Gay Marriage

Why Libertarians Shouldn't Let Cons and Progs Abuse Their Ideas on Gay Marriage

Libertarians should stay out of the next round of the culture wars.

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By advocating for limited government that stays out of the bedroom, we libertarians have played a crucial role in the American victory for same-sex marriage. And in the next round of culture wars that the Supreme Court's landmark ruling is already spawning, it seems both sides—religious conservatives and gay-right advocates—are turning to

Gay Wedding
joseanavas / Foter / CC BY

libertarian-oriented remedies to advance their agenda.

But that last part is actually is not good news for libertarians. Why? Because both sides are using libertarian ideas as a cudgel, not an olive branch.

Libertarianism has been at the forefront of the gay rights cause from the get-go. Reason has always maintained that the government has no business regulating—much less criminalizing—what two people do behind closed doors so long as they don't hurt anyone. It is no exaggeration to suggest that this simple moral intuition to live and let live eventually produced the rapid-fire revolution in public opinion that culminated in the Supreme Court ruling (even though its legal reasoning is a holy mess).

As Cato Institute's David Boaz points out, libertarians were making arguments in support of gay marriage way before the cause became hip among progressives. The Libertarian Party demanded equality for gays back in 1972, when the Democratic vice presidential nominee was still referring to gays as "queers," and endorsed gay marriage in 1976. Indeed, John Podesta, founder of the premier progressive think tank Center for Progress and a perennial advisor to Democratic presidents, noted in 2011 that one would have probably had to be a libertarian to support gay marriage 15 years earlier, notes Boaz.

But now, in the wake of the gay marriage revolution, conservatives and progressives alike are turning to libertarian ideas—and both for the wrong reasons.

Progressives are doing it to settle a vendetta against religious conservatives and reverse-persecute them for their private beliefs. And religious conservatives are trying to refight the wars of the sexual revolution.

Let's begin with the left. As if on cue, no sooner did the ruling come out than progressives such as Felix Salmon started calling for scrapping the tax-exempt status of religious non-profits that preach against gay marriage, just as conservatives had feared would happen. "It would be unconstitutional to single out religious institutions to make them pay more tax than anybody else, but the government has every right to stop giving them tax-free privileges," Salmon harrumphed. But since denying some faith-based organizations a tax exemption because of their faith would be a violation of their First Amendment rights—something that Justice Kennedy said he wouldn't stand for in his majority opinion—Salmon hinted he would be fine with the "libertarian" solution to "abolish tax exemption for all religious organizations."

Salmon predictably trotted out the analogy with Bob Jones University losing its tax-exempt status when it continued to preach against interracial marriage after the passage of the Civil Rights Act to justify yanking the tax exemptions of anti-gay churches. But here's the thing: Odious though this execrable organization's views are, from a pure libertarian standpoint, it probably shouldn't have been singled out—so long as it was only preaching against interracial marriages, not taking coercive action to prevent them. The reason that it was politically possible to slap down Bob Jones was that the university was part of a dominant white establishment that had long oppressed blacks. Singling it out was a way for whites to purge their own inner demons.

However, today's opposition to gay marriage, awful though it is, emanates not only from finger-wagging, Bible-thumping whites, but also many minorities. Homophobia is arguably more prevalent among blacks and Latinos than religious whites. Yet their churches perform vital services for minority children, offering a semblance of stability in a sea of poverty and family breakdown. Taking away their tax exemption—either by targeting them specifically or as part of an overall rollback—would consign these children to even more misery. And politically, it would be nearly impossible. This would make gays-rights activists look like fanatical Jacobins willing to sacrifice living, breathing humans to satisfy a thin-skinned need to purge every last vestige of anti-gay animus.

But progressives are not the only ones misusing libertarian ideas when it comes to gay marriage. Conservatives are, too.

New York Times columnist David Brooks has warned religious conservatives that they will continue fighting the sexual revolution at the risk of alienating future generations of Americans. Far better, he advises, would be to define a rich faith like Christianity not solely by its opposition to harmless sexual behavior, but by doubling down on its "good works" traditions to win back lost hearts and minds.

However, instead of doing that, religious conservatives are already looking for ways to flout the Supreme Court ruling. Since Justice Kennedy ruled that states can't selectively withhold marriage licenses from gay couples without running afoul of the 14th Amendment's equal treatment injunction, Sen. Rand Paul, the libertarian-leaning Republican presidential aspirant from Kentucky, is calling on them to simply get out of the marriage business. What's more, Texas and Mississippi are heeding his call and have announced they might stop issuing marriage licenses altogether.

Privatizing marriage is a long-standing libertarian idea whose whole purpose was to foster John Stuart Mill's "thousand experiments in living." Pulling it out now to deny gays an opportunity to get married—in a sense, keeping alive discrimination by privatizing it—will not just pervert the idea but also discredit it, just as the bedrock libertarian principle of voluntary association became suspect when it was invoked by racists during the Civil Rights struggle to legitimize private discrimination against blacks.

The fate of ideas depends very much on the causes to which they get hitched. The gay marriage ruling is a victory for libertarians. But this victory will be short lived if we don't negotiate the new round of culture wars carefully to prevent our ideas from being deployed for nefarious causes by both the left and right.

This column originally appeared in The Week.

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  1. Reason has always maintained that the government has no business regulating?much less criminalizing?what two people do behind closed doors so long as they don’t hurt anyone.

    Except that what they do was not criminalized. It is for polygamous relationships, but we haven’t been bombarded with articles about that despite it being a far more egregious violation of freedom.

    1. No, homosexual activity was criminalized in at least much of the USA when Reason got started.

      1. Nobody enforced such criminal laws as were on the books back then. Gays have grossly exaggerated their difficulties. Most of their problem is that they chose to behave in a fashion that everyone found offensive or stupid or both. Everyone mostly still feels that way – they just don’t want to get involved with these folks. If they want to behave in a sexually dysfunctional fashion, well, it’s their loss.

        1. I don’t think they have grossly exaggerated their difficulties. Maybe somewhat if you consider only the last ten years. But, most gays I know have been beaten up more than once or twice just for being gay.

          I sometimes think the test for a society is how ignored their gays are. Which we were close to being a while ago. Now, gay activists have turned the tide and they are back to experiencing backlash.

          1. But, most gays I know have been beaten up more than once or twice just for being gay.

            What does that have to do with anything… I’ve been beaten up more than once or twice just for being “smart”.

            I remember the 11 yr old me being thrown head first into a trash can when I was taking Plane Geometry at the HS next door to my middle school in 1975… and taking some more lumps the next year while taking Algebra2/Trig. When I was in Calculus as a 14 yr old, 4 kids kicked my ass and stole my textbook. I had to pay to replace it myself because dad said, “figure out a solution”.

            I did. 1 died young, another died 10 yrs ago- and I think I’ve got a line on the third one recently…

            1. They see you mowin’ your front lawn?
              You know they’re all thinkin’ you’re so
              White and nerdy.

        2. If they want to behave in a sexually dysfunctional fashion, well, it’s their loss.

          What do you mean by “sexually dysfunctional” in this situation?

        3. Nobody enforced such criminal laws as were on the books back then.

          Of course they did. Gay bar owners got threatened, people were entrapped by undercover police, homosexuality was considered a problem for immigration and security clearances, etc.

          Most of their problem is that they chose to behave in a fashion that everyone found offensive or stupid or both.

          That’s what I keep saying about people who worship a bloody corpse on an instrument of torture and drink blood during their dark ceremonies. Who wants to associate with people like that?

          1. Fuck off, slaver.

        4. You either have a short memory, or just no knowledge of history whatsoever. However obnoxious the Politically Gay may be now, they did suffer from being outlawed in my liftime.

          Doesn’t make the revenge they want now justified, mind. Or smart, for that matter. They are a tiny minority, and if they manage to convince enough of the Majority Christian population that they are attacking Christianity, they are in deep do-do. That would crack the Democrat multi-racial coalition to flinders. The Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressive establishment may like being all transgressive and forward-thinking about Gays and Trans and so forth, but they like power one hell of a lot more.

        5. No they have not.

          http://news.yahoo.com/video/un…..000816.htm

  2. “libertarians have played a crucial role in the American victory’

    really?

    “Pulling it out now to deny gays an opportunity to get married?in a sense, keeping alive discrimination by privatizing it?will not just pervert the idea but also discredit it”

    Gays were never denied the opportunity to get married, nor would they be if the government was out of the marriage business. Seems like a live and let live solution would do more to foster a reduction in discrimination than the continued culture war has.

