more charismatic spokespersons?

  13. The only thing you can’t do is married filing jointly or put them on your health insurance.

    Or allow them admittance to the ICU when you are on your deathbed. Family members only (marriage is fine, living wills don’t cut it).

  14. “‘libertarians should vote the lesser evil even if it means expanding government powers.’

    nonPaulogist wrote: Are you fucking kidding me? This is why Reason has had NO impact on reducing government size and power in the last 30 years.”

    First, you left off the first part of the sentence. It was kind of important.

    Second, government powers were expanded when interracial marriage was allowed. Should libertarians be against this expansion of powers?

    Third, you are a terrible person and I don’t understand how you sleep at night.

    Fourth, drink!

  15. “Also, could Florida antis not have found a number of more charismatic spokespersons?”

    You mean like James J. Bullock?

  16. “Or allow them admittance to the ICU when you are on your deathbed. Family members only (marriage is fine, living wills don’t cut it).”

    That is a total myth. One of my best friends died in an ICU and several of his close friends were there to see him. Further, if someone holds a healthcare power of attoney and is empowered to make medical decisions for the person, no way in hell would a hospital not let them into the room to see them and be with them. Can you imagine the liability the hospital would be under if someone started making decisions for someone when they hadn’t ever actually seen that the person was incapacitated? That is just bullshit.

  17. John: if the family members say that the gay lover has to go, he gets thrown out. If the family members say the wife has to go, tough shit for them. So it really isn’t a myth.

  18. The hospital has to remove someone from the ICU when the patient’s family objects, even if the patient has granted health care power of attorney to the person? I’m still pretty skeptical about that.

  19. The only thing you can’t do is married filing jointly or put them on your health insurance

    You’re forgetting that whole bit about citizenship for your foreign-born spouse

  20. You’re forgetting that whole bit about citizenship for your foreign-born spouse

    Bingo! Ask Rhywun about this. It’s completely unfair and really, really fucking heartless.

  21. SIV | October 15, 2008, 1:02pm | #
    REASON is in the tank for Obama.The Illuminati must have promised them a privatized road,Whole Foods gift cards,cocaine,green Italian scooters or something…..

    Wow. The majority of the American people, Reason, and now the Illuminati. You must feel really lonely and impotent, SIV. Maybe it would help you feel better if you go out and buy some more nice, stiff guns.

  22. Also, the bit about not being able to get married.

  23. Lamar and John-

    If the gay lover is the attorny-in-fact or the health care proxy, the family has no power to exclude the gay lover. That is the reality.

  24. The reason a lot of states only allow heterosexual marriage is because they have a vested interest in that couple’s procreation. Statistically, gays are a lot less likey to have any children. The state filing allows married couples to receive, in essence, subsidies from the states. The states don’t want to give any money to couples who won’t make babies. This is the same as a ban on siblings or cousins marrying.

    That being said, the states should just stay out of marriage altogether and return the responsibility to the churches (of any denomination) or localities (if no denomination).

  25. In the end the gay marriage debate is about a whole lot of nothing. As a civil rights issue it is pretty far down the list. But since it is about so little and the stakes are so low, people feel free to get really angry about it.

    Being gay I find your argument complete shit. The word “marriage” has a lot of legal meaning. Without that word – mine or my partners parents can pretty much call the shots on any medical decisions or how to divvy up the property. Writing contracts to prevent this has already costs thousands of dollars and there is no guarantee it will hold. Many hospitals will not recognize me unless I bring documentation with me that proves that I have power of attorney (do you carry your marriage certificate with you?). And lets talk about Health Insurance for a moment – without the word “marriage” my health insurance provided to me by my partners company is taxed as income.

    In Minnesota there are some 514 laws that govern marriage so to say its “a little thing” shows you are completely ignorant of the issue.

    And if its so far down the “civil rights” list – then just give it to us now.

  26. Suppose you are the hospital administrator, the hospital CEO or some other grand pubah, what are you going to do? Call the police on the gay lover who just happens to be the attorney-in-fact and the health care proxy and risk facing a multi-million dollar lawsuit all to placate the bigoted family?

    Yeah.

  27. Codifying all of the benefits of a marriage certificate by having a lawyer draw up all of the relevant contracts will cost approximately $35,000.

    It’s real easy for you to say “Get a will, get a living will,” John. Have you got thirty five grand lying around?

  28. @Brandon

    Ah the tired procreation argument. The state has a vested interest in STABILITY not procreation. Marriage is a structure that promotes stability.

    Outside of that tired argument – I agree that the state should stay out of it entirely.

