Gay Marriage

Let’s Divorce Marriage from the Government

Government neutrality is the best way to ensure fairness and social peace.

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As a kid, I remember watching a rerun of the 1952 I Love Lucy Show episode in which Lucy finds her marriage license while cleaning out a closet. She discovers, to her horror, a typo that refers to husband Ricky's last name as Bacardi rather than Ricardo, which causes her to question the legality of her marriage.

The ensuing hijinks are the makings of sitcom legend. I've thought about that episode in the years in which the contentious battle over gay marriage has unfolded, as it touches on a key part of the public-policy question embodied in the Supreme Court's two big decisions this week. How important is the approval of the state—epitomized by the marriage license—in sanctioning a marriage?

In 2013 rather than the 1950s, a technical error on a marriage certificate wouldn't cause anyone consternation. But let's say, for some reason or another, the government invalidated my marriage. Would it matter?

Not really. Marriage is primarily a pact between two people and, in the view of many, a sacrament of the church. The state merely recognizes this contract. If, say, a totalitarian government (think the Khmer Rouge or others like them that have meddled in such things) dissolved my marriage, my wife and I would still be married. The state could make our lives miserable, but it couldn't end our marriage.

Yet that point seems lost these days. The public battles involve two sides who see the government as the means to legitimize their viewpoints. One side says gay marriage is wrong and the other says that it is the same as any other marriage. The two sides will never see eye to eye.

The governmental "benefits" at the heart of many of the gay-marriage battles are mostly rhetorical window-dressing. The state shouldn't be handing out many privileges or payments and to whatever degree issues involving hospital visitation and inheritances are an issue, their terms and conditions can easily be worked out without a cultural war over the meaning of "marriage."

Unfortunately, the court's meddling has ensured that such a battle will keep going.

I'm not unsympathetic to the high court's 5-4 decision to overturn most of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, designed specifically to deny governmental benefits to gay couples and to allow states to refuse recognition of gay marriages from other states. If the government gives out stuff, it's reasonable to insist that it give it out in the most fair-minded basis.

The majority's rhetoric reflects its desire to take a noble stand in this cultural divide. The court's dissenters were right that the majority opinion was overheated. But at least the decision made some legal sense. "The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and injure those whom the state, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority.

By contrast, the court's decision (actually, a non-decision) on California's Prop. 8 seemed lifted out of "Alice in Wonderland." In 2008, voters approved this constitutional ban on gay marriage. Jerry Brown as attorney general and now governor opposed it, so he refused to defend it against court challenges. The Supremes refused to rule on the merits of the statute because its defenders didn't have "standing." Only the state government apparently had such standing—but that government refused to do its duty.

As National Review's Hadley Arkes put it, "If the state has a Democratic governor … he may declare now that he will not enforce the constitutional amendment, for he thinks it runs counter to the federal Constitution." The meaning is even broader and more disturbing than that. Top officials of all parties now have de facto veto power over all voter initiatives. They simply need not defend in court any initiative they don't like and there is no one else the high court will allow to defend it. That's an anti-democratic precedent.

There's no doubt the courts, legislatures, and public opinion are moving in a pro-gay-marriage direction. Time magazine was right to declare this "one of the fastest civil rights shifts in the nation's history." The culture has shifted. That part doesn't bother me. I have no problem with gay people getting married. But it disturbs me when the battles are fought in the political system rather than in the cultural arena. Both sides are responsible for the over-politicization of this personal and cultural matter, by the way.

The best solution always has been the separation of marriage and state. If my priest decides to marry gay people, then my fellow parishioners would have every right to be upset about that based on their cultural traditions and understanding of Scripture. If your pastor wants to marry gay people, then it's none of my business. The terms of marriage should be decided by religious and other private organizations, and the state shouldn't intervene short of a compelling reason (i.e., marriage by force or with children).

Liberals were more open to this "separation" idea back when conservative pro-family types were ascendant. Now, some conservatives are understanding its merits as a more liberal view is ascendant. Conservatives should have listened when they had some bargaining power, but everyone wants to impose their values on others by using government.

Government neutrality—or the closest we can get to it—is the best way to ensure fairness and social peace on this and most other social issues. Marriage is too important of an institution to be dependent on the wiles of the state. Do we really care if the state validates our marriage licenses?

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304 responses to “Let’s Divorce Marriage from the Government

  1. Inconceivable!

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  2. Do we really care if the state validates our marriage licenses?

    If it’s not validated by the state, how can it exist?

    1. State doesnt validate them, they issue them, which is even worse.

    2. That is just it. Of course it does. So why go and validate it at all? There is nothing to stopping you right now from getting married and never telling the state about it.

      1. Unless you answer your tax form honestly.

        1. Or you married a foreign national who wants a green card.

        2. Why on earth would anyone do that?

          1. Penalty of perjury?

  3. But if that happens, the only possible outcome for widows will be suttee.

    1. +1 Sir Napier

  4. The terms of marriage should be decided by religious and other private organizations, and the state shouldn’t intervene short of a compelling reason (i.e., marriage by force or with children).

    So the state shouldn’t be involved with marriage except when it should be. Ahh okay.

    The state doesn’t have to be involved with your marriage right now. Cohabitation is no longer illegal. If you don’t want the state to be involved with your marriage, don’t get a marriage license and don’t run to court when you decide to call it quits. That is not hard.

    All family law is is a set of default rules so people don’t have to write long contracts when they get married. If you got rid of that, people would just write their own contracts. That sounds great except that, some people would forget to or write vague contracts or the ones they wrote wouldn’t be valid or get lost for some reason and courts would end up creating a body of default laws for marriages. And we would be right back where we are now.

    The most you can say is that people should have the freedom to contract out of family law. If two people want to get married and not be subject to say alimony or forced share of property division if they ever divorce, they should be able to do that. And I would agree with you on that. But that is hardly getting the “government out of marriage”.

    1. don’t get a marriage license and don’t run to court when you decide to call it quits.

      But the courts are legitimate place to settle contract disputes.

      That is the one thing the states should be doing wrt marriage.

      1. But the courts are legitimate place to settle contract disputes.

        Then write a contract. There is nothing stopping you. But when you run to court to settle a dispute about that contract, don’t tell me how you want the government “out of marriage” because you clearly don’t.

        Beyond that, what is stopping you from never getting a marriage license and writing your own contract? Really the only thing that is are the common law marriage and the palimony laws. And if you want to kill those I am fine with that.

        But if we do that, what do you care if other people choose to get the piece of paper from the government? It seems to me the bitch here is not that you have to be involved with the government. It is that Libertarians can’t stand the idea that other people might like the piece of paper from the government for some reason.

        1. There is nothing stopping you.

          Bullshit. Try writing a marriage contract that doesnt allow for no-fault divorce.

          1. Again, then the debate is with how the divorce laws are written. Saying, you can opt out of the divorce laws is not “getting the government out of marriage”.

            And sure you should be able to. Just other people should be able to avail themselves of the law. We do that to a large extent via prenups.

            But understand, you can’t do that primarily because of feminists. It is not the SOCONS who would object to allowing for people to contract out of the default marriage laws. It is the feminists who would. They have basically made those laws another tool in the war on men.

            1. Ive been trying for 23 years to convince socons of my position.

              If they had listened to me in 1990, this whole stuff could have been avoided.

            2. you can’t do that primarily because of feminists. It is not the SOCONS

              Where the fuck does that come from?

              I dont care who is blocking, I just want to overrule them. You trying to make this some culture war bullshit is completely missing the picture of who you are talking to.

              This is me, robc, the token southern baptist on this site. I hang with SoCons on a regular basis, Im much closer to them lifestyle wise than to most of you. Heck, Im more prudish than most baptists.

              1. Rob,

                This is not a government issue. All you really want is a chance to opt out of the default set of marriage rules. And you should be able to do that. But that is in no way getting the government out of marriage. This whole thing is taking what should be a meaningful debate about the nature of family law in this country and making it a retarded debate about “getting the government out of marriage”.

                1. No, I dont want to opt out. Well, I do, but I generally can (with notable exceptions).

                  I want to end marriage licensing.

                  This is 100% a government issue for me.

                  1. Basically rob you are pissed off that people are doing things you don’t like and you want them to stop it.

                    1. No, the government is doing things I dont like and I want them to stop.

                      The people are fine.

                    2. Jesus fuck John. This is pretty retarded even for you. You’re into Tony “non-use of force is force!” territory. That contracts have to be enforced through courts run by the state (although ancaps might disagree with you there) does not invalidate the premise of “getting government out of marriage”, anymore than the enforcement of business contracts by state-run courts invalidates “getting government out of business”. Also, making marriage into a private arrangement would still allow all of those who prefer the current clusterfuck of an abortion that is our marriage/family law to avail themselves of it. Not forcing everyone into the same contract is not the same as forcing everyone into the same contract. Not forcing != forcing. Do you fucking get that? It’s something both you and Tony really need to go noodle with for a while, because it gets more and more retarded every time you say it.

        2. I dont want the government granting special rights or privileges to people. Period.

          Plus, you know, 1st amendment violation.

          And try answering the questions on your tax form honestly.

          1. Other than immigration, there isn’t a single privilege that comes with marriage beyond getting fucked up the ass on your taxes. The “privileges” of marriage is nothing but a bunch of bullshit people invented because they wanted to use gay marriage as a weapon in the culture war.

            1. getting fucked up the ass

              Some people are into that kind of thing, see the other thread.

            2. Try over-ruling your lover’s mom when your lover is non-responsive at the hospital, even if you have medical POA and see what the hospital staff does. Try withdrawing ANY money from a joint bank acoount when your lover dies unexpectedly. In both cases, the institution is going to “play it safe” and deny you spousal privileges.

              1. Try getting a medical power of attorney or a living will Brett. Basically your bitch is that the government won’t step in and save you from your mistake of not making a living will.

                But you are the one that wants the government out of marriage. Got it.

              2. I think it is the power of attorney or something that allows a person to handle all transactions once a person dies or is incapacitated. You can give that to anybody you chose without being married to them.

            3. Some people benefit on their taxes from being married, some don’t. Tax law favors single income marriages over double income marriages. That’s the whole reason people file jointly.

              I think I would say that we need to get the FEDERAL gov’t out of marriage. Meanwhile I will be arguing to get my specific STATE gov’t out of marriage as well. I’d rather have everyone writing their own contracts personally.

              1. I’d rather have everyone writing their own contracts personally.

                You do understand what a massive cluster fuck that would be don’t you? And you also understand that no one would want to do that and most people wouldn’t bother and would end up with invalid marriages in court? Signing and having an enforceable contract is not as easy as you think it is.

