Gay Marriage

Rand Paul and Naomi Wolf Join Hands On Marriage

Both want to privatize marriage, but the idea doesn't make sense

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Privatizing marriage has long been a hot idea among libertarians. (I myself have been known to expound on the

Gay Wedding
Freedom To Marry / Foter / CC BY

wonders of contractual marriage as a way of avoiding social strife at cocktail parties.) And in the wake of the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, Rand Paul wrote a full op-ed in TIME opining that the government needs to stop issuing marriage licenses and let people (of all sexual persuasions) write their own contracts. But what's more surprising is that many liberals have in the past pretty much endorsed the notion of abolishing marriage, including Naomi Wolf, Michael Kinsley, and Alan Dershowitz.

However, when you really, truly sit down and try to work it out, it doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense, I note in my column at The Week:

At the most basic level, even if we can get government out of the business of issuing marriage licenses, it still has to register these partnerships (and/or authorize the entities that perform them) before these unions can have any legal validity, just as it registers property and issues titles and deeds. Therefore, government would need to set rules and regulations as to what counts as a legitimate marriage "deed." It won't—and can't—simply accept any marriage performed in any church—or any domestic partnership written by anyone. Suppose that Osho, the Rolls Royce guru who encouraged free sex before getting chased out of Oregon, performed a group wedding uniting 19 people. Would that be acceptable? How about a church wedding—or a civil union—between a consenting mother and her adult son? And so on—there are innumerable outlandish examples that make it plain that government would have to at least set the outside parameters of marriage, even if it wasn't directly sanctioning them.

In other words, this kind of "privatization" won't take the state out of marriage—it'll simply push its involvement (and the concomitant culture wars) to another locus point.

Go here for the whole thing.

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  1. “Therefore, government would need to set rules and regulations ”

    Does the government need to set rules and regulations about who your friends are? Why then does it about who your spouse(s) is/are? Are far as 19 people, that is up to those 19 people and anyone those 19 people happen to be married to at the time. Common law marriages seem to work out just fine most of the time. Why not common law gay marriages or common law plural marriages?

    1. And if mother and son marry…so what? That’s going to happen what, once a decade? If they want to be fucking, they’re already fucking. Why drag the government into it?

      1. I would only require that they be of legal age.

        Besides, any incestuous couple pursuing a marriage license is doing it only for shock value. A good many of the legal benefits in marriage are already granted to people directly related to each other, solely on the basis that they’re related to each other.

    2. But common law is still law. I agree that regulations in this field are not only unnecessary but undesirable, but unless you’re an anomist, you’re going to need law to resolve questions as to who’s married to whom in case of disputes. There are anomistic anarchists, i.e. those who want to abolish law, but not many of even the most radical libertarians are that.

    3. Do your friends all enjoy tax-free inheritance and joint property ownership, or any of the estimated 1000+ advantages at the federal level alone? Even preferential joint tax return rates (if only one of them works

      It varies by state, but common law marriages have strict requirements (of varying amounts) . In many states they must obtain a license for marital rights like inheritance rights (both spouse and child). In almost every case common law marriages have fewer rights than licensed marriages.

      http://marriage.laws.com/common-law-marriage

      Ron Paul can wave his arms and whine, Git gumminf out,” but it takes a lot more than snapping one’s fingers and clicking one’s heels. Far more important than states defining marriage, they define the special rights and privileges of recognized marriages. That also take a lot more than finger snapping.

      Government also has an enforcement and protection obligation, like registering a deed.

      Of all the things to get government out of, surely this ranks near the bottom

  2. Correction: try TO work it out NOT try AND work it out.

    Also, just because you’re incapable of seeing a solution doesn’t mean there isn’t one there.

  3. This is just trolling.

    1. You really should read the whole thing. It’s quite humorous. This is probably the best part:

      Furthermore, true privatization would require more than just getting the government out of the marriage licensing and registration business. It would mean giving communities the authority to write their own marriage rules and enforce them on couples. This would mean letting Mormon marriages be governed by the Church of the Latter Day Saints codebook, Muslims by Koranic sharia, Hassids by the Old Testament, and gays by their own church or non-religious equivalent. Inter-faith couples could choose one of their communities ? but only if it allowed interfaith marriages. But here’s what they couldn’t get: a civil marriage performed by a Justice of the Peace. Why? Because that option would have to be nixed when state and marriage are completely separated.

      1. It’s almost as if Shikha doesn’t understand how the free market works.

        1. Or she could be trolling for clicks( she even threw out that line about cocktail parties). Or we could both be right.

        2. It’s almost as if Shikha doesn’t understand how the free market works.

          How does the Law of Supply and Demand function in the marriage market?

      2. Nevermind it got better:

        his would mean that couples would be subjected to community norms, many of them regressive, without any exit option. For example, a Muslim man could divorce his Muslim wife by saying “divorce” three times as per sharia’s requirement and leave her high-and-dry with minimal financial support (this actually happens in India and elsewhere). Obviously, that would hardly be an advance for marriage equality. The reason calls to “abolish marriage” ? to quote liberal columnist Michael Kinsley ? lead to such absurd results is that they are based on a fundamental misconception about the function marriage serves in a polity.