  29. @libertymike

    They will prevent you from making life or death decisions regarding your partner and in extreme cases from seeing your partner at all. It has happened. It happens today. Which is why a few states have passed laws to prevent it from happening.

  30. “Codifying all of the benefits of a marriage certificate by having a lawyer draw up all of the relevant contracts will cost approximately $35,000.”

    That is a myth Joe. Yeah it would cost you $35,000 if you go to Arnold and Porter to do it. You can do a living will off the internet. Those documents are not that hard to do. Further, it is not like married people don’t have to do a living will either. Since there is a good chance that if you are in a car accident or some such your spouse will be with you and probably injured with you, it is a good idea to have a living will even if you are married.

    This is not Jim Crow.

  31. “If the gay lover is the attorney-in-fact or the health care proxy, the family has no power to exclude the gay lover. That is the reality.”

    Yeah, just hope that after the car crash you had enough time to go home, get your paperwork, and make it back to the hospital before he bleeds out. Face it: there is a reason that marriage is important. It is a shorthand for all these contractual relationships and they are presumed valid. Is a power of attorney presumed valid when the lover claims to have such papers? What if they are in Miami and the papers are in Tampa? Is he supposed to run home and get them?

  32. joe,

    You pulled that out of your ass.

  33. You can’t contract with your lover to be married in the eyes of the IRS.

  34. This is not Jim Crow.

    So what? It’s still discriminatory.

  35. If gays can get all the same rights as a straight couple by a series of contracts, then what’s the problem with allowing them to get civil unions? Isn’t your opposition based on the belief that they shouldn’t get the same rights?

  36. libertarians should vote the lesser evil even if it means expanding government powers.

    It has probably already been said, but I will add on that expanding government powers is always the greater eveil.

  37. Two people want to enter into a certain kind of contract. The government recognizes and enforces the contract. Is this not a legitimate function of government?
    How, then, is recognizing gay marriages an expansion of government power?

  38. It’s not conflating the issues, and you concede as much in your last sentence. FAIL.

  39. How, then, is recognizing gay marriages an expansion of government power?

    Because it’s two penises and it’s all icky.


  40. Codifying all of the benefits of a marriage certificate by having a lawyer draw up all of the relevant contracts will cost approximately $35,000.

    The first one costs 35k. Each additional one costs 6 cents per page.

  41. The state has a vested interest in STABILITY

    This may be the single biggest problem our nation faces (not gay marriage, but the state thinking they have an interest in stability).

    Hail Eris!

  42. My favorite thing to say lately to those who’d say same sex marriage is wrong (by Biblical standards) is this:

    1 Timothy 4:1-5: Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing is to be refused if it is received with thanksgiving; for it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.

  43. I’m pretty much conservative, but I’m totally in favor of gay marriage. I say let them get married and have to hire a damn wallet-wiping attorney to get rid of each other like the rest of us do. And I’m tired of them getting insurance benefits for “life partners” at work without having to sell their souls and marry the damn partner.

  44. do you carry your marriage certificate with you?

    Im not married, but I have been carrying a wallet diploma around with me for over 17 years. It was given to me by my Alumni Association while I was waiting in line to enter graduation. It has been in my wallet ever since (and I have changed wallets multiple times). Once, it was actually useful.

  45. In response, I’d like to suggest that, because there is no viable movement to de-legislate state marriage licensing, gay marriage is an issue where libertarians should vote the lesser evil even if it means expanding government powers.

    And I’d like to suggest that, because there is no viable movement to eliminate Social Security, libertarians should support all of us getting a check every month, even if it means increasing the payroll tax.

    Now, explain why supporting gay marriage is the lesser evil. Obviously, societies have an interest in promoting hetero-sexual relationships because in absence of them you don’t have a society for long. What is the comparable interest in promoting gay relationships?

    It’s getting really tiring hearing the word “equal” proffered as an answer to every argument in absence of any meaningful criteria for quantifying “equal”.

    All men may be created equal, but their relationships certainly are not. The law certainly doesn’t treat churches as corporations or as charities or as governments. Without the capacity to “discriminate” between those relationships, no meaningful law is possible.

  46. I don’t have a problem with gay marriage. It breaks my heart to think of them not being able to fuss around planning weddings.

  47. Codifying all of the benefits of a marriage certificate by having a lawyer draw up all of the relevant contracts will cost approximately $35,000.

    Sure, the first time. Then you have a nice, form document where you can insert specifics. This, by the way, is how 99+% of legal documents are prepared, including documents much more complex than these would be. I would estimate the total preparation cost for each subsequent document to be less than $500. Nonetheless, I award you an 8.7 for trolling.

