Gay Marriage

The Libertarian Gay Marriage Paradox

How opening up marriage regulations will help make the case for eliminating them

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That paper makes more of a difference than it should.

The Supreme Court will be pondering the future of gay marriage recognition in the United States soon. That much is a given. They may decide (or will have decided) at some point today whether to take up a constitutional challenge to California's Proposition 8, the voter-approved ban keeping the state from recognizing gay marriage. They may also decide to take on one of several challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which prohibits the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage contracts from states where it is legal. Because it is taking several conferences for the Supreme Court to make any announcements regarding the cases before them, it seems likely they'll be taking up at least one of them. A DOMA case at least seems likely. If the case were about the federal government refusing to acknowledge state-stamped contracts in a matter that wasn't also a part of a current culture conflict, the constitutional concerns would be pretty clear.

Discussions about gay marriage among libertarians or libertarian-leaning conservatives tend to very, very quickly lead to a simple conclusion: "The government should get out of marriage entirely." While this is a compelling conclusion, it is important to recognize that it is indeed a conclusion, not an argument. Getting the government out of marriage is an outcome. But the observation does nothing about bringing our culture any closer to a point where marriage is actually a matter of private contract. In its activism in support of gay marriage recognition, the Human Rights Campaign identified 1,138 federal benefits, rights, and protections granted on the basis of marital status. That's just the federal stuff. State policies add even more. Getting the government out of marriage is not something that's just going to happen someday. Like libertarian arguments about shutting down various government bureaucracies, such as the Department of Education or the Environmental Protection Agency, it's going to take a lot of work.

There's a paradox here: The best way to create a framework that ultimately leads the government out of the marriage business is to open marriage up to more people. Opponents of gay marriage recognition are not arguing for smaller government; quite the opposite. The argument for keeping gay couples (and yes, polygamists of all orientations) from getting the same government recognition as monogamous heterosexuals is justified by conservative Nanny State arguments that we need government to make certain that humanity continues to procreate. There is, they claim, a legitimate state interest in making sure the human race does not die off.

Now, whether people who are presenting this argument legitimately believe gay marriage will somehow interfere with heterosexual procreation, or if they're actually trying to find some sort of scientific-sounding argument to justify a personal or religious discomfort with gay families, is worthy of note, but probably not relevant. This is the anti-recognition argument in play in the courts. Last week, Federal Judge Robert C. Jones stated as much in a ruling that Nevada could legally outlaw recognition of gay marriage in the state. He wrote in his ruling, "The perpetuation of the human race depends upon traditional procreation between men and women." Perhaps cognizant that there's little evidence that one's sexual orientation bears any correlation to one's access to marriage recognition, he took it further, explaining that recognizing gay marriage would cause heterosexuals to value the institution less and might "enter into it less frequently, opting for purely private ceremonies, if any, whether religious or secular, but in any case without civil sanction, because they no longer wish to be associated with the civil institution as redefined, leading to an increased percentage of out-of-wedlock children, single-parent families, difficulties in property disputes after the dissolution of what amount to common law marriages in a state where such marriages are not recognized, or other unforeseen consequences."

That is to say, Jones' fear is that if the government starts recognizing gay marriages, heterosexuals will realize they don't need the government to tell them how to have a family.

As an additional bonus, people will start spelling "hate" properly again.

Do libertarians need a better argument than that to support gay marriage recognition? How about those 1,138 benefits and protections the Human Rights Campaign mentions? There are 179 tax provisions that take marital status into account—everything from tax exemptions for health insurance contributions to tax credits for children. Opening up marriage highlights how much regulation the government's "stake" in overseeing our nation's breeding habits has brought forth. How many federal employees are responsible for overseeing the application of all these family-based regulations? How much money could we save if the government abandoned its role in determining what constitutes a family and the various subsidies and socially engineered regulations it has wrought?

Not that this is necessarily the goal of gay marriage proponents. Obviously, many of their arguments are for access to these same government benefits. And no doubt one of those "unforeseen consequences" would be the government burden that results from millions of Americans now qualifying for perks they didn't have access to before.