        1. Surely you’re not implying that a Muslim man might take advantage of a woman. Raycists! Raycists!

        2. Of course, a Muslim woman could insist on a marriage contract with a little more protection.

          1. No, women are helpless and must rely on governments in lieu of relying on men.

      3. Is she really this dense?

        My friend just got married in DC, at Union Station, by he and his wife’s mutual friend, because in DC anyone can perform a marriage ceremony. Then they signed a marriage license in the presence of witnesses. Swap marriage license with private marriage contract. Boom, problem solved.

        1. after reading that brain fart of an article I have come to the conclusion that it’s just a troll job. I mean come on.

        2. Yes,Shikha really is that dense.

        3. So you know absolutely nothing about all the marital benefits available only to recognized marriage? Are you married?

  4. Suppose that Osho, the Rolls Royce guru who encouraged free sex before getting chased out of Oregon, performed a group wedding uniting 19 people. Would that be acceptable?

    Yes.

    Even talking about Trump would be better that hashing this out again.

    1. Isn’t Osho dead?

  5. Suppose that Osho, the Rolls Royce guru who encouraged free sex before getting chased out of Oregon, performed a group wedding uniting 19 people. Would that be acceptable?

    Yes.

    Even talking about Trump would be better that hashing this out again.

    1. The squirrels really want to talk about Trump.

    2. Worth saying twice.

  6. No doubt, getting the government out of the marriage business would be complicated and messy, but so would getting them out of the social security and medicare business.

    The question is whether we’d live in a better world if the government wasn’t all up in our business on Issue A, Issue B, Issue C, etc., and these issues give us a chance to talk about that with non-libertarians.

    Yes, we’d still need a means of defense from foreign invaders, a criminal justice system, a means to educate our children, and a means to adjudicate property disputes–even if we abolished all government tomorrow. But that fundamental fact hasn’t ever dissuaded small state libertarians or anarcho-capitalists from advocating for less government.

    Why bring up the point now as if no one has ever thought about this before?

    1. Since I’m the one who has analogized the marriage issue to what’s happened to money, I’ll continue along that vein. I’m for privatiz’n of $, in that anyone should be allowed to issue it, & there should be no legal tender laws decreeing that a particular money must be accepted at a particular worth. That may be a complete separation of money & state, but not a separation of money & gov’t. I don’t want the courts to say, oh this dispute involves a question of money, we can’t decide those things. There still needs to be law on these Qs. There would still be cases of counterfeiting & other disputes. Is this note redeemable, & if so, on what terms? Etc. The basis for resolution of such cases should be the same as for marriage & everything else, i.e. what did the parties think this meant? That in turn would be resolved by reference to custom.

  7. Nope, I don’t find the argument compelling

    1. Her main argument seems to be that marriage contracts would be messy, even though she acknowledges the possibility of boilerplate contracts. She seems to imply marriage would be defined by ever-changing community standards, not recognizing that government standards also change after the fact. The horrors!

      People of different religions might have to get married away from their respective communities — as if somehow marriage contracts aren’t between the partners only, but include the community whether they like it or not. Imagine if the same concept were applied to buying cars or groceries — it makes no sense.

      I don’t think she has a clue what individualism means.

      1. She seems to imply marriage would be defined by ever-changing community standards, not recognizing that government standards also change after the fact!

        How many times in the past century?

        Do you have any legally married gay friends (before the nationwide ruling). Ask them about their marriage not being recognized in other states. Ask them about different standards by county. Horrors!

        Should we also abandon the registration of property deeds?

  8. What was the motivation for liberals to sbollish marriage? Could it have been that they viewed family formation as a hindrance to their collectivist utopian goals?

    1. Anyone who can’t see the difference between “the government will not regulate an institution” and “the government will forcibly destroy an institution” is no liberal.

    2. Turn the clock back circa late 60s-1970. It was fashionable at the time for feminists and more progressive liberals to argue that marriage was an anti-female institution by which the power of the state is used to subordinate women to control by men — or as Betty Friedan put it (in carefully measured understatement), marriage is a “concentration camp for women.”

      This sort of talk died out around the mid 1970s.

  9. So the millions of people who live together without ever getting married are just imaginary? If not, they’ve created what problems society can’t deal with? How many strawmen can you fit on one page? Why am I talking like the Judge?

    1. Those millions of people aren’t the problem. The problem is the people who say, “We’re married,” & those who answer, “No, we’re not,” or, In the case of 3rd party issues, “You’re not married.”

    2. So the millions of people who live together without ever getting married are just imaginary?

      You said that in public? They have absolutely none of the rights and benefits of a married couple. Are you married?

  10. And in the wake of the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling, Rand Paul wrote a full op-ed in TIME opining that the government needs to stop issuing marriage licenses and let people (of all sexual persuasions) write their own contracts.

    I’m going to dispense with discussing the nonsense in the meat of the article and wonder aloud if Paul would have written this op-ed had the court voted the other way.

    1. Probably not. That doesn’t mean he didn’t already believe that. Just that the issue is ripe for pandering.

    2. If I silently read your words have you really wondered aloud? Are you one of those people who actually says the words you’re typing as you type?