                1. An unenforceable contract doesnt make the marriage invalid.

                2. Instead, there’d be businesses selling standard legal forms and some offering counseling on the matter. That still doesn’t get gov’t out of marriage, of course, as long as gov’t courts ever have cases turning on whether someone is married.

                  “Getting gov’t out of marriage” is like saying “getting gov’t out of inheritance” or “getting gov’t out of real property title matters”.

                3. Yeah, I mean, holy shit, how could people ever handle the complexities of writing their own rules and contracts. It’s not like there’s entire goddamn law firms who specialize in that kind of thing today, vis-a-vis the always-clear-and-straightforward field of, say, corporate law. That could only work in regard to the division of assets and responsibilities among thousands of shareholders. It wouldn’t be practicable between 2 people…

            4. John,

              There are currently over 1100 benefits given ONLY to married people. That is privilege denied to all others by the government.

              1. c5c5 you are absolutely right … benefits that should be attainable without making the government govern a religious institution. That is after all the difference between a marriage and a civil union – one is understood as originating from God. If God and State are separate than State has no business administrating marriage. It should be illegal for the govt to administer in religious matters.

        3. John you’re being particularly coherent today.

          Indeed, when does “marriage privatization” (whatever that could possibly mean) ever come up, except in the context of gay marriage politics?

          It’s an important insight that standard marriage contracts are merely a convenience there to deal with a very common human practice. Without them, there would be even more government hassle involved with marriage, since all contracts would be drawn up anew.

          It’s the same thing with libertarian solutions for other things, like pollution and property rights. They want smaller government, yet they don’t realize that regulating pollution before the harm is done necessitates a much smaller bureaucracy than for dealing with millions of individual torts after the fact.

          1. This Tony is why state marriage is not necessarily a good deal for gays beyond immigration. Right now gays have the freedom to contract out of marriage laws. If gay marriage is illegal, you can’t ever have a court rule you and your gay lover are in a common law marriage. So you are in no danger of ever having the family laws apply to you.

            That then allows you make your own arrangements and contracts without them being imposed from above by the government. That is not a bad thing.

            The other interesting thing about legalized gay marriage is custody and child support. Without legalized gay marriage, if a gay couple has a child, only one of them is ever on the hook for support. In lesbian couples this is a real issue. The partner that has the kid is the kid’s mother. The partner that doesn’t, has no legal ties to the child and can walk off and never pay a dime.

            1. I think marriage is dumb, but if there were a law that said straight people were allowed to sign waivers to appear on a stupid reality show but gays weren’t, I’d be in favor of making a change in favor of equality there too.

          2. Tony:
            “Without them, there would be even more government hassle involved with marriage, since all contracts would be drawn up anew.”

            Life is so much simpler when government takes your choices away. And by definition, simpler = better. Thinking anything else fails to consider the complexities of the world, which progressives master. The world is complicated, so we better force everyone to do everything one way. That’s logic.

            1. Life is so much simpler when government takes your choices away.

              I know. As if “privitized” marriage wouldn’t end up being a few standard contracts that 99% of people use. The point is that they have the option, whether they choose to exercise it.

              1. They have that exact option now. I don’t see how your change makes government involved any less.

                1. They have that exact option now.

                  Actually, no, they don’t. You can’t opt out of significant portions of marriage/family law if a court decides you are married. Going to a court to enforce your contract is not the same “government involvement” as having the terms of the only available “contract” dictated to you by the state. See how one involves the state forcing you to do something, while the other doesn’t? Not using force still != using force. You’re going to have to come up with a new shtick.

              2. If marriage was privatized, Legal Zoom or some other website would have auto-generating contracts based on your responses to a questionnaire up within a week, max.

          3. John you’re being particularly coherent today.

            This should be your first clue that you have your head stuffed firmly up your ass.

        4. “Then write a contract. There is nothing stopping you. But when you run to court to settle a dispute about that contract, don’t tell me how you want the government “out of marriage” because you clearly don’t.”

          Except this argument strikes me as a bit disingenuous, John. The government’s role in enforcing contract law is hardly the same as it’s role in enforcing marriage laws. In the former, it’s largely acting as a neutral arbiter. In the latter, it’s acting as a participant in the system. If you had an umpire in a baseball game that was catching and throwing balls, it would hardly be a misnomer to say “get the umpire out of the game” to mean have him return to his role as neutral arbiter.

    2. All family law is is a set of default rules so people don’t have to write long contracts when they get married. If you got rid of that, people would just write their own contracts. That sounds great except that, some people would forget to or write vague contracts or the ones they wrote wouldn’t be valid or get lost for some reason and courts would end up creating a body of default laws for marriages. And we would be right back where we are now.

      No fault divorce laws arent about creating default rules, they are about overwriting contracts previous agreed to.

      We wouldnt be right back where we are now. Nothing wrong with having some common law deciding things when contracts are vague or invalid. it works for the rest of contract law, why not marriage contracts?

      Common law would be a big improvement over current marriage law.

      1. If you want to have a debate about the wisdom of no fault divorce laws, fine. But changing the divorce laws is not getting the government out of marriage. The whole subject is one giant misnomer.

        1. Ive never said “get the government out of marriage”. I have always said it as “end state marriage licensing”.

          If Ive said the 1st it was short for the second.

          Separation of church and state doesnt prevent churches from being sued and/or suing.

          Separation of school and state doesnet prevent schools from being sued and/or suing.

          Separation of marriage and state doesnt prevent lawsuits over the marriage contract.

          1. Ive never said “get the government out of marriage”. I have always said it as “end state marriage licensing”.

            Why would you want that? Some people like the family law as it is and want to avail themselves of it. Should you be able to be married without a license and contract yourself out of the default laws? Absolutely. But fuck you if you think that you should be able to deprive other people of a system and a set of rules they like.

            This whole thing is an example of how Libertarians become culture warriors and the same kind of authoritarian fucks SOCONS and liberals often are.

            1. They can keep the same set of rules. Download default contracts from the internet.

              This system worked perfectly for most of history. Then the Italians and the Germans fucked it up.

              I blame Luther. Generally Im pro-luther, but he fucked up marriage bad.

              1. They can keep the same rules as long as they do it like you want them to. Got it. Allowing you to opt out of the system is just not good enough. Everyone else must fall in line.

                The culture war does terrible things to people.

                1. They can keep the same rules as long as they do it like you want them to. Got it.

                  Yeah, making people actually think for themselves instead of creating an entire bureaucracy that the rest of us have to “opt out” of. The horror.

                  The culture war does terrible things to people.

                  QED, John.

            2. What is authoritarian about eliminating marriage licenses?

              It eliminates one authority.

            3. Some people like the family law as it is and want to avail themselves of it. Should you be able to be married without a license and contract yourself out of the default laws? Absolutely. But fuck you if you think that you should be able to deprive other people of a system and a set of rules they like.

              Some people like the SNAP program as it is. Some people like SS as it is. Some people like Medicare as it is.

              If you want a “standard” marriage contract as offered now by the government, you can go to your local place of worship. If you have no place of worship, I’d be glad to give you a “trshmnstr licit” marriage for a low one-time fee, and hold onto your marriage contract in case of divorce.

              It’s amazing how the free market works!

              1. If you want a “standard” marriage contract as offered now by the government, you can go to your local place of worship

                This.

                In fact, I bet most places of worship would require certain terms to be included before they perform the ceremony. I know mine would. My church has requirements now that lead lots of members to get married elsewhere.

        2. I think you are being hyper-pedantic over semantics here.

          And coming from me, that is bad.

        3. ” But changing the divorce laws is not getting the government out of marriage.”

          But REMOVING divorce laws is. Removing the governmment from the very issue of marriage and divorce is most definitely not going to increase govt involvement in marriage and divorce.

          1. Please explain how you could “remove” divorce laws.

            1. Introduce a bill (or referendum, at the state level) declaring all previous laws regulating divorce null and void. Same way you “remove” any other law. Dissolving a contract or partnership in any other area of law doesn’t require an entire stack of set-aside laws, does it?

              1. “All previous laws” meaning statutes? Or all case law as precedent?

                I think you’re being ridiculously naive here. Dissolving contracts in any other area of law may not exactly require, but certainly does benefit from, reams of case law, as well as a little statutory law. It helps when people have some idea of the legal system they’re under, so they can make good contracts to begin with. What you want to do, erase everything?

    3. If two people want to get married and not be subject to say alimony or forced share of property division if they ever divorce, they should be able to do that.

      Isn’t that basically what a pre-nup is?

      1. Pretty much.

      2. Yeah, but try writing a prenup that says, “If we have any kids, they are yours if we divorce, and I’m not paying child support.”

    4. “So the state shouldn’t be involved with marriage except when it should be.”

      Of course. For inclusive definitions of the set “when it should be,” literally everyone believes this.

      Those examples of acceptable intervention are no more state involvement in marriage than a ban on beating your wife would be.

      1. Assault is already illegal in every jurisdiction I’m aware of, it doesn’t matter if it’s your wife or your gardener you’re beating.

    5. “All family law is is a set of default rules so people don’t have to write long contracts when they get married. If you got rid of that, people would just write their own contracts. That sounds great except that, some people would forget to or write vague contracts or the ones they wrote wouldn’t be valid or get lost for some reason…”

      Egads, people having to exercise responsibility for their choices? Say it ain’t so!

  5. We need the magic piece of paper with the state seal on the bottom. All of those stories of couples who have been together for decades without it are just fabrications of the liberal media, as are all of those stories of legally recognized marriages that fall apart almost immediately. Also, if we just let people draw up contracts instead of the magic piece of paper, we’ll open the door to letting people decide their own arrangements on other matters, and we can’t have that.

    1. We need the magic piece of paper with the state seal on the bottom.

      That is what is funny. No one has ever said that. Sure they are married. Who says they are not? The government? Sure but so what. That only matters if you want something from the government. And if you want something from the government because you are married, how can you bitch and moan about the government being involved in marriage?

      The issue of those people not having a piece of paper only becomes an issue if they divorce and go to court. Then of course they want the court to recognize their marriage. And of course the court does via palimony or common law marriage no paper required.

      So I am not seeing the problem here.

      1. Violation of 1st amendment is a big problem.

        1. What are you talking about? Who violated the 1st Amendment? For 100th time, cohabitation is not illegal and can’t be. You don’t have to be legally married to live as a married couple and call yourself married.

          1. Marriage licensing is a violation of 1st amendment freedom of religion.

            1. Marriage licensing is a violation of 1st amendment freedom of religion.

              No it is not. That is ridiculous. If getting one violates your religion, don’t get one and have a common law marriage.