    1. Just thinking out loud here, but if government gets out of marriage, what happens to an American citizen and his or her foreign-born spouse?

      1. Yeah, it’s definitely a complicated proposal given how intricately marriage has been threaded throughout the legal system. But then again if I choose to be in a committed relationship but choose to not get “married” why shouldn’t me and my foreign lover be afforded those same rights as husband and wife or whatever.

        1. Just thinking out loud as well:)

        2. Presumably your not afforded those benefits because you chose not to get a marriage contract.

        3. There no reason the state can’t recognise marriages without also pretending to itself have created them through some mystical power of the godstate. Nor is there any natural progression from legally recognising that some people have married each other to having to treat persons so engaged as part of a social class vastly different to unmarried persons with respect to every flipping interaction between citizen and state. Furthermore, it is entirely possible to recognise that people have married each other each time the matter is of relevance, without requiring some sort of official pronouncement or state issued proclamation, which would inevitably degenerate into once again a state in which marriage treated as though something granted by the divine sovereign powers of government and not as a simple disposition of man’s innate powers as a moral agent. The absurdity of state-granted marriage is further that it has created a very special class of contract, one in which there is no consideration and to the terms of which the contractors are held at the random whimsy of the magistrates. At this point, one can’t consider it a legal contract, as it fails to meet the basic requirements of one.

          1. “Furthermore, it is entirely possible to recognise that people have married each other each time the matter is of relevance, without requiring some sort of official pronouncement or state issued proclamation….”

            I can attest to this possibility, since I have never submitted to petitioning the state for permission to marry and have instead confected a marriage privately and have simply asserted the fact whenever it has become necessary, on a case by case basis. Documents may be produced, but never any state-generated permission slip nor anything else that admits that the power to marry proceeded forth from anyone but the parties involved.

            1. My question is whether the feds will take your say-so when it comes to allowing your foreign-born spouse to live here. If they do, then that would remove my main reason for supporting government recognition of gay marriage.

              1. If we want to do away with marriage contracts and have people treated as individuals then there is no need for a foreign born spouse to be able to immigrate any easier than a foreign born single person. If it’s simply a right to be able to point to someone and streamline them through immigration than why even stop at people who engage in erotic relationships? Why can’t I point to my best friend and give him such privileges?

                1. then there is no need for a foreign born spouse to be able to immigrate any easier than a foreign born single person

                  And we all know how efficient that process is. I’ve been through a long-distance relationship because of immigration issues – it sucks.

                  Why can’t I point to my best friend and give him such privileges?

                  Do you really believe there is no qualitative difference between a marriage and a friendship?

                  1. Do you really believe there is no qualitative difference between a marriage and a friendship?

                    For government benefits the quality of the relationship is irrelevant. Only the legality counts.

          2. There no reason the state can’t recognise marriages without also pretending to itself have created them through some mystical power of the godstate.

            Indeed, that was the case since, like, forever until about now.

            When law was invented, it was obvious that some accommod’n needed to be made for families to treat them rather than individuals as the relevant unit in some cases. The more individualist (i.e. libertarian) the law was, the more of a problem this was, because you’d want to still allow individuals to be treated as such wherever feasible. This led to 2 desiderata: (1) to still allow for at least some degree of separate rx of individuals even with a family; (2) to have the benefit of the doubt go toward considering given individuals as not being part of a family.

        4. Really, the only solution is to get the state out of everything altogether.

          1. Except for the roadz. Why won’t anybody think of the roadz?!?!?!?!???elevtyone?

        5. There has to be some kind of contract in place to make it official if we’re talking about something like citizenship or health benefits or insurance payouts. Otherwise it would be way too easy to game the system.

          Not that it’s impossible to game the system now, but removing the contract would make it much easier and give zero legal recourse to sue for fraud.

          1. With health insurance, companies (until ACA makes them give up providing health insurance at all) would probably just cover the employee and any other adults covered would pay a premium, albeit prob higher than a single spouse now pays.
            Life insurance is easy, the person who died is covered for a certain amount. The policy shows how that money is divvied up.
            Citizenship might be tougher, but rules could be established( and let’s face it, all kinds of people do bs marriages now for green cards, citizenship etc.)

        6. The State can recognize domestic partnership arrangements in their legal codes and not define it much further than that.

          Marriage is to some people a religious rite. Not to others. I don’t think many people would object to a ‘domestic partnership act’ outlining rights and responsibilities in the event of a breakup if it were not referred to as a marriage.

          Let the marriages being entirely between the couples and their friends and families.

      2. It seems to me that at the end of the day you have government treating some citizens differently than others based on their relationship status. And of course lot of that has to do with the government endorsing and attempting to promote marriage. Then they turn around and do the exact opposite with the welfare state which discourages marriage (except to the sugar daddy state).

        1. I don’t see them treating them differently based on relationship status, they treat them differently based on having a marriage license. So they treat them for instance as sharing property, because they agreed to that when getting married. They could have chose to not get a marriage license, and just do a ceremony and hash out the legalities with other contracts. None of this strikes me as any violation of equal protection, especially since it’s voluntary. Some things that are less voluntary are the way the government treats people with different incomes unequally with taxes, or give women’s different standards in the military. The idea that the government could or should have every program treat everyone equally is plainly absurd and impossible.

        2. This is not the government, but just an example of this type of discrimination actually going on in the country. Where I work, as a straight person, I have to be married for my partner to get benefits through the workplace. However if I am gay, I would not be required to be married for my partner to receive those same benefits.

          If this were the other way around, I’m sure that the government would step into it immediately and demand the employer to treat gays equally. But as it is, they don’t care that straight couples are not treated equally.

          All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

          1. I have to be married for my partner to get benefits through the workplace. However if I am gay, I would not be required to be married for my partner to receive those same benefits.

            There is specific anti-heterosexual language in the contract or handbook or whatever? Sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

          2. That’s easy Hyper, just have your signigicant other self identify as a male and tell your employer you’re gay married.

      3. Blow up the welfare state and it doesn’t matter. Most of these issues don’t matter, because under the thin veneer of social justice lies the massive jaw breaker of wealth redistribution.

        But an equally acceptable answer is to just keep expanding the bennies apparently.

      4. The spouse would have to go through the standard legal immigration process, just like everybody else. I don’t see why spouses should jump to the head of the line. It’s already a niche filled with fraud.

  3. “Salmon hinted he would be fine with the “libertarian” solution to “abolish tax exemption for all religious organizations.””

    I realize the libertarian is in quote marks but just to comment. I’m an atheist so I really don’t have any skin in the tax exempt church game but seems to me giving the government the ability to use it’s tax powers to punish or reward religious organizations would be unconstitutional under the first amendment.

    1. Does this abolition of religious tax exemptions include mosques? What happens when the Muslims say that this offends them and they threaten to blow shit up? Do the proggies then back off because they’re guilty of inciting violence?

    2. to me giving the government the ability to use it’s tax powers to punish or reward religious organizations would be unconstitutional under the first amendment.

      But that is exactly what is is currently doing. In order to be granted tax exempt status as a religion, the IRS needs to determine whether you are a “proper religion” or not. That is a clear violation of the establishment clause.

      I think “our organization is a religious organization” should never be the basis for special treatment by the government, because once it is, the government has to determine what is a religion and what is not.

      Churches should be treated no differently from chess clubs or orchid societies or poetry societies, both in tax status and with respect to non-discrimination and other legal requirements.

      1. Agreed, they should all be treated the same. None of them should be taxed and none of them should be subject to non-discrimination or other legal requirements.

        1. Sure, that’s fine with me. The less legal requirements and taxation the better.

          Hopefully, churches will now come on board calling for that.

    3. I’m an atheist too,mans I say we do have skin in the game, given that it grants special privilege to a societally-lionized segment at the expense of others. As a for-instance, if I withold information about a crime, I can be charged with conspiracy or contempt of court (if they want my testimony). Put a collar on a guy and that goes away.

      1. given that it grants special privilege to a societally-lionized segment at the expense of others.

        Not giving is not the same as taking, fuck tard.

        Dear jesus some people are fucking stupid.

  4. Let’s see…

    -Christians can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, so they can either defend their views on marriage (just like *Reason* does) or it can help the poor…but not both.