  48. Hogan,

    It breaks my heart to think of them not being able to fuss around planning weddings.

    They can still do that. They just cant file paperwork with the state afterword.

    If
    A: I ever find a woman to marry me
    B: She is willing to go along with my crazy ideas
    C: Our minister agrees

    Then I wont be filing paperwork with the state when I get married either. God is authorization enough for me.

    If any of the latter 2 dont happen, I will follow the state’s procedures and grumble about it a lot.

  49. shucks, I know robc. I had originally written out a real explanation of my opinion, but then just felt like makin that joke.

  50. “And I’d like to suggest that, because there is no viable movement to eliminate Social Security, libertarians should support all of us getting a check every month, even if it means increasing the payroll tax.”

    Nice try, but the gay marriage issue is more like saying, “Since Social Security isn’t going anywhere, can the government rightfully deny blacks and women Social Security benefits.”

  51. Actually, isn’t Social Security surviving spouse benefits something that a contract couldn’t bestow that is automatic under marriage?

  52. “Well I got rid of my teeth at a young age, because I’m straight. Teeth are for gay people. That’s why fairies come and get ’em.”

    “If teeth make me gay then sign me up, ’cause I wish I had ’em.”

  53. Of course it doesn’t prevent someone from entering into a contract. If you want your gay partner to get your stuff, write a will. If anything government recognition of marriage restricts your freedom rather than expanding it. Right now you can write your gay lover out of your will. Your wife or husband gets a forced share. I suppose if you really are into it you could write a contract giving them a forced share.

    Right now, if some dude dies, whatever estate passes to his (female) wife goes there tax free no matter how much it is.

    If some dude with a male wife (or whatever you want to call it) dies, and his estate is over something like $2 million, the estate tax takes a big bite out of it, unless you do a convoluted and expensive estate tax planning. (which can’t worked around everything)

  54. Power of Attorney and Health Care Proxies do not guarantee the rights of gay (or unmarried heterosexual) couples. Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital is being sued for denying a lesbian woman access to her partner despite having all the recommend legal “contracts” in place. She was told by the hospital staff she was in an “anti-gay city and state”. Her parter died without she and their children by her side.

    This is more than a civil rights issue, it is a human rights issue. To muse on about this issue without taking into account the real toll on human dignity is absurd and insulting.

  55. Ask Rhywun about this. It’s completely unfair and really, really fucking heartless.

    Fuck it–I’m not wasting my time on ANOTHER gay marriage thread. Either you get it or you don’t.

  56. Miami’s Jackson Memorial Hospital is being sued for denying a lesbian woman access to her partner despite having all the recommend legal “contracts” in place. She was told by the hospital staff she was in an “anti-gay city and state”. Her parter died without she and their children by her side.

    it is definitely a hospital-by-hospital thing.

    i hope they burn in fucking hell for that. politics is politics and all but that’s fucking horrendous.

  57. The gay marriage thing doesn’t get me fired up. It’s a small expansion of government power, nowhere near the order of magnitude of all these bailouts. I don’t vote for or against politicians based on their stance on this issue, unless they take the totally libertarian stance of no government involvement whatsoever, in which case they’re probably going to be libertarian on lots of other issues, too, and get my vote anyway.

    That being said, I don’t believe in giving government more arbitrary power over us, to pick and choose which groups get special privileges and which groups don’t. And that is SO what the conservatives AND liberals are fighting about, both wanting their people to get privileges while excluding others.

    The points that have been raised about ICU visitation and all that — I’m all for expanding the right of consenting adults to enter into mutually beneficial contractual agreements. Put the right to enter into such contractual agreements on a ballot, while steering clear of government recognition of gay marriages, and it gets my vote.

    Put a measure on the ballot for the state to recognize gay marriages, but not polygamous marriages — i.e., every such measure ever proposed, IIRC — I vote against it.

    Put a measure on the ballot for the state to recognize gay marriages, polygamous marriages, or any other marriage arrangement between two or more consenting adults, and I’d have to think about it, but I’d be inclined to vote for that, despite the greater power granted to government, because then EVERYONE who wanted to enter into such contracts would get to, not just politically power groups.

    Re this: “Ask Rhywun about this. It’s completely unfair and really, really fucking heartless.”

    What I’d like to ask Rhywun is why every single ballot proposal I’ve ever seen to legalize gay marriage does not address polygamous marriage. If you’re claiming the fucking moral high ground while refusing those rights to a less politically powerful group, you’re being at best clueless and at worst a hypocrite.

  58. prolefeed – because they want those ballot initiatives to pass? I personally agree that any consenting adults should be allowed to enter into whatever marriage contracts they desire. That does not mean I don’t recognize that such a law would have a much, much harder time passing than one limited to gay marriage.