That should make the argument in favor of gay marriage recognition even more compelling to libertarians. If gay marriages end up damaging or breaking our labyrinthine tax code, we should be cheering it on. Choke on all those tax credits, Leviathan! Failing that, the more complex the tax code, the more unfair it is and the more it favors certain select classes. Even if the federal government can bear the burden of expanding the base of its benefits, at least the distribution will then be more evenly applied to the population.

Assuming the Supreme Court takes up a gay marriage case, rest assured whatever ruling opposes increased recognition will not be written with an eye on either increasing human liberty or reducing the scope of the government. The best way to show that the government's claim that family structures need to be regulated by the state is nonsense is to throw the doors wide open so everybody can see how silly it is.

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  1. Nice try, Scott, but somehow I doubt that when the side arguing that the state needs to recognize, validate, subsidize, and regulate their relationships with each other actually wins that argument, it will somehow undercut the notion that the state needs to recognize, validate, subsidize, and regulate relationships.

    And if you think that gay marriage (which will encompass, what, 3% of the population?) will be the straw that breaks the Total State’s back, well, good luck with that.

    1. And if you think that gay marriage (which will encompass, what, 3% of the population?) will be the straw that breaks the Total State’s back, well, good luck with that.
      That surely doesn’t prevent you from riding on the Total State’s back. Don’t tell me you don’t avail yourself of those subsidies at my expense as a taxpayer.

      1. What subsidies are those? To my knowledge, I take a sizable net loss vis a vis the government because I am married, due to the income tax marriage penalty. What financial benefits do I get?

        And, no, our married status won’t reduce our estate taxes, either. Everything is titled JTWROS, so I believe it will vest tax-free in the survivor, and would even if we weren’t married.

        1. So… you’re against state marriage, are penalized by it, but did it anyway?

          Wish I had the option of making such nonsensical choices.

          1. Wish I had the option of making such nonsensical choices.

            You’re still breathing, aren’t you?

            1. Heavily. I hope you guys enjoyed my birthday vacation.

          2. So… you’re against state marriage, are penalized by it, but did it anyway?

            Wish I had the option of making such nonsensical choices.

            1. Take two: fucked up the tags somehow, and it FUBARed my response:

              So… you’re against state marriage, are penalized by it, but did it anyway?

              Wish I had the option of making such nonsensical choices.

              It is not nonsensical to want to continue fucking the woman of your choice. Never wanting to marry is a dealbreaker for a lot of women.

          3. Well, there are also many benefits to it, too, which is probably what he was after even at the expense of the extra taxes. Hospital visits and inheritance and all that. Most importantly it puts you in a better position with having kids, both in written law and in the potential eyes of a judge should it ever fail and get to that point.

            As much as I think government should be out the marriage business, I’m also going to get a legal marriage when I get married. But I still want a prenup ideally that is FIRST a statement that we are married and that’s it, and cheating is wrong and cheating and divorce means you’re a bad parent etc. etc. etc. The stuff about no alimony will be put in severability clauses should the main, real-marriage stuff not be enforced by the judge.

            And I refuse to get a big wedding. I once read that people nowadays have huge weddings because they’re compensating for the fact that marriages don’t mean shit anymore (whether they realize it or not). Back in the day when a marriage was actually binding and meant something, people had small, quaint weddings. Hmmm… I guess I also want the quaintness is part of it.

        2. Oh, my dear! So, you don’t benefit from those subsidies. But the gays certainly will. Got it.

      2. Don’t tell me you don’t avail yourself of those subsidies at my expense as a taxpayer.

        Why would I lie to you?

        I didn’t make the laws, i just follow them. If you have a problem subsidizing my lifestyle – take it up with the legislature. But think that your subsidizing even more people will lead to your not subsidizing anyone is textbook underpants gnomes logic.

    2. no, but I am EXTREMELY resentful that people who get to fuck also get government privilege on top of getting to fuck.