    -SoCons in a couple states are suggesting that the government stop issuing marriage licenses, just like libertarians have been urging for years…but it doesn’t count because SoCons are icky.

    1. Christians can’t walk and chew gum at the same time, so they can either defend their views on marriage (just like *Reason* does)

      Stop pretending that social conservatives speak for all Christians. My church has performed gay marriages for years.

      or it can help the poor…but not both.

      Whether churches are helping the poor is irrelevant to anything (and rather doubtful too).

      -SoCons in a couple states are suggesting that the government stop issuing marriage licenses, just like libertarians have been urging for years…but it doesn’t count because SoCons are icky.

      Given that their position until recently was that society would fall apart unless government micro-manages marriage, it seems likely that their “suggestions” are a political ploy rather than a genuine conversion to libertarian principles.

      And even if they have come around to libertarianism on this one point, SoCons are still staunchly anti-libertarian on numerous other positions, meaning that it is likely that treating them as political enemies rather than allies is the right strategy for libertarians.

      1. “Stop pretending that social conservatives speak for all Christians.”

        OK, I will refer to non-politically-correct Christians.

        “Whether churches are helping the poor is irrelevant to anything (and rather doubtful too).”

        In the article, she quotes David Brooks as saying that non-PC Christians should stop defending marriage and help the poor instead. That’s what I was responding to.

        And of course it’s a given that Shikha and yourself see SoCons as the enemy, but Shikha went even further and said that their SoCon ickiness and the timing of their proposal meant that a policy which under other circumstances would be good was converted into a Bad Thing.

        1. I read it the same way.

          Get government out of the marriage business. Okay. Ooops, the wrong person said it, so now I’m against it.

          1. I did too. It’s simple, get government out of marriage other than contract rights (which the rights should apply to all).

            If this doesn’t happen this shit will be going on for decades going forward.

            Shika is full of shit selectively railing against some southern states that may change the law so clerks won’t have to act against their real or perceived religious beliefs. I thought the libertarian position was to get the state out of the marriage bidness? Is Shika a closet prog?

            Who cares what reason the states get out of the marriage bidness. The sooner the better.

            1. Is Shika a closet prog?

              She is a progressive. I cannot confirm her ‘closeted’ status other than to say it is poor.

              She thinks Hillary’s change in direction wrt immigration is brilliant and she fundamentally detests conservatives? Read her article history here at Reason. The majority are decidedly anti-liberty, I can only assume she’s a token hire.

        2. SoCon ickiness and the timing of their proposal meant that a policy which under other circumstances would be good was converted into a Bad Thing

          It’s not SoCon ickiness, it’s SoCon credibility that’s the issue. There is no way that their “proposal” is serious: it contradicts everything else they advocate, and it is completely legally impractical. Any SoCon that proposes privatizing marriage in a state is either naive or dishonest.

          More generally, I don’t see any significant differences between SoCons and progressives: with occasional exceptions (maybe that includes you), they pay lip service to liberty only when they can use it to hit their arch enemies over the head with it. And the ultimate visions of society of both SoCons and progressives are inherently totalitarian.

          1. THIS.

            Both are statists. They just differ on a few of the details.

          2. Difference is the vast majority of the people in one party are not SoCons, while the majority in another party are Progressives.

            Most Conservatives bear their names well, they want the status quo. The reasons for that are clear and honest, if not always logical or reasonable. Sometimes they get duped, as they did with Bush.

            Most progressives however want and find no issue with totalitarianism. That is, in fact, a basic tenet of their ideology.

            I have much, much more respect for conservatives than I do Progressives. I seem to have little respect for libertarians who want to claim that the people who make up both teams are actually the same. It is intellectually lazy, to say the least.

            1. Difference is the vast majority of the people in one party are not SoCons, while the majority in another party are Progressives.

              If you look at polls and other analyses of voters, social conservatives and progressives are probably about evenly matched, both among voters as a whole, and party-to-party.

              I have much, much more respect for conservatives than I do Progressives. I seem to have little respect for libertarians who want to claim that the people who make up both teams are actually the same. It is intellectually lazy, to say the least.

              What is intellectual lazy is to talk about “conservatives” in an American political context, lumping together American traditionalists with social conservatives (usually religiously inspired) and their fiction of a society that never was. The latter are totalitarian and dishonest, as two centuries of European history shows.

          3. I don’t see how the idea that we eliminate marriage licenses is legally impractical. The marriage *license* is a very new thing in the history of mankind, as opposed to marriage laws which date back farther than Hammurabi’s Law. How could the law not accommodate for this shift any more than it could accommodate for the redefining of marriage to be between 2 consenting adults regardless of gender?

          4. I don’t see how the idea that we eliminate marriage licenses is legally impractical. The marriage *license* is a very new thing in the history of mankind, as opposed to marriage laws which date back farther than Hammurabi’s Law. How could the law not accommodate for this shift any more than it could accommodate for the redefining of marriage to be between 2 consenting adults regardless of gender?

            1. I only hit submit once. Not sure how it posted twice

      2. Everybody who’s not a radical libertarian is staunchly anti-libertarian re some things, so treat everybody who isn’t exactly like you are as political enemies?

        1. Come to think of it, what good does it do to have any political enemies? I don’t see how you get anywhere by treating anybody as a political enemy, unless you can develop the power to do them evil, a la Nixon.

          1. Come to think of it, what good does it do to have any political enemies?

            Nothing, obviously. But it is their choice that they are political enemies of libertarians, not ours. The Catholic church is pretty clear about its position: its officials say that libertarianism is incompatible with Catholicism.

            I’m just saying that we would be foolish to ignore the fact that they consider libertarians their enemy, or believe that they turned around their political views on a dime.

            If social conservatives want to work with libertarians, they have a long road ahead of them demonstrating that their politics has changed and that they are honest and reliable allies.

      3. Given that their position until recently was that society would fall apart unless government micro-manages marriage, it seems likely that their “suggestions” are a political ploy rather than a genuine conversion to libertarian principles.

        So. The. Fuck. What.

        Is getting the government out of the marriage business a good thing from a libertarian perspective or not. If you think it is and refuse to do it because some people urging it are doing so as a political ploy, you’re a hack, more interested in playing team games than advancing libertarian principles.

        1. I’m afraid it’s not enough to be Co-Belligerents. The author, and Win Bear, along with a lot of other libertarians appear to demand that SoCons convert to Liberalism before we allow them to join forces. Me, I’ll take a temporary coalition any day. I’m interested in winning, which means working with people we find icky when they are useful.

    2. -SoCons in a couple states are suggesting that the government stop issuing marriage licenses, just like libertarians have been urging for years…but it doesn’t count because SoCons are icky.

      Nooo… Many SoCons are now supporting it not because they’ve been principled supporters of separating government from marriage but because they will do anything to avoid giving same-sex couples governmental recognition as “married”.

      As the Shikster said at the beginning, it seems both sides?religious conservatives and gay-right advocates?are turning to libertarian-oriented remedies to advance their agenda.

      1. No shit, Sherlock, yet she is ok with one sides arguement.

  5. Man, it would be great if we could just agree to take religious liberty seriously and not try to limit it to certain religious beliefs.

    Marrying the person (or persons) you want to marry is part of the free exercise of religion. If the government forbids it, they are in violation of the Free Exercise clause of the first amendment. If the government provides benefits to marriages that fit criteria A, but not those that fir criteria B, they are establishing those religions that recognize only marriages that fit criteria A, and are disestablishing those religions that recognize marriages that fit criteria B, in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.

    Donating money to religious groups so they can pay to build religious buildings, hire religious workers, do charitable work, etc., is part of the free exercise of religion. If the government taxes those donations, they are infringing on the free exercise of religion in violation of the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment.

    There is no “that religion is super icky” exception.

    1. If the government taxes those donations

      I don’t see how this idea could ever pass muster unless you revoke the tax-exempt status of every single non-profit organization in the country. In other words, it’s FUD. Not gonna happen.

    2. Donating money to religious groups so they can pay to build religious buildings, hire religious workers, do charitable work, etc., is part of the free exercise of religion. If the government taxes those donations, they are infringing on the free exercise of religion

      I don’t see how. In fact, allowing churches as churches to be tax exempt is itself an establishment of religion, a government-granted privilege made available to literal establishments of religion.