      In answer to your question, no he wouldn’t have. Because the people he has to play to would have accepted the ruling. It may have been something he pushed for during his administration though.

    3. I doubt it, at the end of the day he is a politician.

    4. Probably not, and I’m OK with that. LACCLMA (Libertarians, Anarcho-capitalists, Classical Liberals, Minarchists, and Allies) could stand to be more oportunistic.

      1. You need to work out a way to make that acronym LLAMACACA.

    5. So. What?

      Should the government be in the marriage business? It’s a simple question. If not, then Paul’s support for getting it out should be welcome. Whether he arrives at that conclusion for the “right” reasons or not.

  11. Get rid of of government marraige contracts and within an hour you’ll have thousands of customizable marriage/partnership contracts you can download for free on the internet.

    1. She mentions that in a throwaway line as if no more realistic than flying cars.

    2. Get rid of of government marraige contracts and within an hour you’ll have thousands of customizable marriage/partnership contracts you can download for free on the internet.

      How would they be recognized?

  12. Contracts are typically valid without having to be registered at a government office or blessed by a minister or other officiant.

    1. Yeah but what are you going to do when one party fails to perform? Go to the GOVERNMENT FUNDED COURTS, you hypocrite!

      And you’ll drive on communist roads to get there!

      1. all it did was move the locust point.

      2. Go to the GOVERNMENT FUNDED COURTS, you hypocrite!
        And you’ll drive on communist roads to get there!

        OMG! Funniest satire of the month, since many people think libertarians really are so bat-shit crazy!.

  13. What the…

    It’s almost as if she doesn’t even know what a Contract is. It sure as shit isn’t a “Deed”.

    The only advantage to standardized Contracts is it makes it easier for third parties to operate according to it’s terms. Example, an insurer who will only recognize a “Spouse” if a particular style of spousal contract is signed. It’s a big advantage, and it’s why I think marriage privatization is a pointless goal, but that’s not at all what she’s addressing.

    1. Example, an insurer who will only recognize a “Spouse” if a particular style of spousal contract is signed.

      Outside of government incentives, the need for your insurance to cover your spouse is, what exactly?

      Inasmuch as health insurance makes sense, it makes sense covering an individual. Spousal or family coverage is an artifact of the law and does not reflect any inherent aspect of healthcare or insurance.

      1. Might be a beneficial thing to offer in a competitive market. Simplifies the process for the consumer.

        1. we’ll be single payer in a decade so won’t matter then.

        2. And it wouldn’t be complicated. The insurance company could provide the insurance to a single entity, the marriage partnership covering all owners and beneficiaries (ie the children).

          1. And if you have 18 wives and 200 kids, they adjust their rates to match.

      2. I always thought it a relic of the days when women stayed in the kitchen.

        1. My thought as well.

      3. Spousal or family coverage is an artifact of the law and does not reflect any inherent aspect of healthcare or insurance.

        You’ll learn about that in junior high.

    2. The insurance industry would adapt to privatization a lot faster than the government. They would certainly have it figured out before any legislation made it through the process.

    3. Most people would probably use boiler-plate marriage contracts, anyway. Who’s going to go through the trouble of writing their own exhaustive contract from scratch? If you wanted something non-standard, you could get it, though.

  14. Dalmia doesn’t get Free the Nipple, and turns it into a story about those poor poor mommies and their breastfeeding woes.

    She doesn’t get privatization of marriage, and turns it into a story about how much meddling everyone needs from the government in their marriage.

    This is weak trolling.

    1. It’s almost like the only issue where she is remotely free market is immigration.

  15. Suppose that Osho, the Rolls Royce guru who encouraged free sex before getting chased out of Oregon, performed a group wedding uniting 19 people. Would that be acceptable? How about a church wedding ? or a civil union ? between a consenting mother and her adult son?

    Any questions of moral or social norms aside, why is there any problem recognizing a legally binding contract between consenting adults?

    You don’t just get to pose an outlying hypothetical, ask a question, and act like that is an argument.

    My answer is, yes, a 19-person group marriage is legally acceptable and should be legally binding on the participants in accordance with the contracts they signed. Contracts between 2 entities are not unprecedented and our legal system is capable of handling any disputes that arise.

    Mother-son marriage? Off-putting, to say the least, but again, why is that legally difficult to recognize or enforce? Why can’t things like shared assets, next-of-kin status, benefits, etc. be shared between parents and children? From the point of view of contract enforcement these are just two consenting adults.

    1. This is pretty much what I think–you just have to look at it the right way, as a contractual arrangement that will be enforced by the courts like other contracts.

      The only significant difference I can think of is that marriages tend to result in children, so there might need to be some regulations about what an enforceable marriage contract has to provide in terms of child support in case of divorce. And of course there’s going to be some pinhead who says “hey, my marriage doesn’t require me to change diapers or teach my kids to read. Don’t interfere with muh ba-leefs!”

      That’s not a reason not to move toward that state of things.

  16. Suppose that Osho, the Rolls Royce guru who encouraged free sex before getting chased out of Oregon, performed a group wedding uniting 19 people. Would that be acceptable?