  59. why every single ballot proposal I’ve ever seen to legalize gay marriage does not address polygamous marriage

    Why stop at polygamy? Why not incest or bestiality? Is there any sort of “relationship” that gays are not required to support in order to get your blessing? Or are you just being disingenuous?

  60. To: prolefeed

    I am not aware of any ballot measures to “recognize” same-sex marriage, only measures to ban them, and prematurely in most cases since many states already have laws forbidding same-sex marriage.

    I kindly suggest that one who makes such forceful arguments on an issue which, as a reader might reasonably infer by your comments has little direct impact on your personal life, either make and effort to understand the ballot question at hand and vote responsibly or exercise one’s right not to vote on the issue.

    If one is to vote on the personal lives and rights of one’s fellow citizens (itself a great injustice for which this country ought be ashamed) it is, in my humble opinion, one’s moral responsibility to be familiar with what is at stake with one’s vote.

    These votes are about real people, not politial or religious concepts.

    Concepts make for lively discussion, but your vote has consequences for your neighbors and possibly (or likely) members of your own family. What do you cherish more, a concept or the dignity of human beings?

  61. Some gay people thank God every day for not having the right to get married – “Gee, I’d love to sweetheart, but the man says no”. Others aren’t as sharp.

  62. The state filing allows married couples to receive, in essence, subsidies from the states. The states don’t want to give any money to couples who won’t make babies.

    Then why not ban marriage for anyone sterile, like women who are post-menopausal or post-hysterectomy or people with their tubes tied?

    Statistically, gays are a lot less likely to have any children.

    Easing adoption rules would go a long way to fix that. And prohibiting gay couples from marrying won’t get society any more children.

    Obviously, societies have an interest in promoting hetero-sexual relationships because in absence of them you don’t have a society for long.

    Bogus. While it’s true that a society without H/S relationships won’t produce children, I fail to find any situation in recorded history where government needed to provide any encouragement to get people to have sex.

  63. Obviously, societies have an interest in promoting hetero-sexual relationships because in absence of them you don’t have a society for long.

    That’s an awfully big “obviously”. Oh, look, LarryA said it first:

    While it’s true that a society without H/S relationships won’t produce children, I fail to find any situation in recorded history where government needed to provide any encouragement to get people to have sex.

    I have a theory that everyone who opposes gay marriage does so because deep down inside, the only thing preventing them from dumping their wives, covering themselves with glitter, and buggering that hot pool boy, Ramon, is the knowledge that no matter how well things went, he and Ramon could never be married. They therefore naturally assume that the same is true of absolutely everyone else.

  64. I fail to find any situation in recorded history where government needed to provide any encouragement to get people to have sex.

    My city council has a “Rock Out With Your Cock Out” night.

  65. Bogus. While it’s true that a society without H/S relationships won’t produce children, I fail to find any situation in recorded history where government needed to provide any encouragement to get people to have sex.

    Getting them to have sex isn’t the problem. Getting them to take responsibility for the offspring produced thereby has typically been a little more problematic. Believe it or not, gratifying your dick isn’t the end-all and be-all rationale for this particular institution.

  66. Why stop at polygamy? Why not incest or bestiality? Is there any sort of “relationship” that gays are not required to support in order to get your blessing? Or are you just being disingenuous?

    So, Rywhun, if I were to marry another woman, you would class that as being in a class of immorality comparable to bestiality, and far less moral than a same-sex relationship?

    You would be OK with me going to jail for that?

    Do you see how it is maybe not disingenuous to oppose government expansions of power, especially to extend special privileges to one class of citizens not available to others?

    I kindly suggest that one who makes such forceful arguments on an issue which, as a reader might reasonably infer by your comments has little direct impact on your personal life, either make and effort to understand the ballot question at hand and vote responsibly or exercise one’s right not to vote on the issue.

    If one is to vote on the personal lives and rights of one’s fellow citizens (itself a great injustice for which this country ought be ashamed) it is, in my humble opinion, one’s moral responsibility to be familiar with what is at stake with one’s vote.

    These votes are about real people, not politial or religious concepts.

    Concepts make for lively discussion, but your vote has consequences for your neighbors and possibly (or likely) members of your own family.

    Minister in CT — are you suggesting that because this issue isn’t my top priority for deciding which politicians to vote against, that I somehow don’t have a philosophy about it, and haven’t given it a lot of thought?

    I also don’t care as much about guns as I do about economic issues, so since I take the same position on guns as I do gays — that it is none of the government’s business at all, and that they should butt out entirely and leave us all alone — that I haven’t given my views on the Second Amendment much thought either?