      Now, if we get rid of the unconstitutional privilege now granted to churches, but keep the tax exemption for charities, churches can qualify for tax exemption just like any other organization that qualifies by doing good works. I know, never gonna happen, but I think you’ve got it backwards.

      The Constitution certainly does not require that churches be tax exempt; if anything, it prohibits making them tax exempt simply because they are churches.

      1. You don’t see how giving money to religious groups is part of the free exercise of religion? Or you don’t see how taxing an action infringes on being able to take that action?

        1. Except that that action is not taxed. It’s the making of the $ that’s taxed, but (if you’re such a big donor that it pays to itemize schedule A-B or the state equivalent) you get to treat the $ you donated as if you’d never made it in the 1st place.

        2. The overwhelming majority of all contributions to religious organizations are indeed taxed. For one thing, only 37% of tax returns itemize deductions. For another, there’s a 16% payroll or self-employment tax that enjoys no benefit of Schedule A deductions.

          The whole argument around tax deductions is, for most people, bogus. The US tax regime is so complex and so absurd … most folks don’t know the half of it. The whole gay marriage thing serves only to illustrate the absurdity.

      2. Normally, RC Dean, I respect your opinions, but you forget the first tenet of being a logical and respectable human being: Not giving is not the same as taking.

        Please repeat this to yourself at least a half dozen times until you understand this basic concept.

    3. Donating money to religious groups so they can pay to build religious buildings, hire religious workers, do charitable work, etc., is part of the free exercise of religion. If the government taxes those donations, they are infringing on the free exercise of religion in violation of the Free Exercise clause of the First Amendment.

      Churches are just private associations, no different from any other private organization. The First Amendment doesn’t give churches or religions any special status not available to other private organizations or beliefs.

      If you start giving religious organizations tax exempt status merely based on being religious organizations, then the IRS has to determine whether an organization is a proper religion or not, and that constitutes an “establishment of religion”. The only way the federal government does not violate the establishment clause is by treating churches the same way as any other private non-profit.

      There is no “that religion is super icky” exception.

      You are postulating a “religion is a super special belief and form association” exception, and that doesn’t exist. The Roman Catholic Church should be treated no different from Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, or the Asian lesbian roller skating club, because it’s not the government’s business to determine which one actually constitutes a “religion”.

      1. It’s true that whoever organizes as a religious not-for-profit could just as well organize as a secular not-for-profit for the same benefits. It’s just that getting legal recognition of that status is usually a lot easier for a church than a secular organiz’n, basically because IRS looks at your appl’n & says, “Lutheran church? Oh, yeah, we know who they are & how they operate; that’s easy.” It’s not the fact of being religious that makes it easier, but just that there are a few “standard” churches, doing “standard” things. It’s the same as if you open an affiliate of a big secular not-for-profit like the Red Cross or the Masons.

        1. It’s true that whoever organizes as a religious not-for-profit could just as well organize as a secular not-for-profit for the same benefits

          Except that they are not the same benefits. For example, in many states, a chess club cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation, but a “church” can. Furthermore, donations to many non-profits are not tax exempt, whereas for churches they are automatically tax exempt.

          “Lutheran church? Oh, yeah, we know who they are & how they operate; that’s easy.”

          Well, but do we? And why should a church qualify as a “charitable” organization if (as many do) it mostly uses the donations for is effectively lecturing its members and recruiting new members?

          1. So because a church gets freedom of association and others do no, no one should get freedom of association?

            Thanks for the insight, comrade.

            Seriously, you fucking atheists blow my mind with your hypocrisy.

            1. So because a church gets freedom of association and others do no, no one should get freedom of association?

              Correct. Granting freedom of association specifically to government-recognized religions constitutes an establishment of religion.

              Seriously, you fucking atheists blow my mind with your hypocrisy.

              Seriously, you fucking Christians blow my mind with your hypocrisy; after centuries of collaborating with totalitarians and mass murderers, you still think you deserve special privileges and people should treat you with respect.

    4. Here is where you miss the point, you define marriage from a religious viewpoint, if the only part of marriage the state gets into is the contract rights you are free (as you should be) to define what marriage is in your faith’s definition.

      If you (as a religious person ) want’s to ask the state to affirm your view you are toast. People will line up to get married in your church whether you want to marry them or not. If you don’t you will get sued and who knows what could happen.

      The best thing you could advocate for is getting government out of marriage if you value your religious freedom. That Free Exercise went out the window with freedom of association 50 years ago, bro, it ain’t going back.

  6. How about taxing profit, and since non-profits don’t make profit- no taxes.

    1. Makes sense to me!

      /L Ron Hubbard

    2. “How about taxing profit, and since non-profits don’t make profit- no taxes.”

      1. Yeah, that would be nice but the point is that since the corporate tax is essentially a double tax that isn’t taxing income it shouldn’t exist anyway and federal exemptions need not be made. Once that’s done, nobody needs to figure out who is a legitimate religions or not. The only question is whether they made profit.

    3. It’s not about their tax liability, but deductibility of donations made to them.

  7. If I’m following Ms. Dalmia’s argument on the progressive and tax exemptions:

    (1) It is perfectly alright to pull a tax exemption from a religious organization, even though it is only acting privately and non-coercively, if that organization is “part of a dominant white establishment”.

    (2) It is a terrible wrong to pull a tax exemption from a religious organization, even though it is only acting privately and non-coercively, when that organization is part of a minority community?

    IOW, spicing up your ideological intolerance with racism makes it palatable?

    This would make gays-rights activists look like fanatical Jacobins willing to sacrifice living, breathing humans to satisfy a thin-skinned need to purge every last vestige of anti-gay animus.

    Unlike gay rights activists who file lawsuits and complaints to close businesses and impose ruinous fines on people who aren’t even anti-gay, but have traditional ideas about marriage?

    1. This would make gays-rights activists look like fanatical Jacobins willing to sacrifice living, breathing humans to satisfy a thin-skinned need to purge every last vestige of anti-gay animus.

      I wonder if the reason for this appearance is that the activists (not the average gay guy on the street) ARE fanatical Jacobins willing to sacrifice living, breathing humans to satisfy said need.

  8. Privatizing marriage is a long-standing libertarian idea whose whole purpose was to foster John Stuart Mill’s “thousand experiments in living.” Pulling it out now to deny gays an opportunity to get married . . .

    Tell me again why privatized marriage would be denied to gay couples?

    1. Intentions. It’s all about the intentions. Who cares if it gives me what I want without actually injuring anyone else?

  9. No states are going to do this anyway. Just think of the poor divorce lawyers and family court employees.

    Why do you hate the children and want the terrorists to win, glibertarians?

  10. Means? Ends? I kant deal with that shit.

    1. I see what you did there.

  11. OT: Courtesy of TurdPenetration: How private industry violates human rights more efficiently that their public counterparts

    http://thinkprogress.org/immig…..on-center/

    The complaint charged that the contractor GEO Group, a privately-owned prison operator, randomly picked six detainees and forced them to clean rooms at the Aurora Detention Facility, where they were housed by “threatening to put those who refused to work (for no pay) in ‘the hole,'” or solitary confinement. Under GEO’s “Detainee Voluntary Work Program,” plaintiffs allegedly scrubbed bathrooms, showers, toilets, and windows, and did laundry in the medical facility. They also prepared and served detainee meals for law enforcement events sponsored by GEO, performed clerical work for GEO, prepared clothing for newly arriving detainees, provided barber services to detainees, and ran the facility’s law library.

    For all that labor, they were either paid $1 a day, or nothing at all.

    1. I don’t think prisoners working in prison is new, unusual, or bad.

      1. It depends on the conditions under which it occurs. I can only swear on my Intertubez honor that I don’t have any particular superstition against privatization of government functions but in cases like this, where it allows abuses like this to go on without accountability (and boy does it go on – this is just one of many examples) there really does need to be more oversight.

        1. I don’t see the violation here. In prison, the military, or your own house you have to clean and do laundry. Do we really need to provide room service to prisoners? They should clean the rooms, do the laundry, cook the food, mow the grass, etc. in fact, I’d wager that every single prison and jail facility in the country has prisoners doing the same. The only place you get room and board with no chores is a hotel and you pay for it. This is prison, if the worse they can complain about is a few chores then I guess it’s a pretty damn comfortable life. I suppose I’m a slave driver for having my kids do these sorts of chores also.

          1. I think the real complaint here is that an evil KKKorporashun is skimming filthy lucre off the backs of unpaid felons. The nobility of unpaid work can only be realized in the altruistic bosom of government.