    If you want to stick your head into the whirling buzzsaw of marital property and family laws (if you have kids), and who gets what if the marriage dissolves with 19 people, fully or partially, knock yourself out.

    2 person marriage is bad enough.

  17. When you buy or sell an ordinary single family home, there are likely close to ten parties involved in the transaction and contract: buyer, seller, spouses, both mortgage companies, both insurance companies, local tax authorities, title agent?

    Many companies and businesses today operate with dozens of parties involved in all manner of proportional and disproportional agreements. When they have disputes, they have the courts review and enforce their written agreements.

    Polygamy has existed in many cultures since the beginning of time, and these cultures have developed traditions and methods to regulate such marriages. Shikha may or may not agree with some of these practices, but they have worked for millennia. While most polygamous marriages have involved one man and many women, there is no reason why a marriage of a group of people should be so much more of a problem.

    Saying that polygamy is too complicated is a red herring and sounds just like some of the excuses people make about SSM. Why is Shikha so intent on denying people their civil rights?

    Here is an example of a polygamous marriage in Massachusetts, partly bound together by marriage and partly by contract:

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/fem…..-July.html

    Expect to see more in the future.

  18. In other words, this kind of “privatization” won’t take the state out of marriage?it’ll simply push its involvement (and the concomitant culture wars) to another locus point.

    No kidding. As long as there are domestic family laws relating to children and marital property laws, the state will be involved. The variables of the marriage itself isn’t its concern, nor should it be. It’s a contract. Enforce the terms. Full stop. Keep the opinions about what the contract should be to yourself. The role of the state is not to stop people from making stupid decisions.

    This whole argument of there are “too many notes,” so we should remove some to make it tidier, is so much bullshit.

  19. Good ol’ Shikha, wrong as ever.

  20. Osho, the Rolls Royce guru who encouraged free sex before getting chased out of Oregon, performed a group wedding uniting 19 people. Would that be acceptable?

    First, who the fuck calls him Osho? Second, the Rajneeshees would just import bums to tilt the local election so they could get their candidate elected county clerk who would then just issue the licenses regardless of anything else. And depress turnout by getting non-Rajneeshees sick.

    Salad for lunch, anyone?

  21. Suppose that Osho, the Rolls Royce guru who encouraged free sex before getting chased out of Oregon, performed a group wedding uniting 19 people. Would that be acceptable? How about a church wedding ? or a civil union ? between a consenting mother and her adult son?

    Shorter Dalmia: I’m a bigot, and I’ll use it to support continuing government meddling, because we just can’t allow people that are weird to write contracts governing their relations. I’ll out socon the socons.

    The marriage as contract approach has the same legal constraints as normal contracts do: Minors (and non-humans) can’t consent, everything else is on the table.

    Somehow I think society would survive the rare case of 19-way and adult incest marriage.

    Good on the liberals who see the merits of the approach BTW.

  22. I think Shikha leaves out a key point – that many parts of the marriage relationship are not government by contract.

    Can you and I sign a contract agreeing not to testify against each other? Good luck getting the courts to recognize such a contract! The law recognizes some limits on forcing spouses to fink on each other, and the only problem with these rules is that they don’t protect the marital relationship *enough.*

    But all this head-in-the-clouds talk about the magic of contracts will come back to earth with a loud BUMP the first time a spouse in this brave new deregulated world tries to protect their marriage relationship from compulsory testimony.

    “The government doesn’t recognize your relationship, so how can your relationship have any privileges I am bound to respect?” the judge would ask, fairly enough.

    1. And marriage contracts don’t protect you against being executed by a cop. Somehow I don’t think the culprit is the marriage contract.

      People shouldn’t be compelled to testify against their will against anybody.

      1. OK, so we’re not actually discussing policies which have a chance of being implemented in the real world, we’re conducting a dorm-session debate on a code of laws for the magical Land of Libertopia.

        1. dorm-*room* debate

        2. If your argument is that there are practical problems with switching, I’m with you. But I don’t see them as fundamentally unsurmountable.

          In this particular case, we could easily expand the protection to any two people who see themselves as married. Some states already regard not officially married people without even a contract as having spousal privileges. This is not a crazy step, even without bringing the “magical Land of Libertopia”.

          1. The link you provided is about common-law marriage, by which states will recognize you as married if you agree to get married, engage in conjugal living, and tell others you’re married.

            If you do these three things, your marriage is as valid as if you had a formal church or civil ceremony – at least in those states which recognize common-law marriage.

            In common-law marriage states, people in a common-law marriage are entitled to protective rules of evidence just as surely as people in other marriages – but as the very article you linked to says:

            “Spousal privilege plays an important role in preserving the sanctity of marriage and cultivating free communication between spouses, and when legally established, should be vigorously protected. However, it is equally important to protect the institution of marriage and assure that it is not used as a pawn in an attempt to thwart the criminal justice system. “Marriage is more than a contract, it is a status in which stability and permanence are vital, and this is particularly true when dealing with common-law marriages.””

            1. The article is from a DA trying to make sure he can use the girlfriend’s testimony, and communications between the accused and his girlfriend, in order to win the case. Of course he’s big on hunting for a way to disqualify the marriage if he can.