    Or are you saying that because I don’t agree with you, that I couldn’t possibly have given this much thought? Are you implying that only people who agree with you are thoughtful?

    What do you cherish more, a concept or the dignity of human beings?

    A false dichotomy. The right philosophical concepts tend to lead to the greater dignity for human beings. The wrong concepts can lead to less dignity. So, I cherish both human beings and the concepts that allow those human beings to lead lives with the most freedom.

  67. “I am not aware of any ballot measures to “recognize” same-sex marriage, only measures to ban them, and prematurely in most cases since many states already have laws forbidding same-sex marriage.”

    To what extent that’s occurring is an attempt to pre-empt the state’s courts from imposing homosexual marriage by judicial fiat. It’s a direct consequence of the fact that gay activists have been trying to get the result they want through the judicial rather than the legislative branch.

  68. It’s not that hard to understand the difference in the state’s interest as concerns polygamous relationships vs. homosexual relationships.

    Marriage as it currently exists is simply a package of contractual and other legal rights that we slap a label onto: next-of-kin status, inheritance rights, etc. It’s a binary relationship in which each party is equally entitled/obligated to the other, which is simple. And as we all know, Government is Stupid.

    Expanding the availability of this package of rights to homosexual couples doesn’t really give Mungo, er, I mean, Government much new to sort out.

    Adding even one more partner to the relationship complicates things considerably, however. Are all three equally partners with each other? What if one is the secondary wife and one is the primary wife? Do two men share one woman equally while not being partnered to one another? Suddenly it gets a lot more complicated to arbitrate in the event of polygamous marriage dissolution. Not to mention the tax implications of an indeterminate number of people being able to band together to trade inheritances, file taxes as a household, not testify against each other in a criminal trial…

    …Polygamous groups don’t need marriage; they need Articles of Incorporation- it’s not that I oppose consenting adults living together in whatever combination they see fit, it’s that government can’t suss out the boundaries of that relationship with one one-size-fits-all civil contract.

  69. I think the Rondroid who responded first misunderstood — that happens with them a lot. The “expanded government” referred to was allowing gays to marry. I think that the Mr. Riggs used bad language that miscommunicated what he was saying. But the last people who should be upset are the Rondroids. After all, if marriage is big government at work then why did St. Ron marry his wife and stayed married to her for all these years? Or is as evil as they want to say REASON is???

    There is no expansion of government power in allowing gays to marry. All the powers remain. It just allows a group of people who couldn’t marry to make that choice. Since marriage is voluntary no is being subjected to those marriage laws except by choice — would that taxes be the same.

    And some of the reactions (the proper term) are just bizarre. Once someone starts ranting about the Illuminati I have to pull out my Thomas Szasz and reconvince myself about the myth of mental illness.

    John, who say gay couples can contract their rights, simply don’t understand the magnitude of the problem that gay couples face. It can’t be done. No private contract will allow a gay person to bring a foreign partner to the US. No private contract can grant the same right to “not testify” against a spouse. And does anyone have any idea how many contracts would be required and how many issues need to be covered?

    Even couples who have jumped through these very expensive hoops, that straights don’t have, sometime miss a contigency or don’t think of some unsual set of circumstances. And contracts can be challenged by “family” in ways that marriage can’t. Until libertarians, who argue against gay marriage, begin divorcing their partners, I don’t take thems seriously. Most of them are married. A few aren’t but they are often so antisocial they don’t have anyone in their life let alone a spouse.

    The fallacy in the social security counterargument is obvious. Social security is mandatory to pay in. Marriage is not mandatory. So no one is subjected to marriage laws except by choice. Yes, if social security denied benefits to gays, but they are forced to pay for it, they should collect. (And they can’t collect the same way straight couples can.). What we have is a lot of people arguing for the status quo which just happens to give them the same “privileges” which they want to deny to gays. Yet they are happy to accept these things for themselves with various arguments justifying it. If govt. is involved in such matters then it shouldn’t discriminate against gays. Equality before the law and then lets work together to abolish the bad interventions.

  70. MJ

    People tend to cry court activism or judicial fiat when the courts rule in a way with which they disagree.

    The courts, as a co-equal branch of government are not imposing anything. They are doing what courts are supposed to do… deciding if current laws violate constitutional rights.

    The amendment process cuts the courts out of the equation and lets citizens, whether informed, apathetic, or ill-informed, rule by popular vote, the very scenario the founders of this nation sought to temper by making the courts a co-equal branch of government.