            1. It’s actually that the corporations are, despite claims to the contrary, no better, and possibly substantially worse, than teh evil gubbermint.

              1. So, in refutation of claims that nobody actually made, you just want to make sure everyone knows that private prisons do exactly the same things that public prisons do (which I sort of presumed was rather the point), but it’s actually worse, because of the made up people who making the made up argument you came here to refute? Makes about as much sense as anything you ever post here.

                1. I know, right. Such a thing has never happened before on the internet.

        2. Privatizing prisons complex isn’t “privatization of government functions” in the libertarian sense, it’s rent seeking and crony capitalism, usual progressive practice.

          1. You know who else put people in prison?

      2. The extent to which American society innately shields by its very nature even its worst members from psychoemotional, social, moral, and financial deprivation is completely lost on the American-born. As an example, Russian penal colonies are devised and operated explicitly on the principle, and for the specific aim of, torturing their occupants into suicidal hopelessness. The sort of hell Russian inmates are subjected to would honestly skullfuck the hardest, most sadistic American gangbanger into infantile soiling and tears.

        1. Okay, then. Human rights are granted and removed at the whim of the state. Gotcha.

          1. I’m unsure whether that’s sarcasm. I was just illustrating a point, and the practical realities pertaining to it, not agreeing with the immorality that such realities entail.

        2. This is also one of the points I like to make when bleeding hearts state that all illegals are simply here to do the jobs that Americans won’t do.

          Meican prisons probably aren’t far from Soviet ones, just less based on politics and more on economic crime.

          If you were a thief in Meico would you stay there or would you cross the border ? Not only is there much more here worth stealing but a lot of it isn’t secured behind fences and walls like it is in Mexico . Ever been into Meixco ? Every middle class home is surrounded by a wrought iron fence. Upper class is behind walls and armed guards.

          So not only is there less opportunity for theft but if you get caught the penalities are much easier and the prisons have color TV.

          Therefore, all thieves with an IQ over 70 have left Mexico for greener pastures.

    2. Slavery is alive and well in the land of the free. Hey, does Aurora Detention Facility have a flag or anything that we can go crazy about and make them take it down? That will teach them.

    3. The constitution allows for slavery as a punishment for crime…

      Still, the main benefit to using private industry isn’t that they aren’t asshats, but that it ought to be easier to punish them for fuckery, since they don’t have qualified or absolute immunity for the actions like government officials.

    4. For all that labor, they were….paid $1 a day….

      Plus, room and board, medical/dental, counseling, job training….

    5. Better call the wahmbulance!!

      So convicted prisoners are being forced to do chores??
      Fucking slavery! Is scrubbing a bathroom cruel and unusual punishment?? On Odin’s eye if this bothers you, you need to check your outrage meter, it is way out of calibration.

  12. You know, now that I start thinking about it, this is probably a really terrible idea. Just think of the following scenario.

    Now void of contracts, the state will have lost one of it’s most cherished ways of fucking people over, primarily men. They are not going to give that up. So now that no actual contract exists, the state will just start declaring that people have entered into a contract by whatever vague and ever changing situations that they want. So you date a woman for a week, she comes over and leaves her toothbrush at your house. Now you’re entered into a contract that puts you on the hook financially, sucker.

    1. The state is losing its grip in this area regardless. Men are going their own way.

      It’s the reproductive equivalent of John Galt. He has arrived, in response to feminism.

      Which is fine for them, consent was never an obstacle to their ethics. All it means is emphasizing taxation to redistribute wealth between the genders instead of doing it individually via child support.

      The loss of bureaucratic paperwork for each family hurts them, but the same ends are achieved even if more streamlined and harder to conceal.

    2. Some states have Common Law Marriage already, in which, cohabitating for a certain period of time naturally forms a “marriage” regardless of whether you received a license or not, passing on all of the benefits and risks of the real thing. Cohabitate at your own risk fellas. The number of men willing to marry has been shrinking in the last couple of decades, so regardless of licenses we might expect a push for common law marriage in many states that don’t have it.

      I really don’t think that eliminating licensure will change things drastically–except eliminating the very minuscule paperwork of obtaining a license. Divorce court would likely remain intact along with everything else.

  13. This would make gays-rights activists look like fanatical Jacobins willing to sacrifice living, breathing humans to satisfy a thin-skinned need to purge every last vestige of anti-gay animus.

    Loved this sentence.

    1. Me, too, except for the implication that the more militant gay rightsers aren’t already acting like fanatical Jacobins, etc.

  14. “Salmon hinted he would be fine with the “libertarian” solution to “abolish tax exemption for all religious organizations.”

    Non-religious non-profits do get tax benefits? Because taxing non-profits for being religious is a government hostility to religion, not neutrality. The religious exemption from taxes is in part to prevent the government from using the tax code to indirectly control religious doctrine.

    1. The religious exemption from taxes is in part to prevent the government from using the tax code to indirectly control religious doctrine.

      Which is exactly what the exemption actually does (allow the government to indirectly control religious doctrine). First, it gives the government the authority to define what a real religion is for purposes of granting it privileges, which is the core meaning of “establishment of religion.”

      And, second, it allows the government to condition those privileges on religions doing what the government wants, in order to keep their privileges.

      Treat churches like any other charity, and this problem goes away.

      1. Of course then there is the question of whether it’s a church or a business.

        1. I’m not sure why this would even be a question, under “treating churches like any other charity”, rather than giving them their very own exemption (as we do now). But maybe I’m misreading you.

      2. No it does not. The government can target the tax code to impose punitive levels of taxation on churches that do not conform., which it cannot if churches are not subject to tax.

        1. 6 of one, half dozen of the other. Under the current system the government can just punitively yank tax exemption from any church that doesn’t conform to whatever standard is currently in vogue.

        2. The government can target the tax code to impose punitive levels of taxation on churches that do not conform.

          Perhaps.

          But, if churches are thrown in with all the other charities, attempting to impose ideological requirements is going to be a lot harder, either because it will apply to all charities, who collectively can put up more of a fight, or because it will single out churches specifically, which will raise Constitutional problems.

      3. I the USA at least, the authorities don’t attempt to control religious doctrine by such means. It’s all about familiarity w particular religious establishments.

        1. That is, they really, really don’t care what your religious doctrine is, & you’d bore bureaucrats to tears if they had to listen to you about it. Their only concern is, are you for real? The main way they tell whether you’re for real is by checking whether you’re part of something bigger that they’ve already ascertained is for real.

          1. The IRS under Lois Lerner seemed to be very interested in the religious doctrine of many of the organizations they were investigating. They mailed out questionaires about specifics of their prayers in regards to their tax status.

            I suspect if one prayed for Obama to lose in 2012 they were fucked.

  15. The dumbest article you’ll read all day:

    Sure, the city’s largest and most notorious fire occurred more than a 100 years ago and times have changed. But the dry spring and high temperatures of 1889 are eerily similar to the conditions of today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned.

    And hmm, I wonder what these two cities had in common:

    The NOAA reports that many of the largest city fires in recent memory ? Detroit in 2010 and Oakland in 1991 ? also happened during unusually dry years.

    http://q13fox.com/2015/07/09/n…..e-of-1889/

    1. But the dry spring and high temperatures of 1889 are eerily similar to the conditions of today, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned.

      Yet, although they are eerily similar, our current conditions are also entirely unprecedented because global warming!

      1. Get up to speed Win Bear, global warming is so 2014.

        http://goo.gl/TJIyvB

        The coming ice age will be here by 2030.

        Seems as though the sun has something to do with Mother Gaia’s temprature after all.

        Suck it Al Gore, at least you got yours while the getting was good.

        1. Quick, let’s burn as much fossil fuel as we can… more subsidies for the oil companies!

    1. Well their counting on a few hundred page views fron John to get beer money for tonight.

  16. Hacked hacking company: Terrorists could be using our tools right now

    As if they weren’t before *rolls eyes*
    Hacking Team Shows the World How Not to Stockpile Exploits

    The company also said that “[b]efore the attack, HackingTeam could control who had access to the technology which was sold exclusively to governments and government agencies.”

    1. Hacking Team hacked: Spy tools sold to oppressive regimes Sudan, Bahrain and Kazakhstan

      Enemies of the Internet

      In the US, agencies using Hacking Team’s tools include the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Department of Defence.