      I didn’t choose to be single. The least you could do is treat me equally to married folks.

    3. So RC, you’re disagreeing with the idea that the more adults are able to legally marry the less government recognition of marriage will seem necessary?

  2. Two Rich Sommer impressionists got married? How cute!

  3. So we should try the Marxist method of getting rid of government, increase the extent and power of the state and then it will wither away? The whole “wither away” is unfortunately at the end and is very vague on how that occurs.

    1. Government should issue permits and licenses with no regard for the applicant’s gender, race, or sexual orientation.

      Equality before the law is an important libertarian value.

      1. True enough, Randian. I suggest a slightly different libertarian formulation:

        Government should issue permits and licenses only when necessary to protect the health and safety of the public, and should do so with no regard for the applicant’s gender, race, or sexual orientation.

        1. This is true, but that doesn’t mean it’s ok for them to discriminate when they don’t limit themselves to that

          1. RC’s formulation takes care of that I believe:

            Government…. should do so with no regard for the applicant’s gender, race, or sexual orientation.

          2. It’s not fair that only white folks get to own slaves. Niggers should be able to own slaves too! Do away with slavery you say? Impossible!

            1. Wow, this is probably the stupidest comment on the thread: comparing a desire to end discrimination in government-sanctioned marriage (as repugnant as I find the term “government-sanctioned marriage” to be) to a desire to own slaves? That’s pretty screwed up. Would you also have been against interracial marriage? After all, it’s only expanding government intervention in marriage.

              1. Either you’re against government intervention in marriage or you’re not. And if you’re against it, you’re against it in cases of interracial marriage as well as … outer … racial marriage.

  4. The government should get out of marriage entirely.

    1. Nooooo!!! Then how will people ever get married??

    2. That’s the libertarian position, but it won’t get you invited to all the cool cocktail parties, so of course Reason doesn’t support that….

      1. “Hurr! Cosmotarian! Cocktail party! Durr!”

      2. What are you talking about JeremyR?

        I see the government should get out of marriage argument frequently on Reason.

        Shackford’s piece here says that’s a good goal, it’s getting there that’s the issue.

        I think the piece makes perfect sense.

        And vg zaytsev below has a good point. If you oppose expansion of government benefits, start working to dismantle the benefits.

  5. Opponents of gay marriage recognition are not arguing for smaller government; quite the opposite. The argument for keeping gay couples (and yes, polygamists of all orientations) from getting the same government recognition as monogamous heterosexuals is justified by conservative Nanny State arguments that we need government to make certain that humanity continues to procreate. There is, they claim, a legitimate state interest in making sure the human race does not die off.

    That’s not the argument most opponents are making. You’re seizing on one silly judge’s argument and disposing of every opponent by arguing against it. That’s not quite a strawman, but it’s damn close.

    1. The arguments most opponents are making are worse– fuck those faggots and their buttseks.

      1. Yeah, but the first argument is just a front for the second, which is what they believe privately. So same deal.

        “If I sound real smart, maybe they won’t realize I’m a biggot.”

  6. And Shackford’s central theme rings hollow, because access to marriage has been expanded in the past… to people without permission of their parents; to interracial couples; etc, etc, and no signs appear that marriage is becoming less the business of the state due to those changes.

    1. That’s because they’re entirely separate causes. One is the cause of liberalization and equal rights, the other is the cause of dismantling the state. One has more support than the other, but they don’t have to be mutually exclusive.

  7. I want it known that I am for same-sex marriage equally as much as I am for any type of marriage (which is very little). I don’t understand why this issue gets so much weight but my parenthetical statement suggests why. I don’t think expanding state marriage benefits is a libertarian issue. I think reducing them to nil would be. Once again, I’m not saying support for same-sex marriage is wrong, just not libertarian.

    Marriage benefits are doled out because it’s believed the state needs to promote coupling up and creating families. Obviously, people will couple up and create families without these incentives.