              What I’m getting at is that the idea that government needs formal licenses in order to allow spousal privileges is not supported by rules already in place in many states, (and not just a hypothetical Libertopia).

              It wouldn’t even be that crazy to say that:

              1. If you agree to get married.
              2. Engage in conjugal living.
              3. Tell others that you’re married.

              Are all things that can exist even if the marriage in question is between 19 adults.

              So why is this such a roadblock? I’m just not seeing it. Even people who dislike the idea of (insert weird thing here) probably would be OK with not forcing members of such an arrangement to testify against each other, so it isn’t even a hard sell compared to the initial idea of privatizing marriages.

              1. “What I’m getting at is that the idea that government needs formal licenses in order to allow spousal privileges is not supported by rules already in place in many states”

                You’ve effectively rebutted the supporters of state marriage licenses, but as I believe I have made clear before I am not a supporter of licenses.

                But let’s say 19 people agree to be poly-married, are they then privileged not to testify against each other?

                1. But let’s say 19 people agree to be poly-married, are they then privileged not to testify against each other?

                  That would seem to be the implication, yes. Why is that an issue?

                  1. It’s an issue because it’s one of the questions which would of course arise in a context of “deregulated” marriage.

                    And it’s not an issue which can be hand-waved away with the magic word “contracts.”

                    When you defend your position, you’ll have to state your views on the non-contractual aspects of marriage and how these aspects will be affected by your reforms.

                    1. And it’s not an issue which can be hand-waved away with the magic word “contracts.”

                      kbolino already pointed out how common-law marriages are covered. This is no different except there are more than two people. There is no hand waving going on. It’s just a logical extension of the idea of spousal privilege to all the relevant spouses.

              2. It’s a problem when dealing with 3rd parties (gov’t, insurers, a few others) who had an understanding with the general public as to who constituted a “spouse”.

            2. Spousal privilege is covered under the more general libertarian principle of freedom of conscience. There should be no compulsion to testify, period.

              1. As I said, a useful discussion to have if we’re framing laws for the Land of Libertopia.

                1. You hold to a number of positions that have an icicle’s chance in hell of ever seeing the light of day, and yet you have the nerve to play the pragmatist game?

                  1. I have ideas about laws in an ideal polity, just as you do.

                    If either of us proposes to adopt these laws in actual conditions, we each have a responsibility to show how that could, in practice, happen.

                    1. If either of us proposes to adopt these laws in actual conditions, we each have a responsibility to show how that could, in practice, happen.

                      Please, illustrate.

                    2. Well, say you want to abolish compulsory testimony. That’s fine.

                      If you’re claiming that such a policy might actually work in the world in which we live, please illustrate this.

                      If you’re claiming that abolishing compulsory testimony is a practical way to address the problems of deregulating marriage, then show how the public could be persuaded to go along with you.

                      Likewise, if I don’t think the public will go along with lifelong marriage, I will look at those states which have at least made divorce a little more difficult, or allowed covenant marriages where divorce is tougher – and I’d point out that such laws actually *have* been passed.

                    3. If you’re claiming that such a policy might actually work in the world in which we live, please illustrate this.

                      What is not to work? It would make prosecutor’s lives a little harder, but the goal of the criminal justice system is to remedy injustice not pad a prosecutor’s resume.

                      If you’re claiming that abolishing compulsory testimony is a practical way to address the problems of deregulating marriage, then show how the public could be persuaded to go along with you.

                      Deregulating marriage is not going to happen any more than abolishing compulsory testimony. If we could get the one, then we could likely get the other. As it stands, few people are convinced by libertarianism. News at 11.

                      I will look at those states which have at least made divorce a little more difficult, or allowed covenant marriages where divorce is tougher – and I’d point out that such laws actually *have* been passed.

                      Let me know in twenty years after it’s been through the federal courts a couple of times. There is little respect in the courts and legislatures for personal autonomy of any kind.

                      Furthermore, there is nothing contradictory about contract marriage and covenant marriage. If anything, the former is an ideal framework under which to establish the latter.

                    4. “Deregulating marriage is not going to happen any more than abolishing compulsory testimony.”

                      All right, maybe I misunderstood your point.

                      I was thinking in terms of the article, where two prominent personalities – Rand Paul and Naomi Wolf – endorsed deregulation. So I thought we were going on the assumption that the issue had been introduced into practical politics, unlike making all testimony voluntary.

                      If your point was different from the article’s point, and you’re saying *neither* idea is feasible then the misunderstanding was my fault.

    2. “The government doesn’t recognize your relationship, so how can your relationship have any privileges I am bound to respect?” the judge would ask, fairly enough.

      And thus is the first brick laid in the road to statism. No, it’s not fair for the judge to substitute his preferences in place of mine. The judges are not there to get their own views supplanted over those of the people. In any civil action, the judge’s job is to adjudicate the dispute, not impose his personal will upon the parties involved.

      The law exists to preserve the liberty of people, or else it does not have any right to exist at all.

      1. So this is back to the idea of there being no compulsory testimony in Libertopia?

        1. And in Eddietopia, marriage will be a sacrosanct lifelong institution while adultery and fornication are strictly punished. Fuck you and the horse you rode in, you disingenuous fuck.