              1. No, it is the government denying the license to a couple (or whatever) that God has brought together that is the violation.

                Marriage licenses are in contradiction with Matthew 19:4-6.

            2. I’m not following this comment robc. Could you elaborate please? Thank you.

              1. Sorry that comment wasn’t there when I asked for clarification.

                1. Once we are this deep, you should quote so its obvious which you are referring to.

                  1. Says the guy who failed to do it twice in a row now.

            3. “Marriage licensing is a violation of 1st amendment freedom of religion.”

              No it’s not. As I said (possibly too late) the other day, religious marriages are unaffected by civil licensing. Nothing stops a priest from joining seven people together in marriage according to his doctrine. The only thing that won’t happen is that he won’t be acting as a deputy of the state in parallel with his ecclesiastical duties.

              That’s why at a typical church wedding you hear something like “…by the power vested in me by the blankety-blank church and the state of whatever…” The officiant there is usually wearing two hats. All civil regulation of marriage does is set rules for wearing one of those hats.

              1. Nothing stops a priest from joining seven people together in marriage according to his doctrine. The only thing that won’t happen is that he won’t be acting as a deputy of the state in parallel with his ecclesiastical duties.

                In some states, I believe the former would cost him his ability to do the latter.

                And as I mentioned above, what happens when those 7 people refuse to commit perjury on their income tax forms?

                1. “‘The only thing that won’t happen is that he won’t be acting as a deputy of the state in parallel with his ecclesiastical duties.’

                  In some states, I believe the former would cost him his ability to do the latter.”

                  Are you saying that there are states that prohibit clerics from performing marriage ceremonies if the marriages are not in accordance with state law? That would be a 1A violation, but I don’t think that exists. I’m saying that a priest is free to perform any ceremony his doctrine permits, but those words place no obligation on anyone else.

                  In a sane world, the tax issue would be dealt with by clarifying on the form that “married” for the purposes of taxes means “part of a marriage in accordance with the civil laws of your jurisdiction.” Then the polygamous family can check “no” truthfully. At worst the auditor can explain to them what married means to the IRS and give them the chance to amend their filing.

                  1. Are you saying that there are states that prohibit clerics from performing marriage ceremonies if the marriages are not in accordance with state law?

                    Yes.

                    That would be a 1A violation

                    Duh.

                    If I understood my uncle correctly, who was both a minister and is now dead, that is the case. Now I may be nit-picking it here, but I know he specifically mentioned losing the ability to perform civil ceremonies if he failed to file the marriage paperwork in a timely manner. I would say not filing it at all would be in an untimely manner.

                    1. I would think that deadline would apply only to cases where a civil marriage is actually intended. If there is no civil marriage there is no paperwork to file (with the state, anyway).

                    2. Like I said, I was probably nit-picking.

                      But I remember some case of a minister losing his “license” for doing polygamous marriages. But in that case, he may have been filing the paperwork.

                    3. Irregardless, I think states refusing to give marriage licenses to anyone God has brought together is a violation of the 1A.

                      It just seems a lot cleaner for the state to get out of the business altogether.

                    4. “It just seems a lot cleaner for the state to get out of the business altogether.”

                      Undoubtedly. But that’s a bit different from saying it’s an establishment or free exercise issue. If I came down from the mountain saying that God made me king, there’s no free exercise issue if the government doesn’t hand over the keys.

          2. Try calling yourself married on your income tax form and see what happens.

            1. You can totally do that. You don’t have to include a copy of your marriage license. And if you are audited, claim a common law marriage and you will be fine. Moreover, being married will most likely increase your tax burden.

              1. Try being Muslim and having the 3 wives the Koran allows.

                1. Try being Muslim and having the 3 wives the Koran allows

                  Legalizing polygamy does not get the government out of marriage. It just changes the definition of marriage.

                  1. Legalizing polygamy does not get the government out of marriage. It just changes the definition of marriage.

                    It changes the State’s definition of marriage, which is actually newer than the religion’s definition of marriage.

                    1. Part of the reason I opposed DOMA is that I dont think the state should have a definition of marriage at all.

                      Federal or state level.

                      Moreso federal, of course, but I dont think its a state power either.

                  2. No, polygamy doesn’t change the definition of marriage, it’s just a condition of someone’s being part of more than one marriage at a time.

                    1. No, polygamy doesn’t change the definition of marriage, it’s just a condition of someone’s being part of more than one marriage at a time.

                      Depends on the form.

                      A series of 1v1 contracts is that. A 3 party(or more) contract would be different.

                    2. What robc wrote is correct, but historically polygamy has almost always been a series of 1v1 contracts, not 3+ parties.

              2. KY doesnt acknowledge common law marriage.

              3. Moreover, being married will most likely increase your tax burden.

                Ehhh… http://taxprof.typepad.com/tax…..ion-1.html

      2. No one has ever said that.

        Maybe no one has ever explicitly said that, but the way in which many people approach the issue is inconsistent with a belief that they don’t need it.

  6. On the other hand, a lot of liberals are outraged by this idea because, as one person put it to me, I’m no different than the whites that shut down the community pool rather than be forced to allow blacks in.

    1. A conservative argument expressed here is that marriage privatization is “a libertarian and free market argument for destroying marriage as a public institution [emphasis added].” Sometimes the mask slips, and sometimes it just ends up in the trash.

    2. As I recall, the pool had to declare bankruptcy and sell out to a religious organization in order to pay over $1mm
      to the “victims” who overheard a member asking why there were so many black kids at the pool that day.

  7. money, marriage – what the state controls, it debases

  8. It would seem that the cusp of gays gaining full equal marriage rights is precisely *not* the time to talk about the absurd fantasy of abolishing marriage.

    Or what A Serious Man just said.

    1. “full equal marriage rights”

      A married person should have no more rights than anyone else.

      1. Perhaps, but my point was about timing.

        Whatever rights do exist should be available equally, and surely we can agree on that before we get into insufferable nerd wanks about utopia.

        1. Perhaps, but my point was about timing.

          I don’t give a fuck about your point. I’m making my own.

        2. Whatever rights do exist should be available equally, and surely we can agree on that before we get into insufferable nerd wanks about utopia

          Except you don’t even believe that much. My two wives would like to have a word with you, asshole

          1. Nobody has a right to legal recognition of plural marriages. If there were such a right but only for heterosexual marriages, then I’d be for changing the law to recognize equality there too.

            1. Why not? I could change your declaration to support bans on interracial and same-sex marriages. I’ve even used it in the distant past against SSM.

            2. By your reasoning you’d support a world where miscegenation laws applied to straights and gays and polygamists equally. You’re a joke.

    2. You actually agree with what that guy said?

    3. the absurd fantasy of abolishing marriage.

      Because if government gets out of the marriage business, marriage will cease to exist.

      *poof*

      No more marriage.

    4. Considering that all current conversation about marriage only revolves around gay marriage, there’s really no other way to go from current events to the issue. Because people care about gays (apparently), but don’t care about polygamists or anyone else right now.

      It’s definitely worth pointing out that we’re all in a fuss, just to choose another special group to give full equal marriage rights, while denying others, for no apparent reason, other than “Fuck you, democracy, that’s why.” And, if that’s valid, why isn’t fucking gay people over when it comes to marriage rights?

      1. I say let polygamists have their day in court, but as of now the issue is that committed adult pairs who want to get married are being discriminated against for no good reason. There may or may not be good reasons for legal recognition of polygamous marriages, but that’s their issue to resolve.

        1. Tony:
          “There may or may not be good reasons for legal recognition of polygamous marriages, but that’s their issue to resolve.”

          Less than 7% of adults in the US identify as LGBT. In what way are they the ones resolving their issue?

            1. Suing is a time consuming, financially expensive way of begging the system to give you your way. A system set up to allow 300 million other people input on just about everything, even who you marry.

        2. You sound exactly like a christian trying to be reasonable about discriminating against gays. You know it too. You are a douche and you KNOW you are a douche. What’s that feel like?

          1. I smell vinegar. Tony must be nearby.

          2. What the hell are you talking about?

            You’re the one trying to justify bigotry with a non sequitur.

    5. It would seem that the cusp of gays gaining full equal marriage rights is precisely *not* the time to talk about the absurd fantasy of abolishing marriage.

      God forbid a libertarians stick to the message out of fear someone might get offended.

      1. Well you would have brought the suspicions on yourself by bringing it up only in the context of gay marriage.

        1. My primary goal in political discussions is controlling the suspicions of progressives. What other priorities could one have, really?

        2. One of the worst tactics in any debate is heeding the concern-troll advice of your adversary.

        3. Just because you didn’t notice this aspect of libertarian philosophy until gay marriage got popular doesn’t mean it didn’t exist before gay marriage got popular you disingenuous sack of shit.

  9. Yesterday’s big winner….

    Divorce lawyers.

    1. They will always win. As long as people can’t get along, they will be suing each other.

      1. I read an ABA article about how, in 2011, New York’s divorce attorneys were expecting an additional 1,800 divorces. I imagine California will be even more profitable.

        I just feel sorry for the poor family court judges, who will be so terribly confused without a single husband to pin all of the blame on, or in the case of lesbians, no husband to blame.

        What’s the fun of family law without some penis-smashing?

        1. Yeah, I’d expect this from someone as be-penised as Anon!

          MALE GAYZ! I mean, MALE GAZE! Or both. Whatever. PENIS!

        2. As I told Tony above, I think gays are going to regret ever getting legalized marriage. What is really happening here is gays are giving up the right to operate outside of the family law system. If you know anything about family law, you would know that is a really stupid idea.

          1. Being unequal under the law is not a privilege. We still retain the right not to get married, one I plan to exercise.

            1. What sane person would willingly comingle assets with you?

            2. Inequality under the law is the very definition of privilege. From the Latin for “private law,” the word refers to special laws that apply to narrow groups or to individuals.

  10. Marriage is primarily a pact between two people and, in the view of many, a sacrament of the church.

    And the license is a deal between the couple and the state. Pray they do not alter the deal any further.

    1. And the license is a deal between the couple and the state.

      Exactly. And people make the pact because they want the state to step in and settle the dispute if they ever get divorced.

      1. But the state is the arbiter for contract disputes anyway. So why make the state part of the deal.

        Marriages, IMO, are between one man, one woman and one God. There are 3 parties to the contract, but the state isnt one of them. YMMV, you may want to include more of less of some of those elements.

        Try writing a marriage contract in which a church is a part of the contract and see if it gets enforced in court. But, there would be no problem with that if the state got out of marriage licensing.