  71. if I were to marry another woman, you would class that as being in a class of immorality comparable to bestiality, and far less moral than a same-sex relationship?

    I assume you mean a second woman? No, I do not equate all the permutations–that’s my whole point. You WANT me to, in order to gain your support for gay marriage. If you want to marry a second woman, that’s your fight, not mine. Again, my point is that polygamy is no more comparable to gay marriage than the other permutations that are often dragged out in this discussion, like bestiality.

    Do you see how it is maybe not disingenuous to oppose government expansions of power, especially to extend special privileges to one class of citizens not available to others?

    No, because I don’t think it’s (a) a “special privilege” or (b) an “expansion of power”. Again, you’re equating all possible permutations of “relationship”.

  72. On Schiavo, you’re discounting the very valid arguments coming from those against pulling out life support for Terri (who was, BTW, *NOT* brain dead, just in pervasive vegetative state). Terri Schiavo was still alive when the courts decided that nutrients and water isn’t suitable for her, only because of her non-written end-of-life wish testified by her husband and sister-in-law.

    The courts should have erred in the side of caution and not taken the testimony of a man who have clearly moved on and his sister, and give custody to Terri’s parents. That’s the least intrusive way to go about it, the one most consistent with the harm principle.

    And just because most who advocated Terri’s continued existence feel that this arguments is most consistent with what God tells them doesn’t discount these arguments or make them a few steps short of some brutish, anti-liberty theocracy-supporters.

  73. In response, I’d like to suggest that, because there is no viable movement to de-legislate state marriage licensing, gay marriage is an issue where libertarians should vote the lesser evil even if it means expanding government powers.

    I do not see any “viable” movement to legalize marijuana- so, libertarians should probably just support every possible excuse for drug testing and mandatory Gov’t rehab as a ‘lesser evil’ even if it means expanding Gov’t powers…

  74. “Or allow them admittance to the ICU when you are on your deathbed. Family members only (marriage is fine, living wills don’t cut it).”

    That is a total myth. One of my best friends died in an ICU and several of his close friends were there to see him.

    Actually, you’re wrong.

    If your best friend’s parents didn’t want those other friends in the ICU, they wouldn’t have been allowed.

    I am gay, and I have no doubt my parents would be happy to let my partner visit me in the hospital; but if I had a set of parents who were anti-gay, they’d be perfectly within their legal rights to deny my partner the right to visit me in the hospital, and there’d be little to nothing he could do about it.

    On the subject of wills, there have been cases when judges ruled in the immediate family’s favor when one partner left his stuff to the other. You get an anti-gay family that pushes hard enough, and they can have the wishes in a will nullified.

  75. “I do not see any “viable” movement to legalize marijuana- so, libertarians should probably just support every possible excuse for drug testing and mandatory Gov’t rehab as a ‘lesser evil’ even if it means expanding Gov’t powers…”

    This makes no sense. How does this analogy hold up? What is the greater evil in your hypothetical? Jail for 20 years vs. mandated rehab? Hmmm, let me think about which one libertarians would favor…..

  76. “Your wife or husband gets a forced share.”

    Not everywhere, friend. You can write your spouse out of your will, too. They get the “forced share” if you die intestate.

  77. “In the end the gay marriage debate is about a whole lot of nothing. As a civil rights issue it is pretty far down the list. But since it is about so little and the stakes are so low, people feel free to get really angry about it.”

    So says Marie Antoinette.

    Only a heterosexual who actually has marriage rights would say such a thing. First, if it’s a whole lot of nothing, then why not grant us marriage rights? Shouldn’t be a problem if it means nothing.
    Second, you are actually wrong — it does mean a whole of of something. With regards to rights, you have certain constitutional rights when you are married, you have rights to your spouses social security, certain taxes rights and so on that ONLY come with marriage. There are in fact about a thousand rights and advantages that only marriage can confer.

  78. “John, who say gay couples can contract their rights, simply don’t understand the magnitude of the problem that gay couples face. It can’t be done.”

    True. First, there is the enormous cost of drafting up all those contracts, and it can be different in each state. What if I travel to another state? I should keep 50 different contracts on every single aspect of our lives in the car just in case? What if we get into a car accident, and I left the living will papers and so on at home? Or I can’t find them? Why should I have to go through that burden when it can be eliminated with a simple: We’re married.

    Sorry, but denying gays marriage is just about some fear that gays .. . . just shouldn’t get married.

  79. “Believe it or not, gratifying your dick isn’t the end-all and be-all rationale for this particular institution.”

    ah yes. Gays only want to get married so that we can have sex. Like we can’t have it at all without marriage!