          1. That time of the month already?

            I’m not sure in practice how much to enforce any adultery and fornication laws if at all – I’ve certainly never called for strict punishment.

            And I haven’t suggested that the political climate is ripe for re-establishing the idea of lifelong marriage. Maybe the climate isn’t ripe, in which case I’d say focus on more “moderate” reforms like covenant marriage and so forth.

            1. The issue of life-long marriage is not a political one, nor should it be. Full stop. And this is coming from a fellow Catholic.

            2. Who the fuck is talking about political climate? One minute you’re talking about “it’s a terrible idea no matter what” the next minute you’ve shifted the goalposts to “it’s politically infeasible”.

              1. What are *you* talking about?

                I don’t know whether deregulating marriage is feasible or not. I *do* know that if marriage is deregulated, compulsory testimony will remain, whether you would like it to or not. In fact, compulsory testimony will get worse, unless you can show me a way to preserve spousal privileges without the government recognizing the spouses as married.

                It seems your reasoning goes as follows:

                YOU: “Let’s deregulate marriage!”

                ME: “But that would mean getting rid of the spousal privileges.”

                YOU: “Oh, that’s OK, there shouldn’t be compulsory testimony anyway.”

                ME: “That’s not politically feasible.”

                YOU: “So what, you have infeasible ideas, so I get to have them too!”

                1. Neither is any more feasible than the other, as both are predicated on the notion that individuals, and not governments, are the ultimate authority on what is right and wrong in matters concerning themselves.

                  1. To repeat, I may have misunderstood your point – the article discussed deregulation as if it were feasible, but if you don’t share the article’s assumption and deem it unfeasible, then much of what I said was based on a misunderstanding.

  23. And to elaborate on a situation Shikha alludes to – even liberal California has a law by which children born in during a marriage are deemed the children of the married couple, and no third party can interfere. The Supreme Court narrowly upheld this law – but derecognizing marriage would make the dissenting justices prevail – any adulterer would be able to file for custody of children conceived in one of his trysts with the wife.

    It’s one thing to respond to situations like this by saying “that’s a sacrifice worth making,” or “well, that’s not too bad,” but simply to parrot “SQUAWK! CONTRACTS! SQUAWK!” as if you’re saying something intelligible is moronic.

    1. Children aren’t a party to the contract. The contract codifies a relationship between two adults. The resolution of custody when a marriage is in dispute or when a party outside the marriage is involved will always be messy, no matter whether resolved by statute or civil action.

      As far as your chosen example is concerned, why is a man who is not the child’s father better suited to raise the child than the man who is?

      1. I’d say that one key point of marriage is that children born into the marital household are entitled to a stable upbringing, and the family unit is entitled to not be disrupted by custody suits from adulterers. This is enough to outweigh the parental rights of homewrecking adulterers.

        But of course, without recognizing the marital relationship, it’s hard to see how we can avoid litigious adulterers raking families over the coals.

        1. I’d say that “one key point” of marriage is fidelity, yet here we have an example where that is not the case. Again, how is this better for the child? Is the “stability” of being raised by a man who potentially hates the child always and everywhere the superior option?

          Also, your “even liberal California” song-and-dance is bullshit, since this is just privileging the mother over the father, which is typical of modern family law.

          1. No, it’s privileging the father over the adulterer.

            If the father abuses the child, deal with as with other cases of child abuse. Handing the child over to Hans the Milkman hardly seems ideal, either.

            And in any case, why should Hans the Milkman be rewarded for seducing another man’s wife?

            1. And in any case, why should Hans the Milkman be rewarded for seducing another man’s wife?

              Fuck this entire line of thinking. Children aren’t rewards to be passed around for good behavior.

              1. “Children aren’t rewards to be passed around for good behavior.”

                If anyone is defending that proposition, it’s you.

            2. Who is the man whose sperm conceived the child, the husband or the adulterer? I am operating under the assumption that it is the latter, not the former.

              1. So? This is a case where the marital relationship is more important than biological parentage. Which the state cannot say if it doesn’t recognize the marriage in the first place.

                1. This is a case where the marital relationship is more important than biological parentage.

                  WTF is wrong with you? Children are not just pawns to be played in the social games of irresponsible adults.

                  1. “Children are not just pawns to be played in the social games of irresponsible adults.”

                    Yes, which is why adulterers should *not* be entitled to file custody claims for the children they had by married women.

                    1. Just to be clear – it’s the adulterers’ – rights side which wants irresponsible adults to use children as pawns.

                    2. No, it’s the wife who cheated who is using the child as a pawn, and it is the law that enables her to do so. Do you have such a dim view of women that you can’t even recognize them as agents of their own actions?

                    3. Look, you realize that these cases we’ve been discussing arise when the adulterous wife and her husband *reconcile* and decide to keep living together? In other words, the wife *has* exercised her agency to try and put the marriage back together. And Tony the Poolboy comes in to *take away* the wife’s agency.

                      She could always divorce her husband, marry Tony, and have a good chance of keeping custody. So the situation we’ve been describing only applies where the husband and wife reconcile and try to keep making a go of things.