    Marrige benefits are an exclusive club. Until you expand them to everyone, they will exclude people based on their actions or inactions. That’s unfair.

    Marriage benefits can effectively be had without marriage licensing.

    So, in conclusion, I don’t decry support for same-sex marriage or the government recognition thereof, but the latter is not a libertarian stance as it continues an inequitable system.

    1. Supporting equality in the way the government operates is libertarian, even if it’s in something we don’t think the government should be doing. If, for example, there was a bill presented that made it illegal for people of a certain race to get welfare benefits, would you support that, just because it would mean less welfare spending?

      1. Bad analogy. You speak of a violation of individuals’ rights.

        The only individuals who the govt prevents from obtaining a marriage license are people who are currently married. If you want to fight that fight on libertarian grounds, go ahead.

        1. And people whose future spouse does not have the opposite gender, or sufficiently diverse genetic makeup, or appropriate age.

          It’s like the government has banned apples and bananas and you’re arguing that no one’s right to eat fruit has been infringed. Freedom of choice is part of the right to eat fruit and the right to get married.

          1. That’s not entirely apt either, unless by banning you mean no longer giving people a nickel of taxpayer money each time they have an apple.

            If agents of the state were actively stopping or threatening to stop people from getting married, I would say that’s a libertarian issue. The solution of expanding an entitlement group just a little bit more might seem more equitable, especially if you’re one of the privileged ones already in the group or newly in the group, but it’s still an unjust system you’re participating in.

            1. I like the distinction you’re making between marriage as a private agreement and marriage as a legally licensed institution.

              But in practice, when it comes to things like adoption and custody agreements and power of attorney, the state effectively punishes a subset of married couples for having the wrong genitalia. It’s not just a matter of denying them taxpayer money. The state uses force to prevent same-sex couples from making the kinds of decisions straight couples make all the time.

        2. Seriously Tulpa, I’m not thrilled to say I’m actually agreeing with The Derider, but he does have a point. I’ll make the analogy more appropriate; If laws against interracial marriage were still in effect, would you oppose repealing them?

          1. If laws against interracial marriage were still in effect, would you oppose repealing them?

            More accurately: would he be in favor of ruling them unconstitutional?

    2. Marriage benefits are an exclusive club. Until you expand them to everyone, they will exclude people based on their actions or inactions. That’s unfair.

      /discussion

      For a libertarian, that should be the long and the short of it with no debate required.

      1. Not my favorite blanket statement ever.

        Discriminating on the basis of action or inaction makes plenty of sense and can be perfectly fair. I personally discriminate against child molesters and people who talk at the theater.

        1. Libertarians support discrimination by individuals but not by government.

  8. Gosh Scott, what part of we need more govt involvement is consistent with a generally libertarian outlook?

  9. In a hypothetical world where black students were barred by law from attending public school, would libertarians support ending the law?

    The responses here indicate many would not, as this would result in an expansion of the state.

    1. They’d probably be better off.

      But this is a bad analogy, as you’re talking about indivduals being discriminated against. Except for those already married, no one in the US is prohibited from getting married under current law.

      1. First, I’m glad you were honest in your support of segregation, but I’ll make the analogy better.

        Would libertarians be in favor of repealing anti-miscegenation laws, even though that would entail an expansion of the state to the marriages of interracial couples?

        This thread makes me think many would not.

        Also, if I prohibit you from marrying a person you want to marry, that’s clearly a prohibition on getting married.

        1. It’s a prohibition on the state giving benefits to more people. The goal here is to starve the beast or drown it in a bathtub. That requires persistence.

  10. What do you mean, “no strategy?”

    Every time I say that to anyone, I say, “civil unions for everyone who wants them, gender-blind contracts. Let churches or whatever other institutions want ‘marriages’ do whatever they want.”

    There’s a strategy. There is no state institution called “marriage,” and there are no restrictions on civil unions.

    And I say that to anyone who will listen.