    Thanks for hitting the nail on the head, so to speak. The fear about gays getting married is that they will just have sex and not children, and that’s just not fair!

  80. “All men may be created equal, but their relationships certainly are not. The law certainly doesn’t treat churches as corporations or as charities or as governments. Without the capacity to “discriminate” between those relationships, no meaningful law is possible.”

    This statement, of course, wins the prize for the most ridiculous bit of sophistry!

    All married couples have different relationships. Some marry for love, some marry for money, some for the citizenship, some because there was no one better to marry, and many other reasons. Heck, some people get married interfaith and/or interracial! We should therefore discriminate among all those different relationships, or else the whole concept of marriage is not possible.

    But somehow, it still is. Now why is that?

    And worse — Massachusetts has had gay marriage for several years now. So has Canada, S. Africa, Spain, Belgium and the Netherlands. I guess, according to you, there is no possibiolity in those places for a meaningful law regarding marriage. Please tell us how society survives in those places.

  81. “If the gay lover is the attorny-in-fact or the health care proxy, the family has no power to exclude the gay lover. That is the reality.”

    Not exactly true. A gay couple had all the paperwork, yet one died in the hospital and was buried according to his wishes. The family has sued the surviving partner to have their son reburied and to deny him his rights under the will. They have lost in every court, yet the legal fees have left him bankrupt, and he might give up for lack of funds to continue to defend himself. So the family may win *despite* having the attorney in fact and the health care proxy, and the will and everything else.

    That is the reality when you don’t have gay marriage.

  82. This issue illuminates the classic cosmotarian/paleolibertarian divide. For cosmos the moral imperative is about equal protection under the law. For the paleos, the more important issue is that the law itself is morally repugnant. Calling each other names isn’t really going to get us anywhere. Just accept the fact that paleos are more radical in their defense of liberty and aren’t going to support pro-state measures no matter how pretty the dress you put them in.

  83. “That is a total myth. One of my best friends died in an ICU and several of his close friends were there to see him. Further, if someone holds a healthcare power of attoney and is empowered to make medical decisions for the person, no way in hell would a hospital not let them into the room to see them and be with them. Can you imagine the liability the hospital would be under if someone started making decisions for someone when they hadn’t ever actually seen that the person was incapacitated? That is just bullshit.”

    ***************************************

    Wrong. It depends on the state you live in, and also what judge you go before if it gets that far. Families here in Greensboro, NC, have successfully denied hospital visitation or decision making to domestic partners of sick or injured glbt adult children. The paper here has reported that in some cases, gay partners have not even been allowed to know where their loved ones have been buried.
    I personally know of glbt people who have gone through the paperwork, hired the lawyers and signed the dotted line…and still get sued by vengeful family members when a partner dies. Again, depending on the state and the judge, I know of glbt people who have literally been thrown off their own property after a judge awarded it to the blood relatives of the deceased and disregarded the power of attorney and will etc between the domestic partners.

    There is no substitute for marriage.

  84. People keep calling the allowing of gay marriages an expansion of state power.

    What about this:

    If gay marriages are illegal, then it means that the state has the power to restrict a certain class of people from entering into a certain type of contract. Specifically, homosexuals are restricted from entering into a matrimonial contract with the person of their choosing.

    Absent any compelling interest involving protection of rights (e.g., protecting minors from being coerced into such a contract), I don’t want the state to have that power, to enforce such a restriction. Just like I don’t want them to have the power to restrict interracial couples from marrying. Recognition of gay marriage is not an expansion of state power, it is a contraction of state power.

  85. John-
    I am a registered nurse and I can vouch from personal experience that if people in the hospital don’t like you- you will not see a patient and having a Medical Power of Attorney means very little. They can make you bring a new copy every time you request to see the patient, they can make you get it notarized every day, they can tell you that you need to have the copy approved by Risk Management (who if often gone after hours). Hospitals are pretty confident that a jury of 12 will have at least one person who hates gays. If you are gay, then your family will make your medical decisions. Period. If your parent disagrees with your idea of end of life care your best bet is to give a MPOA to a sibling. Giving to your gay spouse- useless. You might as well give it to your dog. Also, there are many rights that you can not arrange by contract. The biggest difference is Probate. As spouse does not have to inherit, because the assets are held jointly, upon death the spouse has access to everything immediately. If you die and leave something to someone in your will the estate needs to be settled in probate court which can take YEARS! By the time you get access back to the house you lived in or the cars, business ect over a year may pass. And that is if the executor didn’t take tons of fees and create obstacles. Also spousal privilege, pensions, insurance and the ability to transport your body back home if you die on a trip- just a few of the things you can not arrange with contracts. Shiavo is a saint. He went to nursing school to learn how to take care of his sick wife. He brought her to a program in California for rehabilitative care. He came to see her everyday until she died. When was the last time most of you guys did something so selfless for your spouse?