      DEA email: http://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.doc…..lombia.pdf

      Research published by Citizen Lab in 2014 highlighted the powerful nature of Hacking Team’s “lawful intercept tool” known as Da Vinci, which allows those using it to implant a piece of malware on your smartphone and take control of the device’s microphone, camera, keyboard and even services like Facebook, WhatsApp and Skype. The Hacking Team’s modules target Android, iOS, Windows Phone and BlackBerry and complement the tools which infect desktop software.

      1. WikiLeaks publishes millions of leaked Hacking Team emails

        Forbes journalist Tom Brewster-Fox has uncovered details of Hacking Team selling its Remote Control System spying software to Russia’s secret police – the FSB.

        The Hacking Team software was sold through Israeli company NICE, and it appears as if the FSB was particularly interested in the ability to hack Apple computers:

        “The feedback was very good, and we’ve been asked with many questions regarding the solution and its capabilities. It was clear that their questions implies that they have a background in the lawful hacking area, however that their existing solution may lack some of the capabilities, especially in infecting [Apple] Mac devices, and mobile devices,” a NICE employee wrote in one email.

        Other revelations include a pitch to Northern Territory Police in Darwin from 2014 which claims to be able to pre-infect iPhone 4s, Blackberry and Android devices.

        The emails also reveal that Hacking Team managed to attend a briefing from rival NSO Group in 2014, who are based in Israel, and learned the Israeli company was able to compromise Apple’s iOS 6 “remotely and silently” (if the iPhone was already jailbroken) and for that it would charge governments $18m (?11.7m).

        1. Finally, why you should never trust Symantec

          Finally, we also learned that security company Symantec issued Hacking Team with a code signing certificate meaning that the computers it was looking to infect would not flag the RCS software as malware.

  17. “These are good means, Dalmia writes, but terrible ends that libertarians should resent and resist.”

    What? Ends are logically derived from a set of means. If we agree with a set of means then we agree with the ends too. This is a hallmark of Libertarianism: Our means are realistic and lead to predictible ends. The only time Dalmia’s logic works is when we incorrectly project the effects of the means.

    There is nothing implict in privatizing marriage that restricts gays from getting married. In fact privitization would open up marriage to anyone that could legally consent under contract law. To change this would require changes to contract law and could potentially conflict with precedent and even constitutionality.

  18. While the pursuit of equal treatment before the law is necessary and admirable, given the utter unjustifiability of unequal, selective, or discriminatory treatment of a citizenry by the governmental bodies operating in its name, my experience has been that most advocates of same-sex “rights” have expressly sought the institution of mandatory compliance by private entities with their ideal of “fair society”, as if such a canard were even worth consideration. Any individual who demands that a business accommodate them by law is a degenerate slaver, whichever characteristics any such retard may feel entitle him to the service of other free men, whether it be his sexual orientation, the color of his skin, or the length of his fingernails.

    Fuck off, slaver.

    1. my experience has been that most advocates of same-sex “rights” have expressly sought the institution of mandatory compliance by private entities with their ideal of “fair society”, as if such a canard were even worth consideration

      It’s much simpler than that. SoCons and churches are enemies of libertarianism. Furthermore, they themselves continue to impose “mandatory compliance by private entities on others”.

      So, there is a long list of causes a libertarian can invest time and effort in, and defending SoCons and churches just ends up way down from the top on my list. In fact, I think the ongoing infringement by churches on other people’s liberty is still a far greater problem.

      1. So fuck principles, you want to screw the bad thinkers. This libertarian thing probably isn’t for you.

        1. You know who else wasn’t a libertarian?

        2. So fuck principles, you want to screw the bad thinkers.

          The problem isn’t that they are “bad thinkers”, the problem is that they are perpetrators. The social conservative movement and churches advocate and use government coercion against others for their gain and advantage; they have been, and continue to be, one of the strongest forces in the violation of individual liberties. And their declared long term vision for the country is totally incompatible with libertarianism.

          The notion that advocating special exemptions from anti-discrimination laws for churches is a victory for liberty is like saying that giving a special concealed carry permit to Hillary Clinton is a victory for gun rights. It is utterly absurd, and there is no libertarian principle that supports such absurdity.

          1. Less than the progtards that abound when their whole existence is about government coercion.

            I fear them far more than a religious organization. If you fear someone who is religious over the state one can only classify you as fucking delusional. And I left religion 45 years ago. This is stupid that I can’t imagine.

            1. If you fear someone who is religious over the state one can only classify you as fucking delusional.

              I don’t “fear someone who is religious”. You can personally be religious all you like. The problem is when churches get special privileges and start intermingling with the state. Now, this may be only a theoretical possibility to an American, but I grew up in a country where church and state were increasingly intermingled and churches received increasing privileges. It corrupts both the state and the churches. Half a century ago, there was a constitutional mandate to separate church and state American style; half a century later, all parties have given that up as a political goal. And the same can happen in the US.

  19. Could the states stop issuing marriage certificates now? The SCOTUS decision has defined state recognition of monogamous marriages as a right. Doesn’t that create a requirement for states to certify marriages?

  20. I agree that the right wing drive to privatize marriage and the left wing drive to eliminate tax exempt status for religious organizations are driven malign motives. But they are both the right results so what do I care? The genius of individualistic liberty is that it allows all sorts of people with various incompatible bigotries to coexist within their own respective tribes without being able to oppress those in others. And as an atheist and lifelong bachelor, I’m for anything that knocks down the socially advantages given to religions and families over my way of life.

  21. //offering a semblance of stability in a sea of poverty and family breakdow

    Yes, Dalmia, because ALL the blacks and latinos just can’t get their shit together, and they’re ALL inner-city trash d-bags.
    I’m reminded of an episode of “everybody hates chris”

    TEACHER: *something something about Chris not knowing his father*
    CHRIS: I know my Dad
    TEACHER: Yes, and I’m sure it’s been terrible waiting for him to get out of prison! *dead seriously and empathetically*

  22. As Cato Institute’s David Boaz points out, libertarians were making arguments in support of gay marriage way before the cause became hip among progressives. The Libertarian Party demanded equality for gays back in 1972

    But when same sex marriage became a cause over 20 yrs. later, the national LP rejected a platform plank calling for it, even w an amendment to make it not abrogate existing terms of private contracts.

  23. Abolishing marriage licenses, as well as most if not all other licenses, is a libertarian solution.

  24. Pulling it out now to deny gays an opportunity to get married?in a sense, keeping alive discrimination by privatizing it

    How would gays or anyone else be prevented from marrying if marriage was private? I’m honestly trying to understand that statement and I cannot wrap my head around it.

    1. I’ll help you out:

      Dalmia is an incomprehensible retard.

  25. This would make gays-rights activists look like fanatical Jacobins willing to sacrifice living, breathing humans to satisfy a thin-skinned need to purge every last vestige of anti-gay animus.

    No, their actions make them look like Jacobins. If one merely extrapolates the trend line of their activities it becomes obvious that, without obstacles to the trend, they would be eventually manning the guillotines to lop off the heads of conservatives everywhere. To some–if not many–this is not about righting a wrong, but about vengeance.

    I’m very much for equal treatment under law, and for minimizing government intervention, but I see a trend here that is scary.

    What if–for example–LGBT activists realize that, not only is marriage good, but so is a spiritual community. Would they then demand that government force mosques,churches, and synogogues to give them normal standing even against the will of the congregations? Personally, I believe that congregations should take in these families, but I’m not willing to use force to make it happen.

  26. But that last part is actually is not good news for libertarians. Why? Because both sides are using libertarian ideas as a cudgel, not an olive branch.

    So it’s not enough to have the right idea, you also have to not be a socon. Because socons are, I don’t know, inherently icky and mean?

    1. I guess I misread that. But it makes even less sense the way she puts it.

    2. So it’s not enough to have the right idea, you also have to not be a socon. Because socons are, I don’t know, inherently icky and mean?

      It is legally impossible for states to completely privatize marriage, because nobody in that state could then claim social security survivor benefits, or have a spouse immigrate, or claim coverage on the same medical plan, or a zillion other defined legal benefits and obligations. No state can fix this by itself. So, the only logical conclusion is that when SoCons propose this, they are lying about their intentions, and it is only a political strategy for them.

      I think privatizing marriage is the right thing to do. I think it will take decades before SoCons actually come around to that idea.