                    4. The mother’s agency was exercised when she stepped outside of the marriage to engage in a tryst. Opening herself and the marriage up to scrutiny by the courts is the consequence of her actions. “Tony the Poolboy” challenging the question of the child’s custody is his prerogative as the child’s father. You are saying the best institution suited to choose the child’s parentage is the state (if done by statute) or the mother (if done by civil precedent) yet the child has two parents. The husband who was cheated on has, in the beginning, no legal interest in the child.

                    5. “The mother’s agency was exercised when she stepped outside of the marriage to engage in a tryst. Opening herself and the marriage up to scrutiny by the courts is the consequence of her actions.”

                      Now who’s talking about a child being given as a reward to irresponsible adults?

                      First, the child never consented to being a pawn in this weird game.

                      Second, the mother could always divorce the husband and get together with Tony, so we’re talking only of those cases where the mother uses her “agency” to repent and stick with her husband.

                      Third, banging some other guy’s wife is also a voluntary act – if you want to raise your kids, have kids by your own wife, or adopt some.

                    6. Now who’s talking about a child being given as a reward to irresponsible adults?

                      I said the father had a prerogative to challenge the mother, not that the decision should automatically go the other way.

                      First, the child never consented to being a pawn in this weird game.

                      Welcome to reality.

                      Second, the mother could always divorce the husband and get together with Tony

                      What of her other children?

                      so we’re talking only of those cases where the mother uses her “agency” to repent and stick with her husband

                      Great, now we’ll just let murderers go if they repent hard enough, right? Actions have consequences, even if you’re really, really sorry.

                      Third, banging some other guy’s wife is also a voluntary act – if you want to raise your kids, have kids by your own wife, or adopt some.

                      Neither of the adulterers is morally superior to the other.

        2. The right decision in these cases is always “what’s best for the child”

          It sucks that sometimes the court has to step in and make that determination, but I don’t see a way of avoiding the need for a (theoretically) neutral third party to arbitrate.

          So if the dude who banged the wife is an otherwise stand-up guy who can provide for the child and the mother is drug addict, then yeah, the child should probably go to the guy (or vice versa if the genders are reversed). It’s about the child, not the husband. He has no claim on that child’s parentage.

          All of this would be true if the parties were not contractually married at all. I don’t see how the issue of private contract vs state license even enters into it.

          1. Enough with the licensing distraction! It’s not licensing I’m interested in, it’s which marriages the state will *recognize,* and it can recognize unlicensed marriages without recognizing polyamorous marriages, camel marriages, etc.

            Yes, a key point of marriage is to provide stable families, and to set up a regime allowing the breakup of marital households on a “case by case” basis is contrary to the interests of *all* children in marital households.

            It’s like the government deciding on a “case by case” basis who will be allowed to be married or have children – which the government actually did in the eugenics era. The best interests of the child sure were promoted back then!

            1. Who is the better authority on a marriage, the husband and wife, or some judge or legislator who had no part in it?

              1. Do you realize what an excellent point you just made?

                Of course a judge should let an adulterer break into a marriage where the wife strayed but the couple then reconciled. The husband and wife, as the proper authority on the marriage, decided to stay together with the child, so what business does a judge have letting the homewrecker back into the family’s life?

                1. Of course a judge should *not* let an adulterer etc.

                2. You are more concerned with the marriage than with the child. And that is messed up.

                  1. You are more concerned with whether the meat was properly cooked than whether it’s healthy. And that is messed up.

                    You are more concerned whether the military is well-trained and well-equipped than whether the country is vulnerable to invasion. And that is messed up.

                    You’re more concerned about whether the farmer uses proper agricultural techniques than whether he has a good harvest. And that is messed up.

                    etc.

                3. Again, WTF? The child is not marital property.

                  1. The artificial separation of marriage and child welfare is what I’m complaining about.

                    Maybe you can find some cases where a child would be better off being raised by Tony the Randy Poolboy than by the stable family into which the child was born, but it’s going to be a rare case, and *vastly* outweighed by the cases where Tony’s claims are disruptive to the child’s life.

                    1. Clearly the family is not stable as one of the members decided to betray a promise made to it. The bond of marriage was broken when the wife decided to break it. Nevertheless, even if the marriage is repaired and the family as it were regains stability, the child who was conceived outside of the marriage is not a part of it.

                    2. Maybe you can find some cases where a child would be better off being raised by Tony the Randy Poolboy than by the stable family into which the child was born, but it’s going to be a rare case, and *vastly* outweighed by the cases where Tony’s claims are disruptive to the child’s life.

                      Then you shouldn’t have any problem with Tony at least trying to seek custody.

                      Both of our approaches would leave the children with the married couple in your hypothetical vast majority of cases. But my approach leaves open the possibility of a better life for the child in the “rare case”. Yours doesn’t. Because for some reason you think an married man has a claim on his wife’s offspring even when he isn’t the father.

                    3. “Because for some reason you think an married man has a claim on his wife’s offspring even when he isn’t the father.”

                      You mean the husband should have paternal rights over the children conceived during the marriage, unless and until the wife decides to get a divorce? Hell yeah.