  86. “””The courts should have erred in the side of caution and not taken the testimony of a man who have clearly moved on and his sister, and give custody to Terri’s parents.”””

    Courts shouldn’t err. They should follow the law. If you are married, your spouse gets to make those decisions. Your over 18 and no longer live at home so your parents don’t count.

  87. I’ll tell you what destroys marriage, divorce.

    Since I don’t hear anyone defending marriage from divorce, I can’t take you seriously as a defender of marriage.

  88. What..hhahah Michael Schiavo….who cares what he thinks or if he thinks..he sure isnt a poster child for marriage of any kind…

    Come on guys, you can think you want if your an adult you should be able to love whomever you want. Marriage allows you to leave what you want to a person you have built a life with.

    But as foe Michael Shiavo….shut up

  89. ” Just accept the fact that paleos are more radical in their defense of liberty and aren’t going to support pro-state measures no matter how pretty the dress you put them in.”

    Yup. Always easy to deny someone else their rights. You can dress it up in high minded sophistry, but it all comes down to denying a right that you have to another person.

    When the paleos find a cause whereby they are willing to give up a basic right in defense of liberty, then I’ll believe that they actually mean what they say. Until then, it’s just a whole lot of BS.

  90. Any medical professional needs to understand that refusing to obey a power of attorney for health care is considered a willful (not negligent) decision under their professional insurance.

    In other words they’ve assumed unlimited personal liability for their actions – in most states, their wages can be garnished for the rest of their life.

    As the Schiavo case shows, marriage doesn’t mean squat when there is a controversy over care.

    Gay or straight, if you don’t have advanced directives (health care POA & durable POA), you face even more expensive options later.

    Obtaining guardianship is not cheap, and there’s always the possibility of a decade-long court fight like with the Terri Schiavo case.

    Given their earliest testimony, I have no doubt that her parents would still have challenged a written advanced directive, but the court fight would have been relatively short.

  91. That is the reality when you don’t have gay marriage.

    Let’s straighten out the distinction between traditional marriage and gay marriage.

    Traditional marriage: An institutional concession to a biological imperative. I expect I’m pretty safe in assuming that everyone reading this is the product of a hetero-sexual relationship. Society provides a mechanism for protecting hetero-sexual relationships for the simple reason hetero-sexual relationships are necessary for the survival of society itself.

    Gay marriage: A political sop to an interest group for a type of relationship that in 10,000 years of trying hard, has demonstrated exactly zero benefits to society. Essentially a demand that a relationship of exactly no value to society be regarded as equal to one that society couldn’t exist without, or, in other words, a demand of something for nothing. Generally a cause celebre with trendy liberals and cosmotarians eager to demonstrate their enlightenment and tolerance.

    The takeaway: anytime you hear the words “enlightened” and “tolerant”, reach for your revolver…..

  92. Horselips: So you’ve demonstrated that you have no respect for gays. Great. But you haven’t said anything about why society should NOT recognize gay marriages, just as they have in Massachusetts, Canada, Spain, S. Africa, Belgium and the Netherlands.

    If we are so inconsequential, then why oppose us? Even if everything you say is true, allowing gay marriage won’t affect traditional marriage on iota. Gay and straight marriage can and does exist together.

    Unless, of course, you have any evidence that in Mass and those other countries that traditional marriage can’t live with gay marriage.

    But I think you will find that most gay people will deeply resent your characterization of our relationships as having no value. When two people love each other and pledge their lives together, there certainly is value there, even if you are so blind you can’t see it.

  93. a type of relationship that … has demonstrated exactly zero benefits to society

    Attaboy. We libertarians respond so well to appeals to the “benefit to society”. We totally emphasize collective, societal benefit over the benefit to the individuals who are party to the relationship, don’t we?

  94. Attaboy. We libertarians respond so well to appeals to the “benefit to society”. We totally emphasize collective, societal benefit over the benefit to the individuals who are party to the relationship, don’t we?

    Nobody is telling you what kind of relationships you can form. If you have such a contempt for society, then why are you appealing to it for recognition of your relationship? We’re not interfering with your freedom to form a relationship. You’re attempting to interfere with our freedom to assign a value to it, and respond to it based on the value we assign to it.

    And I’m not a libertarian. Libertarianism demands reality be discounted in the service of it’s dogma. The way I see it, when a political philosophy comes into conflict with reality, it discredits the political philosophy. It doesn’t discredit reality.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.