      1. If Shikha is alluding to measures like the one being considered in Oklahoma, it would be that a married couple, or the minister who married them, simply had to file paperwork with the state (or fill out an online form) in order for the state to recognize their marriage. Adam and Steve could trigger state recognition by filing the needed paperwork There would be no need for state officials to be involved, thus no need to purge the civil service, which would disappoint the activists who want to drive their opponents out of their jobs.

        Of course, this has nothing to do with the *definition* of marriage. If some polygamists file paperwork with the state, this would *not* trigger state recognition, because the state does not (yet) recognize polyamorous relationships.

        1. If Shikha is alluding to measures like the one being considered in Oklahoma, it would be that a married couple, or the minister who married them, simply had to file paperwork with the state (or fill out an online form) in order for the state to recognize their marriage.

          That’s the way it already works in Oklahoma:

          http://www.themonastery.org/wedding-laws/oklahoma

          In addition, becoming a minister (e.g., in the ULC) is trivial (can’t include the link, but it takes a few seconds to find on Google).

          Oklahoma has been considering “banning all marriage”, but are vague about what that actually means:

          http://www.news9.com/story/245…..n-oklahoma

          No state can realistically end state recording/recognition of marriages in some form, because there is far too much federal law connected with being legally married.

          That’s why this sounds like political posturing and fear mongering to me, rather than a serious proposal.

          1. Oklahoma currently requires a marriage license –

            http://www.oklahomacounty.org/…..cense.aspx

            1. And, here’s a bill which passed the OK house eliminating the requirement for a marriage license and proving marriage by a certificate signed by the officiant or a common-law marriage certificate signed by the married couple.

              http://www.oklegislature.gov/tsrs_measures.aspx

              click hb1125_engr.rtf

            2. So? You said that the law would mean that “the minister who married them simply had to file paperwork with the state”. The link I pointed to shows you that it already works that way.

              1. He doesn’t “simply” have to file the paperwork, he also needs a license under current law.

                You ought to read the relevant laws, not rely on summaries from the Universal Life Church.

                1. Yes, the minister needs a “license”. The reason I pointed to the ULC is because much anybody can get such a license for a small filing fee. Removing the licensing requirement for ministers does not represent a substantive change in marriage law, and certainly doesn’t amount to “privatizing marriage”.

  27. Salmon hinted he would be fine with the “libertarian” solution to “abolish tax exemption for all religious organizations.

    1) Good luck, Mr. Salmon. The power to tax is the power to destroy. The tax exemption may not be imbedded in the Constitution, but it follows from the First Amendment religion clauses. It would be an interesting court battle to watch.

    2) If you succeed in stripping the exemption, you have freed churches from the restrictions of the unconstitutional Johnson Amendment. Did you really want the Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and the Roman Catholics to openly enter the political arena on a regular basis for the first time in 60 years?

    1. Getting rid of the Lyndon Baines Johnson Protect Myself from Criticism by Non-Profits Amendment would simply have the effect of removing hypocrisy from the system. The amendment allows nonprofits to advocate for specific policies so long as they don’t support or oppose political *candidates.* So a Baptist group (or a secular nonprofit) can advocate for religious freedom, but they can’t say “Senator Trotsky is against religious freedom, therefore vote against him.”

      Abolishing the tax exemption for religious organizations just to protect them from the Lyndon Johnson Amendment, however, would be to throw out the baby with the bathwater. The tax exemption for nonprofits is designed to serve the public interest.

      To simply take away the exemption from religious organizations would mean the government was discriminating against religious groups and in favor of secular nonprofits. The Reason Foundation is an example of a secular nonprofit. Why should the government tax a church or its soup kitchens, while leaving the Reason Foundation alone?

      1. Note that I’m not arguing in favor of doing it. I’m pointing out that exempting religions specifically has a constitutional basis, and that the court battle would be interesting.

      2. “The tax exemption for nonprofits is designed to serve the public interest.”

        Not really. It was designed to subsidize state approved charities which, by an odd coincidence, just happened to be charities that are approved by certain politicians.

        Suppose you have two possible scenarios where your money could do good. One is a close relative who has fallen on hard times. His wife became ill just as he lost his job. You can give him money to tide him over until he get another job or, for your other choice, you can donate to (totally fictional) Amalgamated Charities International whose CEO make $500,000 per year. Is it right that you get a tax deduction for helping that CEO send his kids to Harvard and none for helping someone you’ve known for years?

        In one case you send help directly to someone who needs it, someone you know will not blow the money at the track or snort it up his nose while letting his wife die. In the other case, you probably don’t have a clue where your money is going.

        All tax deductions and exemptions are attempts at social engineering and should be eliminated in favor of letting individuals decide where their charitable donations will go.

        1. This would make sense in the context of a system of *much* lower taxes and spending.

          And that’s what would help the sick friend and your ability to assist him – not having to pay so much kickback money to Uncle Sam.

          What *won’t* help your sick friend is, in the context of the existing tax system, to take away the exemptions of all nonprofits, including of course religiously-affiliated hospitals, hospice care groups, soup kitchens, etc. In that case, you’re still overtaxed, and your friend now has *fewer* options to get help as helping institutions lose much of their money, or maybe even go out of business.

          1. And of course there are nonprofits who exploit the system to make money for their people – and there are nonprofits which *don’t.* There are places would-be donors can look to see if a charity is any good. As more and more people do comparison shopping, the *voluntary* support of sketchy nonprofits will go down.

            Of course, the feds will still hand out money to sketchy nonprofits – but that doesn’t apply to the concern you expressed.

            1. I have complete confidence in your ability to determine which charitable endeavors are worthwhile as far you your donations are concerned. You earned your money and with that have the right to determine how it is used.

              When the government decides what charities are worthwhile and which are fraudulent or at least questionable the issue is invariably resolved by politics. Taking away all deductions along with a simultaneous drop in tax rates does not harm any charitable institutions because the same amount of money is available. The difference is that now the money comes only from those who earn it freeing that money from political forces.

              1. “Taking away all deductions along with a simultaneous drop in tax rates”

                As long as the drop is big enough, that would be a good thing.

                Except for the part where later, when no-one is looking, Congress increases the tax rates again, this time without providing any tax breaks to the nonprofits. Oops!

                1. “Except for the part where later, when no-one is looking,”

                  Yep. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.

        2. Bingo. Bob, you hit this one out of the park.

          standing ovation

    2. Did you really want the Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and the Roman Catholics to openly enter the political arena on a regular basis for the first time in 60 years?

      Yes, nobody should be punished for organizing and advocating their ideas.

      1. I agree completely. I just don’t think Mr. Salmon (quoted above) would be fond of the results. 😀

    3. The tax exemption may not be imbedded in the Constitution, but it follows from the First Amendment religion clauses. It would be an interesting court battle to watch.

      No, it certainly does not follow from the First Amendment. The First Amendment doesn’t give religions any special rights that other private organizations don’t have. If taxation of businesses and chess clubs is OK, then so is taxation of churches.

      The power to tax is the power to destroy.

      True, but the state has no more right to destroy a chess club or a sex club than it has a right to destroy a church. Therefore, the presumption is that current taxation isn’t used to destroy, and therefore current taxation can be applied to everybody, including churches.

  28. I’m not really commenting here because I am most certainly asleep and having a weird ass dream where Donald Trump is giving the most insane speech I’ve ever seen in my life.

  29. It seems to me that, government being the source of all evil in the world, its abolition must necessarily usher in the Age of Aquarius, if not Utopia itself. People will have to behave themselves, of course, but that’s a minor matter. And who are we, after all, to judge who gets the kids, the house and other assets? You’re married, you’re not married…work it out amongst yourselves, and try to keep the shooting contained to your own disputed property. It’s none of my business. Thanks.

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  31. Really? Getting govt out of marriage just to not allow gay marriage is a bad thing? Really!? The Supreme Court, the right and the left all had it wrong. The State shouldn’t be defining it at all. Your excuse that the approach traditional conservatives are taking to get govt out of marriage perverses it? That’s a weak ass argument. Now the traditional right should’ve come to grips with it a decade as a means to avoid this (via advancing getting govt out of marriage in numerous states before it became cool). I think a positive aspect of this ruling is that states are now taking stateless marriage seriously as an idea. There’s been legislation introduced in Texas and Michigan that would essentially phase out marriage licensing very similar to the Alabama proposal. Seriously libertarians, stop participating in this same-sex marriage ponzi scheme and let’s end government marriage!!! BTW here’s a video of a stateless wedding being performed at Porcfest: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_K3QmjHFd8

  32. “The Libertarian Party demanded equality for gays back in 1972, when the Democratic vice presidential nominee was still referring to gays as “queers,””

    Shikha, maybe you should do some research on George mcgovern before you decide to baselessly smear him. I’d start with this article which details george mcgovern’s advocacy of gay rights back in 1976. http://hunterofjustice.com/201…..-gays.html

    Can we talk about how the libertarians at reason supported george bush’s war in 2003 as part of a discussion about what principles mean?