    1. I think he meant a strategy for how to make it happen, not what it would look like.

  11. Now we’re talking! Here’s my old post from 7 years ago griping about marriage subsidies: http://dailydocket.blogspot.co…..riage.html

  12. same-sex marriage contracts

    For the thousandth time, marriage is not a contract.

    1. Why couldn’t it be?

      The history of marriage is basically to solve a question of survivorship.

      The partner that lives longer assumes control of the assets (of course sometime since, someone thought a death tax was a good idea.)

      When both partners are gone, the offspring assume control of the assents (again death tax for some reason?)

      There is nothing that the state institution of marriage protects that can’t also be protected in a contract.

      The question is should the government subsidize procreation, by only offering benefits to straight marrieds with kids?(My answer, “Hell, no!”)

    2. Let’s see, I won’t sleep with anyone else, I’ll raise the kids, help you out with stuff, cohabitate with you to save money (along with the the cuddling/sex bennies), etc. etc. as long as you do the same for me?

      Gee, sounds like a contract to me.

      And given it’s importance, why shouldn’t it be MORE binding than stuff like rental contracts? That freaking rental contracts are more serious a matter than marriage in our society is pathetic.

      The only downside is that the penalties for fault could be very onerous and follow you for a long time/life time. There are simple solutions to this – like make divorce always an option but monthly monetary penalties enforceable as per the pre-nup. $300-$500 a month would not be unconcsionable, given the unavoidable nature of contracts and their basis in CONSENT. You CONSENT to it, we’re going to hold you to it.

      We’ll send people to rape-stab town (prison) for not paying economic debts, but god forbid we actually penalize a woman or man even in the lsightest for sleeping around, not sleeping with their spouse, or just being too selfish to handle marriage. Noooo…. that would be too “harsh”.

  13. In its activism in support of gay marriage recognition, the Human Rights Campaign identified 1,138 federal benefits, rights, and protections granted on the basis of marital status. That’s just the federal stuff. State policies add even more. Getting the government out of marriage is not something that’s just going to happen someday. Like libertarian arguments about shutting down various government bureaucracies, such as the Department of Education or the Environmental Protection Agency, it’s going to take a lot of work.

    So get started on it. Start dismatling thoses 1,138 benefits one at a time.

    The approach you are advocating is like saying that giving food stamps to everyone will somehow lead to the end of the welfare state.

    1. I would agree that gay marriage isn’t going to make it significantly more likely that the government will get out of marriage in the future (though I don’t think it makes it significantly less likely either), but that doesn’t mean that the government shouldn’t discriminate if they are going to be give out marriage licenses

    2. This 100%, dismantle the rights, then it matters less what the state thinks of marriage.

      That’s the way it ought to be.

  14. the article makes the correct point i think

    GIVEN (Stipulated) that govt. should nto be in in the marriage business, but given that it IS, libertarians should support same sex marriage. yes, that means a (small) expansion of the state mechanism, but it’s analogous to any area where the govt. should not be in it, but given that it is , we want to see equality of treatment, even if that means more of that program.

    or at least i do.

    shrinking a govt. program is a good, but shrinking it (or failing to let it grow to include gays) by the MEANS of discrimination is wrong, imo. even if the end – smaller program is a “good”, the MEANS – discrimination of an unjust nature – is not, and that trumps imo

    1. Until no benefit is extended to a married person that is not also extended to an unmarried person, the institution is inherently discriminatory. Expanding it by 1 factor doesn’t make it any appreciable amount less discriminatory. If we were talking about making a discriminatory institution non-discriminatory you’d have a point, but that’s not what’s going on by saying “Okay, we’re still going to dole out 1200-odd benefits only to certain people in certain kinds of relationships, but the gays can get in on the action too”.

      1. And exactly the same argument applies to interracial marriages.

  15. I’m not sure I see the paradox given here as all that big a consideration. “Resulting size of government” is important, but it doesnt always have to be the prevailing criteria for every issue. For same-sex marriage issues, the more primary factor for me is “equal treatment”.