        1. So why make the state part of the deal.

          Because there are children involved and the state has an interest in that. Even the article agrees that the state has to be involved when there are children.

          And further, because it is easier to have one set of laws that govern everything that to hassle with writing a detailed contract.

          Libertarians as usual think everyone is just like them and love the idea of writing their own marriage contract. Normal people are happy to go down and get a license and not have to fuck with it.

          1. Even the article agrees that the state has to be involved when there are children.

            The article is wrong.

            And, come on, we have plenty of children whose parents are married now. You have said that I dont need to go thru the marriage licensing process. So you saying the legal cohabitationists cant have children.

            You are contradicting yourself.

            1. And, come on, we have plenty of children whose parents are married now. You have said that I dont need to go thru the marriage licensing process. So you saying the legal cohabitationists cant have children.

              No the state is going to be involved when you get a divorce and can’t agree on who gets the kid. If you never break up, the state will never be involved. it only matters if there is a dispute.

              1. What about the cohabitationists who have a kid and split up?

                How the fuck is this any different? The marriage license helps the courts none at all.

          2. Normal people are happy to go down and get a license and not have to fuck with it.

            And normal people should be unhappy for a day or two and fuck with it instead.

          3. Also, they dont need to write the contract. Most people write vows, there is your fucking contract.

            Yeah, yeah, oral contracts are as valid as the paper they arent printed on. But most of the time there are witnesses.

            1. Also, they dont need to write the contract. Most people write vows, there is your fucking contract.

              yeah rob, the vows cover everything. That is a hell of a set a vows there that talk about child custody and how to split the property.

              What would happen here is libertarians would end up creating a system where everyone who wants to get married would have to hire a lawyer or go on the internet and spend hours negotiating the terms of their marriage and face the prospect of not having a valid marriage if they don’t.

              That is such a fucking improvement over going to the court house. Having to write a contract that covers every contingency and negotiate it out like a securities deal is just fucking fantastic. It is so amazing that no one votes Libertarian with positions like that.

              1. the prospect of not having a valid marriage

                ???

                1. What is a valid marriage in this case? There is no state to license it, so its valid if the couple says so.

                2. Business deals occur on a handshake all the time.

                1. 1. What is a valid marriage in this case? There is no state to license it, so its valid if the couple says so.

                  Sure they do. Right up until they divorce and one side says they were never married. The point of having the contract is to settle disputes once things go south. If you knew anything about contract law and what a cluster fuck signing and writing contracts are, you would never think this is a good idea.

              2. What would happen here is libertarians would end up creating a system where everyone who wants to get married would have to hire a lawyer or go on the internet and spend hours negotiating the terms of their marriage and face the prospect of not having a valid marriage if they don’t

                Sounds a lot like another major life change… buying a house! And yet people do that all the time.

                Besides, why wouldn’t people who can’t be bothered just grab a standard contract from their place of worship or a private corporation that springs up to fill the void?

                1. Besides, why wouldn’t people who can’t be bothered just grab a standard contract from their place of worship or a private corporation that springs up to fill the void?

                  Because not everyone goes to church. And who is to say those contracts would be what they want. You would have to read it and figure it out and probably hire a lawyer to tell you what it means.

                  If your best defense of this is “it will be just like buying a house” you have either never bought a house or are throwing me a bone so I can win the debate.

                  1. Oh my God John, people actually might have to sit down and talk things over with their SO over the details of most important decision they’ll ever make. THE HORROR

                    1. Oh my God John, people actually might have to sit down and talk things over with their SO over the details of most important decision they’ll ever make. THE HORROR

                      That was my thought too. I dont want anyone getting married who isnt willing to go thru that process. Its just like many churches wont marry someone until they have gone thru premarriage counseling.

                  2. Because not everyone goes to church.

                    Thus why I mentioned private corporations.

                    And who is to say those contracts would be what they want. You would have to read it and figure it out and probably hire a lawyer to tell you what it means.

                    We were talking about the people not interested in a prenup.

                    Do people regularly sit down and go through all the local, state, and federal law on marriage and divorce before signing their marriage license?

                    If the person is so concerned about the contents of the contract, they would be free to write their own.

                  3. In a sense, it is just like buying a house: Gov’t registers plots of land and title to them.

                    1. In a sense, it is just like buying a house: Gov’t registers plots of land and title to them.

                      Already covered in this thread.

          4. Normal people are happy to go down and get a license and not have to fuck with it.

            And in a private system they could copy/paste the relevant section of their state’s code directly into their contract and have the EXACT SAME FUCKING THING. The only difference is that they A) get a choice and B) the people with enough IQ points to actually give a shit about what they are committing half their assets and the rest of their life to don’t have to live under a set of rules established to make it easier for morons to shirk the responsibility of being a cognizant being.

      2. “And people make the pact because they want the state to step in and settle the dispute if they ever get divorced.”

        I think the people that get a marriage license for this reason is a very small number.

        1. I don’t think so. I think given a choice of having to write a contract that covers every possible contingency or just getting a license and availing themselves of the law as it is, most people would take the license.

          1. Lack of a contract doesnt prevent common law from taking over.

            People do business deals without contracts all the time. And they still end up in the courts. And the courts still rule on them.

            1. Contracts also don’t need to be as complicated as John implies. And even when they do need to be complicated, the process can be made easier to the point of near automation, as it has been for most types of business formation.

  11. “The terms of marriage should be decided by religious and other private organizations, and the state shouldn’t intervene short of a compelling reason (i.e., marriage by force or with children).”

    Hmmm…so the government shouldn’t be involved in *childless* marriages, only in marriages which have children (natural or adopted).

    This is not nearly so radical a position as the author things it is.

    1. Er, no, he means age of consent stuff.
      You can’t marry a 10 year old.

      1. And, LOL, btw.

        1. If I misunderstood the reference to marriage with children, I apologize.

          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-LiCnP1LFI

  12. I have come around 180 degrees on this through the years. But now I’m beyond even “I don’t care, do what you want” to “JESUS WILL EVERYONE SHUT THE FUCK UP ABOUT IT AND JUST GET ON WITH IT!”

    Gays and abortion. That’s all that matters – got it. I just don’t care any more – do what you want. Just stop talking about it CONSTANTLY, please.

  13. The more straightforward thing to do is to abolish marriage licenses. All marriages would be private contracts and the state would be obligated to enforce all such contracts, but it could not issue licenses.

    We probably would need some default rules for inheritances and possibly hospital visitation, but the state would essentially have no role in deciding who can and cannot marry.

    Joint tax filings would also go away. Spouses would file as individuals or be claimed as dependents.

    1. We probably would need some default rules for inheritances and possibly hospital visitation, but the state would essentially have no role in deciding who can and cannot marry.

      So people could marry minors? I am thinking the state would still have a roll. And further, there is nothing that says a state has to recognize a contract. For example it wouldn’t recognize a marriage contract with a minor. And it wouldn’t have to recognize polygamous contracts. So we would be right back to having the same debates we are having now about who can get married. We would just rename the debate, who can sign a valid marriage contract.

      Libertarians are hopelessly retarded on this issue. There is no fixing them.

      1. So people could marry minors?

        I would think that statutory rape and incest laws would still exist and supersede someone’s marriage contract.

        And it wouldn’t have to recognize polygamous contracts.

        Why not? Can’t a contract have more than two parties?

        1. I would think that statutory rape and incest laws would still exist and supersede someone’s marriage contract.

          They would make the act illegal but it wouldn’t necessarily make the contract void. The point is that there is nothing that says a court must recognize a contract. They don’t recognize a contract for illegal things. And they if the state decided to would not recognize contracts for gay marriage or polygamy.

          So we would have the same debates under a contract system we have now. It wouldn’t solve anything. People who don’t like gay marriage would just want the courts to refuse to recognize such contracts and others would say yes and the fight would be on.

          Changing marriage to “contract” doesn’t get the government out of marriage or change or end any of the debates about marriage.

          The claim that Reason always makes is “if we just got the government out of marriage we wouldn’t fight about this stuff anymore”. And that is completely fucking idiotic. It shows a complete lack of understanding of how contracts and courts and laws work. It is full on peak fucking retard.

          1. They would make the act illegal but it wouldn’t necessarily make the contract void.

            Maybe not in Zimbabwe’s legal system. The American legal system has a long history of invalidating contracts with illegal stipulations. It’s why you don’t often see drug kingpins taking each other to court over territorial disputes.

      2. And it wouldn’t have to recognize polygamous contracts.

        Why?

        1. Because people don’t like polygamists and the Supreme Court hasn’t found them fashionable. I don’t know. That is not the point. The point is that making it contracts based wouldn’t end the debate about anything. It would just change the name that we call it. It would in no way get the government out of marriage or end the debates that we have about marriage.

          1. The point is that making it contracts based wouldn’t end the debate about anything.

            It would definitely change the parameters of the debate, though.

            It would just change the name that we call it.

            How so? Married people would still be married. It just puts a degree of separation between the marriage institution and the state.

            It would in no way get the government out of marriage or end the debates that we have about marriage.

            No, government wouldn’t be “out” of marriage, but it would turn the situation from one where the state is effectively a third party in the marriage (deciding the terms and requirements) to an arbiter of the marriage contract in cases of legal dispute (IMO, a much more appropriate role)

            The debates will never end because it’s not about government recognition. It’s about social acceptance. SoCons want it to be socially unacceptable to be in a non-Biblical sexual relationship. Progressives and alternative lifestyle advocates want it to be socially unacceptable to be against alternative sexual relationships. The fight over the legal definition of marriage is just seen as a stepping stone for both groups toward their social goals.

            1. No, government wouldn’t be “out” of marriage, but it would turn the situation from one where the state is effectively a third party in the marriage (deciding the terms and requirements) to an arbiter of the marriage contract in cases of legal dispute (IMO, a much more appropriate role)

              No it wouldn’t. That state still has the authority to determine which contracts it will recognize. It has the authority to declare default positions in contracts. It can pass laws that require every contract to contain terms. The state could do every thing it does now in family law through contract law. Have you ever read a cred card contract? All that fine print is there because state law says it has to be there. You guys think that if you can make a contract about it the state therefore can’t dictate the terms. That is not how it works.

              All getting the government out of marriage would do is screw a ton of people who didn’t bother to get their contracts right and give family court judges even more freedom to fuck people they don’t like.

              What you want is a different and more free set of family laws. And that is a fine goal. But the way to get there is not to go to contract based marriage. The way to get there is to pass a different and more free set of family laws.

              1. I want the government out of credit card contracts and mortgage contracts too.

                Those examples prove MY point, not yours. Its just yet another area of government overstepping their bounds.