    1. You realize McGovern wasn’t the Democrats’ vice-presidential nominee in 1972, don’t you?

      1. Calm down. I just missed that she was referring to Sargent shriver and not George McGovern, who was a lifelong champion for equal rights for homosexuals. I guess what I wish is that reason writers were capable of distinguishing between liberals– some of whom want to go after the tax exempt status of bigots– and right-wingers, some of whom want to stone gay people to death. One of these groups deserve a few paragraphs of denunciation more than the other.

      1. Maybe he was referring to all those “queers” who chose to become homosexual in order to avoid military service.

  33. By the time the progs and cons are finished tag teaming us, we’ll all find ourselves doing as we’re told, or it’s off to the gallows.

  34. This is by far the stupidest article I have ever read on Reason.

    Do you, author, understand what the Supreme Court just did? Obergefell v. Hodges FORBIDS THE STATES FROM “PRIVATIZING” MARRIAGE!

    It’s very simple. SCOTUS invented a “substantive due process” right to a state marriage. And I quote, “This Court has interpreted the Due Process Clause to include a “substantive” component that protects certain liberty interests against state deprivation “no matter what process is provided.” Reno v. Flores, 507 U. S. 292, 302(1993).

    Were a state to vote to cease state recognition of “marriage,” to eliminate the state’s roll, that state would be depriving any citizen who wanted a state marriage of his or her due process rights under the 5th amendment.

    States are also FORCED to recognize other states marriages under Obergefell, SO THEY CAN NEVER GET OUT OF THE MARRIAGE BUSINESS.

    Do you get it now? The question of marriage was committed to the states; the federal government has no authority. The states now have NO AUTHORITY either. There’s only one part of the government with authority over marriage: THE COURTS! THE JUDGES!

    1. I will add, Thomas’ dissent is the best: “The Court’s decision today is at odds not only with the Constitution, but with the principles upon which our Nation was built. Since well before 1787, liberty has been understood as freedom from government action, not entitlement to government benefits.”

      They’ve given a positive entitlement to a state-created legal status; they’ve located that positive entitlement in the federal constitution as a fundamental liberty interest/ substantive due process right. Now even if a state wants out, it cannot get out.

    2. correction 14th not 5th

    3. States are also FORCED to recognize other states marriages under Obergefell,

      True since 1789 –

      Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.

      1. No, that’s not true; there’s a public policy exception that keeps that from functioning when state laws differ. That was not the basis of Supreme Court’s decision here.

        The basis (if one can call it such) was that marriage is a substantive due process right/ fundamental liberty interest:

        “The Court, in this decision, holds same-sex couples
        may exercise the fundamental right to marry in all States. It follows that the Court also must hold?and it now does hold?that there is no lawful basis for a State to refuse to recognize a lawful same-sex marriage performed in another State on the ground of its same-sex character.”

    4. This is by far the stupidest article I have ever read on Reason.

      That should be the first comment of every article she writes.

      They fired Lucy and kept her?

    5. Beat you to it: https://reason.com/archives/201…..nt_5433437

  35. I think this article has it completely backwards. It’s true that the progs and the cons are advocating libertarian positions based on non-libertarian ideologies, but so what? Instead of opposing both, we should be supporting both.

    1) Religious organizations should have no more rights than non-religious organizations. Any religious group should be treated the same as any non-profit group. Ideally, of course, the corporate tax would be eliminated entirely.

    2) The government should get out of marriage. While I think having government marriage equality is marginally better than having government marriage discrimination, the better solution is to make it a private contractual issue for everyone.

    1. Agree that government should not be taxing corporations and payroll. It is double taxation.

      The idea that so many are espousing here, that churches should not get an exemption because “equality under the law” ignores a basic libertarian principle: Expanding freedom does not work by reducing someone else’s freedom.

      Any and all libertarians who are making this argument should be ashamed at their lack of principles and logic. If the church does not get taxed, good for them, let’s work on us not getting taxed rather than eroding their liberties. Again, NOT GIVING IS NOT THE SAME AS TAKING.

  36. First, the result of same sex marriage being forced against the majority’s will – as evidenced in many state votes – will have more consequences for children than any other group. Adoption agencies that do not want to supply homosexual couples with children will be sued or closed. This has already happened in Massachusetts. And what of the children who live in same sex couple’s homes? Robert Oscar Lopez and others submitted a letter or brief or whatever you call it to the Supreme Court outlining the inherent problems of such an environment. To no avail. There simply is no regard for the well-being of the innocent members of our nation. Witness the mass slaughter of legalized abortion. Additionally, a judge has asked to not be forced to preside over same sex ceremonies based on his religious faith. He is being sued, threatened with losing his job, etc. Whole clerk offices have quit in protest. Libertarians have lain down with the dogs of the LGBT crowd and now they have fleas, too. I am not certain how they can blithely say that this redefinition of marriage only deals with what occurs in the privacy of the bedroom when our entire society is being affected by it. Now that’s just plain stupid.

    1. There are libertarians who will take a win over principles, and there are the rest of us who understand the issues the recent SC ruling creates, if we’re not all gung ho about FOR TEH CHiLDRENDSZ!

  37. So, ?. Libertarians should oppose States getting out of the marriage business, which they should’ve done long ago, because it will look bad? That’s nonsense. States should no more be in the marriage license business than they should be in giving licenses to manicurists or auto mechanics.

    1. The states now cannot repeal or do away with their marriage laws. It would violate the federal constitution for them to do so, since SCOTUS just invented a “right” of individuals to be accorded a legal status that only exists under state law.

      See, WaPo, Sasha Volokh: “Is Marriage Really a Liberty Right?”

  38. 1. Eliminate all corporate taxes.
    2. Replace all marriage with private contracts.

    Any other problems we need solved today?

  39. The guiding assumption here seems to be that there is, or should be, no such thing as sexual morality. This is left-wing anarchism, which equates religious/moral restrictions with legal ones (and was more understandable in Europe, where every country had a state religion of some sort). In reality, the liberal jihad against religious morality is not libertarian at all, whereas the refusal to perform business activities as a participant in a homosexual marriage should be a basic right recognized by libertarians.

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  41. Principals, not principles.

    -Shikha Dalmia

    She thinks gays aren’t icky, and some forced association is ok if the group is kosher, but let’s not apply equality to polygamists or force people to associate with non-kosher groups.

    She got what she wanted with gays, and wants to shut down the ideological framework that got us here. How principal’d.

  42. “Privatizing marriage is a long-standing libertarian idea whose whole purpose was to foster John Stuart Mill’s “thousand experiments in living.” Pulling it out now to deny gays an opportunity to get married?in a sense, keeping alive discrimination by privatizing it?will not just pervert the idea but also discredit it, just as the bedrock libertarian principle of voluntary association became suspect when it was invoked by racists during the Civil Rights struggle to legitimize private discrimination against blacks.”

    We call that the chickenshit genus of argumentation. “Pulling it out now” — as opposed to when? When would be a good time to “pull it out”? If the government had always been out of marriage, there would always have been churches denying marriage to gays. — And other churches welcoming them. Just as any rational person would expect.

    But now we’re supposed to worry about the PR and the “optics” because a bunch of rednecks suddenly has an interest in agreeing? Come on. Grow a pair. Your lefty friends will get used to it.

    1. Dalmia is a fucking moron, right up there with Richman.

      At least Richman gets you to think sometimes, even if it is about how to discredit his ridiculous arguments. Dalmia doesn’t have the aptitude to get an intelligent person past the “You’re a fucking moron” phase.

  43. Isn’t Nick the editor? Shouldn’t he read this garbage and say get the fuck out of my office?

    1. I could not agree more Paul. At best, Dalmia just adds backstory the ‘FYTW’. I can only imagine her employment at Reason is the result of a bet.

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