Monday, August 4, 2008

The bi-partisan menace of gay marriage

Gay marriage is an issue that politicians, from both major parties, would simply prefer disappear, but I'm rather fond of it... just not for an obvious reason. I like the issue because it illustrates so elegantly how the major political and social movers and shakers are utterly incapable of considering a solution to a problem that involves less government meddling, and not more.

This is an issue draped in more nonsensical rhetoric than any issue in my lifetime and virtually no one has the courage to address it honestly and without prejudice.

First things first... homosexuals do not have the right to get married, sorry GLAD. Then again, no one does. What you do have is the right to not be prevented from entering into a voluntary agreement, not exactly the same thing.

Of course, I should also point out that gay marriage wouldn't destroy the institution of marriage either... feminists and government already did that, just kidding... but only a little.

Please don't take that lame middle-road and go for domestic partnerships because that actually is discriminatory, not to mention idiotic. Then again, much of what comes from continental Europe is.

This isn't about bigotry, equality, or any other such nonsense. This issue is about the roles of government.

Politicians want to use the state to shape and manipulate their social and cultural environment, which is exactly why this issue is hot right now and also exactly why marriage is regulated by the state in the first place. The belief was that marriage, in it's most traditional form, was good for society and thus government should regulate it and encourage - you can thank John Calvin and the Protestants for being the first to do this but the idea can be traced back further than you would ever think.

Thus marriage between a man and a woman was given the governmental stamp of approval and everything else was... well, illegitimate. Thus if the government allows polygamists, or homosexuals, or anyone else to marry then they are giving equal approval to that. Oh no! Gay marriage and straight marriage equal? The horror.

Of course it isn't that straights don't want gays to be in love, have medical benefits, etc. In fact, it isn't even the concept of marriage that really bothers them... at least not deep in their souls. What upsets them so much is the idea that their community, state, or country not only approves of gay marriage but encourages it. After all that is what marriage recognition is all about... it's about encouraging marriage.

And I don't disagree.

I don't see any reason why the state should encourage homosexuality... of course I also don't see a reason why the government should encourage good nutrition,  hospitals, sobriety, heterosexuality, or anything else.

The state has no business regulating marriage. Marriage is social, religious, and/or cultural institution that is recognized solely by the members of or adherents to said culture or group. It is their right to recognize, regulate, and encourage or discourage marriage.

If the Catholic church doesn't want to recognize a gay marriage then no one should be able to force them too, on the other hand nothing compels anyone else from recognizing theirs either. 

Of course that isn't exactly kosher to some segments of the homosexual political activists because they don't want to be simply tolerated, they want to be accepted and are more than willing to use the state to do it. This is an assault on our basic liberties which include the right to be a bigoted, racist, sexist idiot and that's a right that I've no interest in giving up. Not because I have a problem with homosexuality but rather because I don't want the state telling me who I can or can't hate... because quick frankly, I hate almost everybody anyway and so I'm a little touchy about criminalizing my misanthropy.

Back to the point... the key issues are those of legitimacy and equality. If the question of legitimacy is entirely left to the judgement of the observer than that problem simply disappears. If you find a certain marriage obscene or illegitimate then you are free to not recognize it or approve it. The question of equality however, is another issue entirely but one that can, and should, be solved through contract law.

Issues such as alimony, divorce settlements, medical care, survivor benefits, etc. are all issues for contract law (with the exception being child-support but that is a different matter entirely) and have no intrinsic connection to marriage. Anyone, married or not, regardless of their relationship, can engage in contractual arrangements with anyone else and it is the states job to enforce those contracts. It should be easy to develop standard marriage contracts which cover all that we associate marriage with today. The states only role would be to deal with disputes and enforce the contract when necessary. Recognizing or approving the marriage wouldn't even enter into the equation.

Thus, my solution is simply to remove all government recognition and regulation of the institution of marriage. Discrimination is province of the individual and not the state. 

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