                      Like I say, it’s not for the courts to hold lengthy and expensive and disruptive proceedings based on the very small chance that Tony would be a better father. That would be like arresting every child who walks home school on the ground that they might get kidnapped.

                    4. You mean the husband should have paternal rights over the children conceived during the marriage, unless and until the wife decides to get a divorce? Hell yeah.

                      I’m not even sure how to respond to this. Should a wife have a maternal claim to children that her husband fathers with another woman? If not, why not? What makes paternal rights different?

                    5. And what happens when two people who are both married cheat? No you have two marriages.

                    6. Getting a live human being torn out of your own body after 9 months is a bit different than squirting your sperm into your neighbor’s wife. Even an unmarried mother should have *some* presumption of fitness to raise her child – even if perhaps not as strong a presumption as a married mother.

                      This doesn’t fit into your rigid, geometrical logic? So much the worse for your logic.

                    7. I think we’re losing sight of the fact that *the process is the punishment* – letting Tony the Poolboy sue for custody is *in itself* harmful – in the disruption and expense and anxiety and uncertainty it causes. This way outweighs the tiny chance that Tony the Poolboy will turn out to be Dad of the Year.

                    8. the process is the punishment

                      Insofar as this may be true, then it is punishment for adultery. To me this seems, strictly from the punishment angle, to be perfectly appropriate. Don’t want to go through the courts? Don’t cheat.

                    9. “Insofar as this may be true, then it is punishment for adultery.”

                      Is it a proper punishment for the child? Or the cuckolded husband?

                    10. There is this thing that happens, we call it “harm”, wherein innocent people are unwittingly subject to the consequences of other people’s actions. The government can’t fix a problem inherent to reality.

            2. it’s which marriages the state will *recognize,*

              The state will recognize two or more consenting adults as being married if a marriage contract exists between them.

              Yes, a key point of marriage is to provide stable families

              For you. And for a lot of people. But maybe not for everyone.

              You brought up the case of a child born through adultery. What I’m saying is that the marital status of those involved is completely immaterial to competing claims in a custody dispute, except insofar as it might impact what’s best for the child.

              Why should the existence of a marriage contract that he is not party to in any way shape or form impact the custody claim of the father in this case?

              1. “What I’m saying is that the marital status of those involved is completely immaterial to competing claims in a custody dispute, except insofar as it might impact what’s best for the child.”

                The exception swallows the rule.

                1. Then what exactly are you objecting too? If that’s true then my preferred approach will align with yours, except for the “rare cases” when my approach results in a superior outcome.

                  1. Like I said, the process is the punishment. Being subject to lengthy, expensive custody hearings, having to put your life plans on hold while waiting to see where the judge will put the child – is a bad thing in itself even in those cases (very likely the vast majority) where the judge ends up doing the right thing and rejecting the adulterer’s claims.

                    1. Then keep your pants on outside of the marriage.

                      Clearly I read you wrong. Not only do you not want criminal punishment for adultery, apparently you don’t even want civil punishment.

                    2. I’m against punishing the *innocent* parties. If that means protecting the guilty wife, too, well so be it.

                    3. The child cannot be protected from reality. He or she was conceived of an adulterous union. The consequences of that will sadly befall him no matter what the state does. Sorry, Adam and Eve fucked up and we live in the fallen world, not paradise.

                    4. I never mentioned paradise, the only specific place I mentioned was California, hardly the same place. Yet in California (last I heard) they don’t turn turn kids into pinballs to be bounced back and forth, so long as they were born into a married couple which chose to stick together.

  24. You can still have some loosely defined Domestic Partnership, but it could cover much more than just monogamous sexual relationships.

  25. 1. Strange bedfellows indeed.
    2. Why is it easier to dissolve a marriage than to ge student loan debt cancelled?

    1. 2. Why is it easier to dissolve a marriage than to ge student loan debt cancelled?

      Did you say that in public?
      How many divorces have you experienced?

  26. I’m sorry but this really has me concerned. Oregon chased someone out for encouraging free sex? How can we rely on anything anymore. Talk about cognitive dissonance.

  27. Uh-oh., Shikha is in trouble now with the Purity Police.

    Anyone who mentions any government activity, with saying they want to abolish it, is a traitor to liberty and a co-conspirator with the dreaded statists. It’s kinda like McCarthyism in the 1950s

    I haven’t opened the comments yet for reading, so I may be wrong. But if the previous year is any indication, then Shikha is being demonized. Might this be why Cato found the libertarian brand rejected by even 91% of libertarians?

    Cato’s is the only proper :”brand” survey I know of. Commissioned by a top political pollster, Zogby. Zogby found what many of us saw for decades in the non-scientific World’s Smallest Political Quiz. — a majority place themselves into the libertarian quadrant.

    Cato/Zogby report 59% willing to self-define as “Nolan Chart libertarians” (fiscally conservative and socially liberal) Why don’t we target THEM, Fuck em. They aren’t pure enough to appreciate our sanctifying grace and moral perfection. Many would not even give their lives to abolish the IRS –even though taxation is slavery. No real libertarian would even want them,

    Ayn Rand was a very strong proponent of “incrementalism.” Fuck her too.

    I really hope I’m wrong on what I’ll see on this page in a few seconds, but ..

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