            2. Progressives and alternative lifestyle advocates want it to be socially unacceptable to be against alternative sexual relationships.

              Tolerance means not tolerating intolerance.

              1. And of course they are tolerant to those who are intolerant of any group deemed to be intolerant themselves. The intolerables of my intolerables are my tolerables.

      3. StatistsLibertarians are hopelessly retarded on this issue and all others now that you mention it. There is no fixing them.

        FTFY

      4. So people could marry minors?

        You know that most states allow minors to get married right? Many of them go down to 15 without much fuss. In New York it’s 14 years old!

        1. What about 5 year old kids? The point is, some contracts would not be valid.

          1. Same argument could be made with service contracts for your air conditioner. I (as an evil KKKorporation) could write that you forfeit your spleen and your aorta if you miss a payment.

            That would never stand up in court, but that doesn’t mean that all service contracts should be licensed and registered through the state.

            1. Again you miss the point. See my post above. That is how contract law works. The first step is “what is a valid contract”. And in answering that question, we will get into all of the debates we currently have with marriage.

              So having a contract system doesn’t get you anywhere. It doesn’t end any debates or necessarily make anyone freer. You could draft a set of marriage contract laws that would make people less free. There is noting about “contract” that necessarily implies freedom. And Reason cannot seem to get that through their thick fucking skulls.

              1. The first step is “what is a valid contract”.

                Here’s the key… That is only after a legal dispute has been filed.

                If you get married and live a long and happy life with your spouse(s), the government never knows.

                I think that’s a good step toward liberty.

                You could draft a set of marriage contract laws that would make people less free.

                Yes, and then many divorces will be handled through churches, private arbitrators and other non-governmental entities. Something you can’t do if your marriage is registered with the government.

                What would happen now if that Sister Wives polygamist dude decided to divorce one or more of his wives? Would he walk into his local county courthouse and file the papers there? No, of course not.

                1. If you get married and live a long and happy life with your spouse(s), the government never knows.

                  You can do that now. The law only matters if you get divorced.

                  Yes, and then many divorces will be handled through churches, private arbitrators and other non-governmental entities. Something you can’t do if your marriage is registered with the government.

                  Only if the law said they could. There is nothing to say that the law couldn’t require that the devolution of a contract be filed with the government. You have to do that with real property contracts. And there are all kinds of laws that require certain disputes be handled in certain courts.

                  You are assuming that a contract system would automatically be more free. And that is just not true. It would be as free as the government decided to make it. You would be just refighting the same battles you are fighting now while creating even more problems. Just work on changing the damned laws that you don’t like now. You want people to be able to contract out of alimony obligations? You can do that now. You want people to be able to contract out of no fault divorce, change the law now. You don’t have to change the whole system to do that.

                  1. Just work on changing the damned laws that you don’t like now.

                    The law I dont like is marriage licensing. WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU THINK IM DOING?

                    1. No Rob. You don’t like the family law set up that doesn’t allow you to contract out of the terms that it dictates. That is what you don’t like. That is the root of the issue and for some reason you have fixated on licenses because of that.

                    2. No Rob. You don’t like the family law set up that doesn’t allow you to contract out of the terms that it dictates. That is what you don’t like. That is the root of the issue and for some reason you have fixated on licenses because of that.

                      Who is this Rob guy? He must be an asshole.

                      But he hasnt posted here yet, so I dont know why you keep addressing him.

                      I know you struggle with spelling names, but robc isnt that hard.

                      And you are wrong. You dont understand my thought process on this. I want licensing ended. Only have that, did I realize all the other problems.

                      Licensing came first for me. Later I realized the problem with divorce laws and etc. But this is 100% a licensing issue for me.

                      Literally, in 1990 I was reading Matthew 19 and had an epiphany that marriage licensing was immoral.

                    3. Note: In 1990 I didnt even consider myself a libertarian, although I had clear tendencies in that way.

                      So a whole bunch of your libertarian-based arguments are way off base too.

                    4. Literally, in 1990 I was reading Matthew 19 and had an epiphany that marriage licensing was immoral.

                      Then don’t get one. But because you think hey are immoral doesn’t give you the right to destroy the whole system.

                      In the end, you want to stop people from getting license because you think they are immoral. Very libertarian of you.

                    5. In the end, you want to stop people from getting license because you think they are immoral. Very libertarian of you.

                      You cant read.

                      It isnt immoral for people to get one. That is perfectly moral.

                      it is immoral for the state to issue them.

                      Im fine with anyone getting one who wants to. I probably would. If I fine a woman and minister who is willing to marry me and perform the ceremony, respectively, without one, that would be my preference. But I would get one if necessary. But it is immoral for the state to issue them.

                    6. In the end, you want to stop people from getting license because you think they are immoral. Very libertarian of you.

                      You want to use force to stop the cops from beating you? Well, how very libertarian of you!

                      HURRR DURRR! Game, set, match.

                      You do realize that we get this line of retarded bullshit from Tony at least 50 times a day, right? It doesn’t become any less stupid when you change the verbiage.

                    7. I will say that marriage licensing today does nothing good, and nothing at all that I can discern. It could easily be gotten rid of without anyone’s noticing.

                      What the county clerk (or whoever) does that is useful is not issuing a license to get married, but witnessing and registering the marriage when it occurs. Of course these functions could be provided by non-gov’t entities. Few people realize these days that that’s technically what a wedding is about: witnessing a marriage. It is helpful to have a single entity do all the registering, but if there were just a small number of marriage registr’n outfits the inconvenience wouldn’t be so much greater.

                      The main point of having a public wedding is to establish an agreed-on point in time when a marriage begins. According to customary law, a couple is married if people think they are, which usually is a matter of their telling people they are, but it can be messy in some cases unless you have a bunch of witnesses agreeing that the couple got married at time 0.

                      That’s also the issue with same sex marriage. As long as people think of marriage as between persons of opposite sex, according to customary law a couple of the same sex can’t be married, because marriage always comes down to that factual judgment. All civil marriage does is provide a convenient procedure; it’s not meant to contradict what the facts would be in its absence.

                2. What would happen now if that Sister Wives polygamist dude decided to divorce one or more of his wives? Would he walk into his local county courthouse and file the papers there? No, of course not.

                  But if they didn’t like the outcome, they couldn’t go to court and get a judge to settle the dispute. The whole point of this debate is who gets access to courts to settle disputes. That is all that it is about. If you never want to go to court, who gives a fuck if you have a license or not?

                  1. If you never want to go to court, who gives a fuck if you have a license or not?

                    The IRS and a thousand other agencies and bureaus throughout the government.

                    1. The IRS and a thousand other agencies and bureaus throughout the government.

                      And we are right back to the same debate about what marriages the government will recognize. But this will totally get the government out of marriage.

                    2. I think generally the marriage privatization advocates are also in favor of doing away with joint filing and the government creating marriage benefits (or penalties). You could technically do away with those things under the current system. But then there wouldn’t really be any point to the current system since that is the only fucking function that it serves.

          2. What about 5 year old kids? The point is, some contracts would not be valid.

            I guess you’re right, gay marriage is a disaster.

            1. Where did I ever say that? I never did. Recognize gay marriage all you like. But stop living in this fantasy world where some day the government won’t be involved in marriage.

              1. This is a normative discussion not an explanation of current law.

          3. I’m pretty sure you are the one being peak retard on this.

            Shocking.

            1. yeah Tim. If we just make marriages all contracts any marriage we want under any terms will be enforceable in court and recognized by the government. Because the government recognizes every contract and never dictates the terms of contracts that it deems valid. Never.

              Again, what you guys want is changes to the family laws. But since you don’t know anything about contract law and “contract” is sort of a religious mantra among libertarians, you conclude contracts is the way to get it. And worse still, you don’t even admit that a contract based system is what you want and instead come up with this idiotic phrase “get the government out of marriage”.

              1. As I said above, overly pedantic. I notice you arent responding to all of the posts where I beat you down seriously.

              2. And another thing, even you lame contract based concept where there wasnt true freedom of contract would still be an improvement over licensing.

                Which as I have said time and again over thread after thread after thread, is what I want to end: end marriage licensing.

                But you ignore me and continue to repeat your “get the government out of marriage” mantra.

                Its like the same argument over Ron Paul and foreign policy. I correct you, you admit Im right, then the next thread you go back to lying about what Paul said.

                1. Which as I have said time and again over thread after thread after thread, is what I want to end: end marriage licensing.

                  So there is no need to have any public notice of a marriage? I guess you want to end public deeds and liens as well.

                  How dare you have to get permission from the country clerk to sell your land!!

                  You are just nuts rob. You don’t like family law. I don’t either. So how about we change it and make it better ans stop with this fucking idiotic nonsense about getting the government out of marriage.

                  You can get the government out now. Don’t get a license and never go to court expecting the government to settle your divorce. And the government will never be in your marriage. Is that so hard?

                  1. “You can get the government out now. Don’t get a license and never go to court expecting the government to settle your divorce. And the government will never be in your marriage. Is that so hard?”

                    Oh my God this is hilarious. He EXPLICITLY STATED that’s not what he’s arguing, and then you proceeded to make the exact same argument


                    1. Oh my God this is hilarious. He EXPLICITLY STATED that’s not what he’s arguing, and then you proceeded to make the exact same argument

                      Typical John.

                      And next thread on same topic he will start from scratch. And accuse me of being a SoCon hating Kulture Warrior.

                    2. I’ve always thought that the moniker “Red Tony” described a few other posters better than John, but one way in which John is really similar to Tony is that he completely ignores and forgets points made in previous arguments on the same topic.

                  2. How dare you have to get permission from the country clerk to sell your land!!

                    You are just nuts rob.

                    Actually, Im the sane one here. Why should I have to get permission from the county clerk to sell my land?

                    1. Why should I have to get permission from the county clerk to sell my land?

                      Because the guy buying it from you has a right to know if there are any liens that need satisfied. All the county clerk does is keep a record of who owns property and liens so that people can have full knowledge of what they are buying.

                      All a marriage license does, or has to do, is give people public notice of who is married so they can know if the person they are marrying is currently married.

                      Even if you lived your dream of getting the government out of marriage, whatever that is, you still would want people to register their marriages so people would be able to know who is in fact married and who is not.

                    2. you still would want people to register their marriages so people would be able to know who is in fact married and who is not.

                      Why?

                      If I want to enter an exclusive business partnership, I put the term in the contract. If they are committing fraud, they are committing fraud.

                    3. If I want to enter an exclusive business partnership, I put the term in the contract. If they are committing fraud, they are committing fraud.