    Yes, government shouldnt be in the marriage business and offering special benefits and subsidies to couples who sign up for that contract recognition.

    But, as long as they “are” in the marriage business, they should offer it to all couples who show up and request it, regardless of irrelevant factors like race or gender. That’s simply equal consideration.

    If they’re gonna offer goodies (even though they shouldnt be)… they have to offer those goodies to everyone unless they have a compelling reason to make a distinction among citizens. I have yet to see a secular, compelling reason for the government to distinguish between heterosexual or homosexual couples (including the various absurd procreation arguments).

    1. But, as long as they “are” in the marriage business, they should offer it to all couples who show up and request it

      Gay marriage is recognized nationally and states are compelled by the federal government to offer their marriage licenses to homosexual couples (Libertopia at last!). 1st cousins, both male, arrive at the court house to be married. They are turned away. A man and woman arrive at the court house to be married. The man is already married to a different woman in another state. They are turned away. A single person arrives at the court house to marry himself in order to obtain the same benefits that his married friends are getting. He is turned away.

      You could, I suppose, lobby for yet another 50 years trying to get equal marriage rights for close relatives, polygamists and single people and actually achieve equal treatment under the law. OR, you could just make a lobbying effort here and now to end the entire institution and have equality for everyone at one time without any intermediate bullshit.

      If they’re gonna offer goodies (even though they shouldnt be)… they have to offer those goodies to everyone

      Like they do with, say, food stamps, drivers licenses, and tax credits?

      1. Based solely on my limited understanding of those categories.. there are valid, compelling reasons for “the state” to make distinctions about those types of applicants. If it turns out those arguments are false or no longer hold water and there’s really no valid, secular reason to limit marriage licenses to simply “couples”, then I have no problem with extending such benefits/recognition. Maybe at that point the paradox from this article becomes more relevant.

        But, same-sex couples are the group currently under consideration and there doesnt seem to exist a reason to deny them, so I see no reason to move the currently discriminatory bar up a notch to include homosexual couples. I dont think it’s OK to sanction unfair discrimination against one group of citizens simply because you’re worried that treating them equally might force the state to treat other groups equally.

        Like they do with, say, food stamps, drivers licenses, and tax credits?

        I’m not aware of those benefits being denied to anyone arbitrarily. I’m not saying government must never make distinctions at all. That’s not “equal treatment”. I’m saying if they do make distinctions, they need a reason to do so, and I see no reason they should treat homosexual and heterosexual couples differently.

  16. So this means we should centrally plan our roads for bicycles, and rickshaws, and skateboards, and razor scooters, and Segways. We need transportation equality for all! That’s a great libertarian argument.

    At this point, the state isn’t going to shrink unless it collapses. Enjoy the decline!

    1. A big whole in your moronic rebuttal: bicycles, rickshaws, etc, AREN’T PEOPLE.

      1. Okay, so change that to: *skateboarders *scooter riders *Segway operators *rickshaw haulers. Now we’re talking about people. Does it make more sense?

        1. No, you’re still retarded. Are skateboard/scooter/segway/etc. riders a particular class of people? You’re still not talking about the people at all, just trying to define them by what they own. Skin color, whether it’s considered “race” or not, is an inherent characteristic of people. Discriminating on inherent traits such as sex, appearance, etc, isn’t something government should be able to do at all. The type of conveyance used, however, has nothing to do with any of that.

          1. Sexual orientation is a personal characteristic of people as well. Not sure how I missed putting that in there, since that’s what we’re talking about.

  17. Yaaaawwwwnnnnn

  18. Well now that makes a lot of sesne.

    http://www.AnonTyme.tk

  19. It’s not just about tax breaks and government subsidies.

    An SSM license from the govt, in practice, means a license to bully private businesses, churches, etc. which don’t recognize your “marriage.” It’s a government-issued bludgeon with which you can demand that wedding photographers take your picture, marriage chapels rent to your wedding party, employers give you marital benefits etc.

    I am not speaking theoretically, but about things which have actually happened.

    Curiously enough, the converse *doesn’t* happen under the opposite-sex-only regime. Wedding chapels are free to rent to same-sex wedding parties, wedding photographers are free to photograph same-sex weddings, and employers are free to extend benefits to same-sex partners, even though the government doesn’t recognize SSM.

    So we’re comparing a regime which is tolerant of private busiensses, churches, etc. and lets them define marriage how they wish, while the government issues licenses only to opposite-sex couples, to a regime in which the government licenses SSM couples and then demands that private institutions fall in line and endorse the government’s definition.

    There is no moral equivalence. The opposite-sex-only regime is more tolerant and libertarian than the SSM regime.

    1. Wedding chapels are free to rent to same-sex wedding parties, wedding photographers are free to photograph same-sex weddings, and employers are free to extend benefits to same-sex partners, even though the government doesn’t recognize SSM.

      This happens under both “regimes”. That those private acts of discrimination werent allowed is a different issue than government’s discriminatory decisions.

      “Government” should not discriminate against citizens arbitrarily, without cause. That’s what denying SSM licenses entails. Additionally, private individuals should be able to also discriminate however they wish, including photographing/not photographing SSM ceremonies, rent/not rent private property for such ceremonies, etc.

      Discrimination exists, sure… it most certainly shouldnt be conducted by “the state”, but such stupid, hateful behavior is certainly permissible by individuals.

      1. I think you mean “*should* be permissible.” There are plenty of cases today where it’s *not* permitted. The more a state allows SSM, the more it restricts these private activities.

        1. Disparate impact? I’m not aware of any photographers who would refuse to photograph an icky, godless straight wedding.

  20. There are a few ambiguous issues which need tot be clarified for this argument to continue:

    1. Are libertarians for equal government treatment in everything the government does, or just equal treatment in what libertarians think the government should be doing?

    2. Is a tax break equivalent to a subsidy? And should libertarians be against tax breaks as if they are the same thing as the government handing someone your money?

    1. 1. Good question. I would lean towards tha former, maybe more out of compassion than rigid libertarian principle. But also, maybe when providing equal treatment proves impossible, people will realize that some of these things should not be the business of govt. I guess that’s what the article is arguing, although in the gay marriage case I don’t find it all that compelling.

      2. Yes in that it incentivizes certain behavior over others by effectively charging less for favored behavior.

  21. WHY DO I HAVE TO SUPPORT ANY SIDE OF THIS BULLSHIT ISSUE?! Can’t I just be apathetic and focus on the real issues: ending the wars, restoring the 4th, 5th and 6th Amendments, and promoting the free market. Do I have to tell people “I support same sex marriage” even when all I really want is the earth to swallow every government building during a workday. Why do I have to change my message or priorities to just make some people feel better. Fuck those statist fucks.

  22. “If the case were about the federal government refusing to acknowledge state-stamped contracts in a matter that wasn’t also a part of a current culture conflict, the constitutional concerns would be pretty clear.”

    Such as, e.g., gold clauses?

  23. Shackford might have made his case stronger in his article if he had managed to talk about the history of marriage laws in the U.S. It could be argued that such laws only came about because some groups in the U.S. wanted to reduce others in status to second class citizens. For example, at one time, women could hold property only if they were married and the husband gave his permission. The defenders of “traditional” marriage seem to hold the idea that only those who procreate in a monogamous relationship have first class citizenship status.

  24. My first Reason comment:

    I want to ask a question about Jones’ assertion that “The perpetuation of the human race depends upon traditional procreation between men and women.”

    Why does nobody ask a question about why the government ought to have stake in procreation?

    I think about this question a lot and I have a disturbing answer. It is in the government’s interest because the government will need as many taxpayers as possible to pay for the debts of this generation. We can breed our way out of debt!

    It’s really disgusting when you think about it.

    1. People say this. Out loud.

      Ross Douthat, for instance, regards children as a collective resource.

      1. Thanks for sharing.

        So sad, this is acceptable.

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