                      And partnerships and corporations are registered with the state and for good reason. It makes it harder for people to commit fraud. Same thing with marriages. If someone is marrying you, they ought to be able to go somewhere and see if they are the only one.

                2. It is not my contract system Rob. It is your system. That is what you are arguing for. I am doing you a favor by trying to make your position less incoherent.

              3. And worse still, you don’t even admit that a contract based system is what you want and instead come up with this idiotic phrase “get the government out of marriage”.

                No, actually everyone says that contracts are the end result of ending government marriage licensing.

                And yes, that also meaning ending public notice of marriages. People are free to make their own announcements, but I’m not required to inform the public in the paper when I enter into a contract and this would be no different.

                1. Yeah Tim. I am thinking when you tell your employer that you are married to Stacy, the employer should be able to go somewhere to see if that is true. Also, when you go to marry Jane, I think Jane should have some ability to make sure you actually divorced Stacy and she won’t have to worry about Stacy showing up and claiming half of everything.

                  You guys never think through this shit. There are second order effects to just getting rid of shit. Sure, why do we need any public record of marriages. What could possibly go wrong!!

                  1. Sure, why do we need any public record of marriages. What could possibly go wrong!!

                    This is what the courts are for.

                    And Tim gets to go to jail for defrauding Jane.

                  2. Would there not be court records of the dissolution of the marriage contract if the guy claimed he divorced Stacy?

                    1. Would there not be court records of the dissolution of the marriage contract if the guy claimed he divorced Stacy?

                      Only if the marriage was dissolved in court.

                      Most business contracts are dissolved privately.

                      In most cases, I think the divorce could happen without need of the court system.

                  3. I am thinking when you tell your employer that you are married to Stacy, the employer should be able to go somewhere to see if that is true.

                    Why the fuck does my employer need to know my marriage status? Oh, I get it. So he can provide my spouse with their government-mandated benefits that we also want to do away with. ZOMG! SECOND ORDER EFFECTS! HURRRRR DURRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR

                2. And worse still, you don’t even admit that a contract based system is what you want and instead come up with this idiotic phrase “get the government out of marriage”.

                  What Tim said.

                  What I want is to end government licensing of marriage.

                  Actually, correct that, what I want to end is government licensing. Just to be completely fucking clear.

                  If we end government licensing of marriage, contract based marriages is what we will end up with on the civil side. Religious side doesnt need a contract. At least in my religion. YMMV.

                  And at that point, yes, I would like as little government interference in the contract law as possible. I would prefer it be more like business contracts than mortgage contracts.

                  1. And frankly Rob that is even dumber than I thought. So what if the government stops issuing licenses? That won’t mean a court or the IRS or anyone else is going to recognize your marriage.

                    You all seem to have this bizarre fixation on marriage licenses as if if we just got rid of them people would then be free to go to court and have it enforce their marital arrangements. Ah no. One has nothing to do with the other.

                    You can live however you want now. The only issue is when you want to go to court to get divorced, settle custody of a kid or get some government agency to give a benefit because you are married. Getting rid of licenses won’t mean courts and the IRS will start recognizing every marriage. We will be right back to the same debates we are having now.

                    Get over it Rob. Either never go to court and never give a shit about the government recognizing your marriages or understand that you are going to play by its rules. Don’t get a fucking license. As long as you don’t go to court or file as married, it won’t matter.

                    1. That won’t mean a court or the IRS or anyone else is going to recognize your marriage.

                      Thats the point!

                      I dont wany marriages to be “recognized” by any government organization.

                      Recognition of marriage is a private act and should be left up to the individual.

                    2. I dont wany marriages to be “recognized” by any government organization.

                      Why? People are married are they not? Is the government supposed to pretend they are not?

                      And I guess you think no one should ever have the right to go to court for a divorce settlement. Marriages can’t exist in court.

                      Come on Rob. Just give it up. You have been reduced to saying the government has to pretend people are not married and refuse to adjudicate marital disputes in court.

                    3. Is the government supposed to pretend they are not?

                      The government shouldnt care one way or another.

                      Heck, there is very little need for a valid government to recognize that someone is alive.

                      Be born, get married, die. No need to ever be “recognized” by the government at all. 99.44% of all people should be able to live their entire lives without a name or number entering a government database.

                    4. Courts arent necessary for divorces. But if there is a dispute, then, of course, courts should get involved. At that point, they present the marriage contract and the court will act upon it accordingly.

                      You continue to make stuff up.

                    5. I dont wany marriages to be “recognized” by any government organization.

                      DING DING DING.

                      It’s that simple. John is just having a hard time imagining something other than the status quo that doesn’t end badly.

                      Basically this have become his version of ROADZZZ!111

                    6. It’s that simple. John is just having a hard time imagining something other than the status quo that doesn’t end badly.

                      Tim that is like saying you want the government to refuse to recognize people have two arms. People are married. And the government has to deal with that reality.

                      We could give you what you want though. We could ban marriage. Make it illegal for people for people to be married. That would solve the issue.

                      Maybe we should do that. No licenses. No culture war. Marriage is horrible anyway.

                    7. Tim that is like saying you want the government to refuse to recognize people have two arms.

                      The government does refuse to recognize that (most) people have two arms. There are no arm licensing laws, there are no personhood requirements that eliminate those with one arm or zero arms. In fact, I highly doubt that the government has any shred of documentation that has to do with a person having two arms.

                      Not only that, but people lose their arms all the time. There’s no big legal kerfuffle about it. The only time it would even come up is if the loss of the arm had an effect on an employment contract, or somebody was civilly or criminally liable for the loss of arm.

                      In none of those cases does it matter that the person originally had 2 arms.

                      People are married. And the government has to deal with that reality.

                      People are also buying fast food in horrifying quantities, should government deal with that reality? Perhaps giving people a fast food “license” that dictates when they are and aren’t allowed to eat fast food is in order.

                    8. John, missing the point as usual.

                    9. So what if the government stops issuing licenses? That won’t mean a court or the IRS or anyone else is going to recognize your marriage.

                      I’ve been saying this for years, but most people don’t seem to get it. Marriage is a question of fact. Having a fishing license doesn’t get you a fish. Getting a dog license for a cat doesn’t make it a dog. And indeed if you get a marriage license but don’t “solemnize” the marriage, you haven’t gotten married.

                    10. That won’t mean a court or the IRS or anyone else is going to recognize your marriage.

                      True of the IRS. A feature, not a bug. Not true of the courts, unless my marriage arrangement breaks some other law.

                      …get some government agency to give a benefit because you are married.

                      Also a feature, not a bug. It’s hard to pass out prizes for performing behaviors the government likes if there’s no way of recognizing your behavior.

      5. I think you answered your own question. A) the government can refuse to enforce a marriage contract with a minor. B) the state can continue to enforce laws against sex with children.

  14. The only problem I see with eliminating marriage License is on the benefits. Now if a person is married and dies the spouse gets the government benefits, if any are due, but without a limiting license you will get multiple partner relationships and every partner will now get full benefits. If all benefits were limited to the value of one person only, then a muliti partner situation would have to split that one benefit between themselves. But we all know how this is going to work it will be called racist to do such a common sense thing.

  15. It’s so fucking funny to listen to the bigots try to sound reasonable.

    “Gays are icky, so i’m going to pretend i have reasonable positions on why they shouldn’t get state sancitioned marriage licenses”

    “Polygamists are icky so I’m going to pretend that discriminating against them is somehow not the same as discriminating against gays”

    So pathetic.

    1. Are you hallucinating? no one said anything like that. No one has made a single point for or against polygamy. The issue here is whether the government can get out of marriage or even if it could would that be a good thing.

      1. You’re telling we’d still have things like Prop 8 and DOMA and miscegenation laws if the government ignored the concept of marriage? Please.

        You’re arguing for government setting default marriage contract provisions with the same reasoning behind having the government do everything else: it’s convenient and some peopel may not make very good contracts.

        Just have the government decide EVERYTHING then. Your reasoning applies to EVERYTHING we do in life.

        1. And don’t get me started on Tony he’s utterly incoherent on polygamy

        2. You’re telling we’d still have things like Prop 8 and DOMA and miscegenation laws if the government ignored the concept of marriage? Please.

          Yes. The government can dictate terms in contract law just like they can in family law. Nothing says the government has to recognize your marriage contract. Whether it does or not is of course the entire debate.

          You want to have legalized polygamy. You go for it. But you are woefully misinformed if you think having contract based marriage is necessarily going to get you there.

          1. John, why do you insist on taking one part of a person’s argument, ignoring the rest, and then bashing the straw man to death? I think everyone here would say that the government should recognize contracts between consenting adults. It doesn’t matter if the people making the contract call it “marriage” or something else. What is it about marriage that requires it to be done through state licensing?

            1. You are not understanding what I am saying. What you want is legalized polygamy. And I am not agruing with you about that. What I am telling you is that having a contract based marriage system doesn’t necessarily get you there. And moreover, you can have legalized polygamy under the current system. Just change the law. There is no need to go to a contract system to get polygamy.

              The issue here is should we keep our current system or get rid of it and let people contract instead of get married. And the answer is, we are better off with our current system because anything you want can be accommodated by changing the law and going to a contract system isn’t going to necessarily mean that you will get what you want.

              If you want polygamy, then start arguing for polygamy and stop wasting your time arguing for contract based marriages. One really has nothing to do with the other.

              1. “What you want is legalized polygamy.”

                Are you a mind reader? Not that I disagree with that, but that’s not what I was arguing.

                What is so difficult about this. We are saying that the state should not grant marriage licenses. FULL STOP

                1. What is so difficult about this. We are saying that the state should not grant marriage licenses. FULL STO

                  But that is not going to give you any of the things you think it will. That is the whole point. So it stops granting marriage license. BFD. None of the things you want are necessarily going to be a reality. There is nothing about the existence of a license that makes any sort of marriage legal or illegal.

                  You seem to have this strange idea that if the government stops granting marriage licenses, courts will start recognizing different sorts of marriages. And that is fucking stupid. I am sorry but it is stupid. One has nothing to do with the other.

                  You can live however you want now. The only issue is will a court and or the government recognize your arrangement. And stopping the issuing of marriage licensees won’t change that.

                  1. None of the things you want are necessarily going to be a reality.

                    WHAT I WANT IS THE STATE TO STOP ISSUEING LICENSES.

                    How do I not get what I want if I get exactly what I want?

                    1. WHAT I WANT IS THE STATE TO STOP ISSUEING LICENSES.

                      Then what you want Rob has absolutely nothing to do with people’s ability to get married or with polygamy or freedom or anything. It means nothing beyond your strange fixation on it.

                    2. YES EXACTLY.

                  2. “You seem to have this strange idea that if the government stops granting marriage licenses, courts will start recognizing different sorts of marriages. And that is fucking stupid. I am sorry but it is stupid. One has nothing to do with the other.”

                    Jesus Christ, why are you incapable of acknowledging both parts of what I’m saying at the same time? The state should stop issuing marriage licenses, and recognize and enforce contracts between consenting adults, regardless of whether or not the contract is titled or could be deemed a “marriage contract.”

            2. John, why do you insist on taking one part of a person’s argument, ignoring the rest, and then bashing the straw man to death?

              I think we need to call this Johning. He’s done it enough to earn have this strategy of debate named in his honor.

              1. Tim,

                You are frankly too stupid to follow the argument. I am sorry but you are. I am not twisting anyone’s argument. You are just either too stupid or too bullheaded to understand what is going on.

                1. You are twisting my argument.

                  You are a liar.

                2. John,

                  You consistently twist people’s arguments, ignore aspects of people’s arguments, misquote them and generally engage in deception to try and win a debate. This isn’t the first time it has happened, and it certainly wont be the last.

                  It’s pretty sad, really.

                  1. No Tim. I am not twisting anything. My argument is very simple. There is nothing about leaving our current system of family law that necessarily means that people are going to be any more free to marry under terms they like. Therefore, changing to a different system is pointless. The point is to change the system we have.

                    So when you guys talk about getting the government out of marriage, you are pissing in the wind. You are not advocating anything that will necessarily lead to anything better. What you are advocating for is “wouldn’t it be great if we could contract for any marital arrangement we liked and the courts and the government would enforce it and recognize it”. And that is true as far as it goes. But you could also say “wouldn’t it be great if your current system of family law recognized different forms of marriage and let people opt out of the default positions.” and be advocating for the same end.

                    1. “There is nothing about leaving our current system of family law that necessarily means that people are going to be any more free to marry under terms they like. Therefore, changing to a different system is pointless”

                      That’s true if we were talking about replacing it with a random system. We wouldn’t know whether that system would be better or worse in that regard. But that’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about replacing the current system with one where the government doesn’t issue marriage licenses and recognizes and enforces contracts between consenting adults without regard to whether or not the contract is called or could be called a “marriage contract.” That’s what people are arguing for, and you consistently ignore the second part of that argument for your own convenience.

                    2. We’re talking about replacing the current system with one where the government doesn’t issue marriage licenses and recognizes and enforces contracts between consenting adults without regard to whether or not the contract is called or could be called a “marriage contract.”

                      And that system would be a cluster fuck. There would be no public notice of marriages. So there would be no way to tell if someone was actually married. If someone showed me a “marriage contract”, I would have no way of knowing if it was real or not.

                      Getting the government out of marriage is like getting the government out of corporation law. Just imagine if some liberal made that argument. Sure, you can have whatever “corporation” you want. But no one is going to be required to recognize it. The government is not going to do anything to tell people what are actual corporation or not. And courts are not going to recognize the corporate veil. But you can always keep your little corporation.

                    3. “There would be no public notice of marriages. So there would be no way to tell if someone was actually married.”

                      Dun dun dun!

                      John marriage licenses haven’t always existed. Some states didn’t have them until the early 1900s. Your wild fantasies about how chaotic the world would be without the government issuing licenses to tell everyone who’s married have been proven wrong. What is so unique about a marriage contract that it has to be done through government license? Should we have to get government licenses for every contract we make?

                    4. Sure, you can have whatever “corporation” you want. But no one is going to be required to recognize it. The government is not going to do anything to tell people what are actual corporation or not. And courts are not going to recognize the corporate veil.

                      If you did away with state limitation of liability, which some libertarians and ancapas are actually in favor of doing, you could simply create the same structure via contract.

                      Of course, as you point out, courts could just arbitrarily decide to invalidate the contract, which is what your entire argument in both this and the marriage debate hinges on – the courts setting aside a thousand years of common law arbitrarily. In that case, does it really matter if you have a license or a contract? If rogue courts are going to invalidate things they don’t like at a whim, why wouldn’t they just as well invalidate the license on some technicality? Licensing schemes are no defense against kangaroo courts, so if your entire argument hinges on the courts being kangaroo courts, you’re pretty well fucked either way.

                    5. John, the trouble is knee jerk libertarian thinking. Most people don’t know much about family law, so most libertarian activists don’t either. What they do know is that there’s something called a marriage license. Therefore they think that’s the be-all, end-all, and since they’re against licensure and know of great evils other licensure laws create, they think this is such a case too, and think whatever good they want to achieve would be achieved by the abolition of licensure.

                    6. What makes you think libertarians agree with every aspect of family law?

  16. Wow this thread is incoherent. Let me just ask this plain and simple: what is John’s solution to the gay marriage debate? Because right now you have people that are treated unequally under the law, and it is coming to a head politically.

    1. This thread has nothing to do with gay marriage, that question belongs in a different thread.

      1. True.

        I think John’s solution is that homosexuals have to win the matter at the ballot box.

        1. My solution is that each individual chooses whether to recognize a marriage or not, gay or straight or polygamous or whatever.

          Heck, I might choose to only recognize marriages performed in a protestant church.

          Suck it catholics, you arent married!

          1. My solution is that each individual chooses whether to recognize a marriage or not, gay or straight or polygamous or whatever.

            You have that now. And to the extent you don’t, just pass a law that says that private parties do not have to recognize marriages.

            You seem to think you have to throw out all of family law to do that. You don’t. The only reason why you couldn’t tell Catholic spouses they don’t count or I couldn’t tell Baptist ones they don’t count is because we have laws saying you can’t discriminate on the basis of religion.

            If your goal in life is to legally be able to stick it to Catholics, you don’t have to destroy family law and marriage to do that Rob.

            1. You have that now.

              Yep.

              just pass a law that says that private parties do not have to recognize marriages.

              Even easier to pass a law preventing public parties from recognizing marriages.

              1. And even if you got rid of marriage licenses, it would still be illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of religion Rob.

                1. Rob

                  Who are you talking to? I see a Robert upthread, but no Rob.

                2. How would that work, Rob?

                  Consider employment: many employers offer benefits for married couples or otherwise wish to have such information. The military in particular has many benefits contingent on marriage; how would a law prohibiting public parties affect that?

                  Then there is the fact when it comes to two folks writing their own contract which intersects with family law, division of property, cohabitation, and other such issues it is difficult to construct a viable contract or one that is even enforceable when it comes to certain provisions. Contract law is not a panacea when said contracts are being written by non-lawyers in areas of law that are exceedingly complex.

                  John is right; libertarians haven’t thought through the implications for what they propose.

                  1. “Then there is the fact when it comes to two folks writing their own contract which intersects with family law, division of property, cohabitation, and other such issues it is difficult to construct a viable contract or one that is even enforceable when it comes to certain provisions.”

                    I think most people here think there should be major overhauls to those areas of law. And it’s not like what you’re saying isn’t applicable to virtually any contract (just with different areas of the law).

                    “Contract law is not a panacea when said contracts are being written by non-lawyers in areas of law that are exceedingly complex.”

                    No system is perfect, I haven’t seen anyone claim contract law is a panacea (and neither is licensing). And who says people couldn’t get lawyers to write their contract? Who says the law has to be as complex as it currently is?

                  2. Consider employment: many employers offer benefits for married couples or otherwise wish to have such information. The military in particular has many benefits contingent on marriage; how would a law prohibiting public parties affect that?

                    Employers could work out for themselves who they consider “married” for the purposes of their benefit plan, which many companies currently do for gay partners.

                    In regards to the military (or SS, which is another good example) you’ve hit on a feature, not a bug. A big part of the reason for doing away with the state sanctioning of marriage, and a reform that would likely accompany the ideal libertarian implementation of a private marriage system, is to end the system of privilege attached to one’s relationship status. Because it’s unfair and unequal.

        2. I think John’s solution is that homosexuals have to win the matter at the ballot box.

          No. They will have to do that anyway no matter what system you have.

  17. It’s high time the gays have to put up with the goddamned marriage/divorce laws like everyone else.

  18. Typical GOP strategy: back a statist solution, and only start talking about limited government when the realize that the GOP-backed statist solution is less popular than the DNC-back statist solution.

    Maybe if they tried to small government policy from the get go, they’d actually win one of these days.

    1. No one in the GOP wants to get rid of family law. This is a strictly libertarian form of idiocy.

      1. Im a registered GOPer.

        1. Sorry, John can’t here you over the sound of his own “well reasoned” argument.

    2. You have to admit it’s going to be fairly delicious watching the socons clamor to end state-licensed marriage once it starts resulting in outcomes they don’t like. Zero to libertarian in less than a generation.

      1. Good riddance? Or, get off my lawn!

  19. I hadn’t realized there were blogger-columnists here who could exceed S. Chapman in dumbth.

  20. I’m too busy to read through the entire response to my post upthread, so I’ll summarize in response to John’s arguments.

    Yes, there probably would continue to be debates over gay marriage in a pure contract system, but there is still a meaningful difference between the government a priori determining who can get married by issuing licenses, and the government invalidating a contract when it is taken to court. In case A, whole classes of people are prevented from getting married in the first place, and in case B, a class of people MAY have their contract invalidated IF they ever decide to go to court for a divorce settlement or an inheritance.

    I think it also changes the terms of the debate some when you frame the issue not as “who should be allowed to marry?” but as “which contracts should the state recognize?”

  21. To put it succinctly there’d be nothing to talk about if the lawmakers hadn’t entwined their legal tentacles into everyone’s marriage in the first place.

    1. What you say is true, but only if you realize “lawmakers” means a vast number of people evolving concepts diffusely going back to prehistoric time. Same sex marriage would be the same issue today even if there were never any statutory law but only common law. However, the stakes would not be as great because without statutes there wouldn’t be gov’t bennies.

      1. What you say is true, but only if you realize “lawmakers” means a vast number of people evolving concepts diffusely going back to prehistoric time.

        Civil marriage is a relatively recent concept, and certainly not pre-historic. At the minimum you need a legal framework in order to have civil marriage.

        …the stakes would not be as great because without statutes there wouldn’t be gov’t bennies.

        That’s really the crux of the argument. The only real function of civil marriage is to disperse benefits and privileges. Instead of nitpicking about who gets to be the recipients of those benefits and privileges, why not do the fair thing and just stop giving away benefits and privileges to people in the “right” kinds of government-recognized relationships?

  22. It’s interesting that in such a long thread on this topic nobody has mentioned the reason we have marriage licenses in this country. Discrimination, exclusively. To prevent black and white people from marrying, initially, but also inclusive of polygamy and gay marriage. It creates a group of haves, and everybody else is in the have-nots. You don’t fit our club, so you aren’t allowed to marry, period. Then, through the courts, interracial marriage became legal, yet polygamy and gay marriage was still in the have-nots.

    So, knowing full well that the reason we have marriage licenses is to discriminate, why are you supportive of that? It’s none of your business if or how other people choose to marry, and using the government to enforce your view of it onto others strikes me as pretty immoral.

    There is no need for a marriage license.

  23. Marriage is a religious rite and shouldn’t be given special privileges by the government. But the argument is specious about discrimination being the reason for overturning DOMA the government for years has used the tax code to discriminate. That’s what the government does. It picks winners and losers and influences people to give money to certain politicians and therein lies the power that politicians crave. The only way to really have a free society is ban taxation in this way and move to a consumption tax and take away that power

    1. Marriage existed before religious rites. Religions had to acknowledge marriage as a pre-existing phenomenon, except for religions that forbid marriage.

      1. Sorry Robert, my reading about marriage and religion only go back about 6,000 years. You obviously have information that predates mine

  24. “Let’s Divorce Marriage from the Government”

    Excellent idea!

    “If the government gives out stuff, it’s reasonable to insist that it give it out in the most fair-minded basis.”

    The government doesn’t have any “stuff” to give out–it was all paid for by the ever diminishing percentage of the population that actually pays taxes. There’s no really fair way to give out stuff to some people that other people have paid for.

  25. Greenhut argues for separation of state and marriage, and I agree.

    A shorter argument is that government should treat us all equally, as individuals, and not discriminate based upon marriage. And government does discriminate in the tax law based on one’s marriage status – which isn’t fair or just.

    This isn’t to say government shouldn’t be involved in protecting children, and having default rules/laws regarding guardianship (where parents haven’t created their own contracts regarding taking care of their kids) and support for children. Biological parents, while typically married, aren’t always. And this should be based on paternity, not marriage. Otherwise, we get the unjust court orders, e.g., forcing husbands to support children of their cheating wives, rather than the wife and father being responsible.

  26. Greenhut’s last point about social conservatives “wanting to impose their values on others by using government” are so important for social conservatives to learn. If you want to use government to impose your own values on others, you give liberals the right to impose their values on you, potentially forcing conservatives to act against their values, or go to jail.

    It’s better that government not be used to impose values on individuals. Instead, it should be limited to dealing situations where one party harms another, not where someone is just offended. E.G. a couple living together without being married which is still against the law in Mississippi, Florida and Michigan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C…..ted_States Just think about the harm the government would cause to their innocent children, by locking up the unmarried couple.

  27. Exactly. I do genealogy and the government marriage records only go back to the mid 1800s. After that you have to search church records. Someone in the govt must have figured out that marriage would be more tax revenue. That’s all it is … a Tax. The government should just get out of the marriage business all together and leave it to the church. Each church can decide its own definition of a marriage.

  28. I recall this all started when people sued to be included in their partner’s health plan. With good reason as we all know gays have elevated health risks. Maybe Obamacare will preclude gays from having to sue to get coverage.

  29. I agree with the broad sentiments expressed in this article, but believe there may be a Burkean argument against changing too much too quickly: The institution of marriage itself is in a state of scary collapse and even the most libertarian-minded among us should pause to consider what new family structures might be evolving to take its place.

    I firmly support the right of gays to marry but I too question the emphasis on the term “marriage” versus the more utilitarian “civil unions”. Gay people insisting on the same terminology strikes me not so much as seeking full equality but rather seeking permission from society at large that they are okay — (which, of course, they are) — but in a way that gives up their power and seeks larger social approval.

    Who ultimately cares whether gay marriage is called a civil union or a marriage? If I were gay, I surely wouldn’t care — if the same legal entitlements accrue. The emphasis on going beyond civil unions to marriage seems overwrought and akin to wishing to entirely domesticate homosexuality — an ultimately hapless pursuit, despite the many happy domesticated gay couples who outlast domesticated straights.

    Gays are arriving at marriage at about the same time as Katie Couric arrived at the female television anchor position — meaning just as marriage is becoming obsolete gays have achieved it. Yea!

    One need not like Rick Santorum to aver that there is a cultural chaos at this moment that is cause for concern.

  30. I agree that we need to get government out of marriage.
    A marriage performed by a minister is currently not legal until it has been recorded at a recorder’s office. The effect is that a marriage becomes a business partnership with no articles of agreement. That’s why there is so much confusion during a divorce.
    No business person in his/her right mind would ever enter into a business arrangement without some kind of agreement on how each partner is to participate, how the profits are to be divided and how the assets are to be divided if the partnership is terminated.
    I would suggest that a marriage for cohabitation’s sake should be separate from the government and that the only thing that the government should require is a pre-nuptial business agreement from every couple to be recorded just in case they decide to no longer cohabitate. This would surely cut down on the nastiness of our current divorce fiascos and allow the personal cultural views of cohabitation to play out on a personal basis while allowing the “business” partnership to be considered equally as to government benefits.

  31. “State-out-of-marriage” is a defensible position.
    But follow the inexorable logic of the conclusions.
    FIRST, progressive tax rates are indefensible. Two individuals, each $50k a year. How much tax should they pay in total? Suppose they “join forces.” Do we expect them to pay MORE? Suppose one cares for the home so the other can earn $100k. Do we ask MORE?
    Progressive rates become incoherent.
    SECOND, the state must not borrow except for long-lived assets. But we borrow for current consumption. That is just deferred tax.
    We may have two individuals enjoying current benefits. But suppose one bears the cost of raising children while second does not. The second is a free rider, a cheater. Childlessness is the new tragedy of the commons.
    So which is it? The state cannot dodge all participation in marriage and procreation, AND impose progressive tax, AND borrow to spend. EITHER the state is responsible to support the next generation OR live within current means, and fairly.
    That latter is implausible given the base nature of man,especially politicians. We must admit a continuing responsibility to allocate costs fairly, this generation and the next.
    But there is no floor to shamelessness of the left. We will suffer irresponsible behavior and unfair allocations. That in turn will set irrational incentives and drive destructive responses.
    Alas.

    1. you just tax them as individuals, because that’s what they are. If it’s a one income family then they have another dependent….it simplifies the tax code and stops discriminating against single people

  32. Early on in our social history it was realized that, in order for human beings to live as a community we needed to regulate taking things, killing things and fuc*ing things. Any and all, left to their own devices, were sources of disharmony and discord.

    Any society that left these proclivities up to individual choice, even when it was consensual, didn’t last long.

    Human beings change over time, but we haven’t advanced far enough along the chain of evolution to not get upset when another human being takes our stuff, our mate or our life. Until we get that far, marriage had best be as regulated as we can make it.

    1. Popsiq says: “Any society that left these proclivities up to individual choice, even when it was consensual, didn’t last long.”

      Do you have a citation for this? As far as I know, this Constitutional Republic we call the United States, is the first time “[leaving] these proclivities up to individual choice” has ever been tried – that’s what makes the USA unique in history.

      And more and more people are realizing that Freedom is Better.

  33. If the government gives out stuff, it’s reasonable to insist that it give it out in the most fair-minded basis.

    Which would mean not privileging people based on lifestyle – marriage.

  34. Remove the federal government from marriage, including tax, criminal, and estate law. After all, if the feds cannot define marriage, then they cannot be in the business of handing out goodies to “married” people. Do (or propose) this and I think that the cheerleaders for gay “marriage” will suddenly decide that it’s not such a good idea.

  35. So, when will the institutionalized discrimination against single people end? The Gays only want the same tax breaks, handouts, and other special privileges that the married class get (at the expense of us single folks).

  36. We should always hold a government’s case against an accuser to the highest degree of examination. Doubting the government is sometimes the best thing we can do. In Hogan’s defense, the actual facts of the case have yet to be provided completely as they will in trial. Despite all the checks and balances, the government is not actually always right in its prosecution of criminals and does get things wrong. I think that what Hogan has written hogan shoes sale so far is complete and utter crap and makes little or no sense, and if any attorney advised him that this was a smart idea, he needs to get another attorney really damn fast. However, that doesn’t matter when it comes to the case against him. It is the responsibility of the Government to prove beyond a preponderance of the evidence that he committed a crime. It is not Hogan’s responsibility to have to prove his own innocence.

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  38. Why would i care if someone wants to marry two men, a women a got or a chair?

  39. First, I don’t think I’ve seen anything in these comments that comes close to the truth.

    Nobody is required to get a marriage license, inasmuch as marriage is a fundamental right: so said SCOTUS in Meister v Moore, 1878.

    A license is permission to do that which is illegal, unlawful a trespass or a tort. Anyone who (although they are not required to do so) gets a marriage license is subject to the jurisdiction of the courts. Period.

    Marriage via contract, in accordance to the couple’s rights of religious free exercise and their right to marry and their right to be free from interference in contract is absolute. Look at the DeJong case (Michigan Supreme Court) regarding homeschooling. A well written marital contract based on religious rights can completely remove the state courts because the contract requires binding arbitration by an ecclesiastical court per 1st Corinthians 6:1-6.

    The contract defines everything, provides for binding arbitration and the couple waive their right to pursue actions in family court. Done. The exit clause follows the law of the bondservant (Exodus 21:1-6) and any Christian who wants out and wants to petition for divorce only has to renounce their faith. The contract stipulates that the children remain with the left-behind partner. Done.

    It’s all based on religious free exercise, which requires strict scrutiny, and if you can’t win on “compelling interest” you certainly aren’t going to win on “rational basis.”

  40. I think it is the power of attorney or something that allows a person to handle all transactions once a person dies or is incapacitated. You can give that to anybody you chose without being married to them. Pagar Rumah Minimalis

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  42. Not really. Marriage is primarily a pact between two people and, in the view of many, a sacrament of the church. The Desain Rumah Simpel

  43. Marriage has always been a matter of church creed, as has the form in which it takes so the government’s involvement in defining marriage is completely contrary to the establishment clause. The word, “sanctioning” comes from the same origin as “sacred” and it’s often called “holy” matrimony, not “secular” matrimony. Getting the gov out of marriage would have also solved the dispute the Mormons had with polygamy. The irony is that the gay marriage crowd and the old Mormon polygamists are on the same side of the issue really but the gov has convinced them they are political adversaries. The tax code would also be less discriminatory against singles and simpler. Government involvement in marriage is unquestionably unconstitutional.

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