Skip to comments.Why I Reject a Redifinition of Marriage Through Civil Unions or Gay Marriage
Posted on 10/11/2004 5:58:59 PM PDT by HallowThisGround
Some of the email and comments I have had to my posting about the debate on the Federal Marriage Amendment has prompted me to define my position, from a libertarian perspective, on defending the current definition of marriage even to the point of a Constitutional Amendment if necessary. Here is my position.
I consider myself a Christian libertarian. I believe that ultimately marriage is an institution ordained and sanctified by God Himself, and not by government institutions. But my governmental ideology on the subject is such that I believe that governments are instituted among men to provide arbitration against what I call "excessive liberty" defined as the collision of two individuals rights in willful disobedience to the Golden Rule and the Law of Nature. When individual rights meet in a violent manner, government must play a role in adjudicating the dispute. This was the dilemma of Moses for which his father-in-law Jethro helped him make a structured system of judges to resolve.
I believe the works of John Locke best explain the origin of governments instituted among men. He believed that the foundation of civil society is found in the voluntary union of Man and Woman through marriage. To quote him in his Second Treatise of Government, "Conjugal Society [the government of marital relationship] is made by a voluntary Compact between Man and Woman: And tho' it consist chiefly in such a Communion and Right in one anothers Bodies, as is necessary to its chief end, Procreation; yet it draws with it mutual Support, and Assistance, and a Communion of Interest too, as necessary not only to unite their Care, and Affection, but also necessary to their common Off-spring, who have a Right to be nourished and maintained by them, till they are able to provide for themselves." He then goes on to mention that Man and Woman have in their natural state been given certain areas of authority which they hold to themselves in a state of nature until relationships with other humans necessitate some form of justice. They therefore cede some of their "Executive" and "Legislative" authority in the Law of Nature to a Civil Society structure which we call government. "Wherever therefore any number of Men are so united into one Society, as to quit every one of his Executive Powers of the Law of Nature, and to resign to the publick, there and there only is a Political, or Civil Society."
Thus Locke starts by laying rights into individuals in their natural state who consequently adjust their individual liberty into "Conjugal Society" through marriage. Then, as dictated by necessity, man and woman cede some of their authority in the family to Civil Society through representatives appointed by them who make laws and administer justice on their behalf.
Individual rights to traditional marriage responsibilities to the representative structure of Civil Society. Governments take their origin from the traditional family in Locke's eyes. And I agree with his assessment
That is why I am against a redefinition of marriage and also why my libertarian instincts are not offended by this position. Break down the family and you break down the whole structure and origin of Government.
There are actually several separate issues here:
1. co-opting of the definition of the word "marriage"
2. what exactly would the new def be?
3. what entitlements would it grant?
4. what is the role of government in all this?
Questions to have handy for those advocating that
"marriage" be legally re-defined to accomodate same-sex
unions (and this is an entirely separate issue from the
same relationship under other names, e.g. "civil union").
* What is the proposed new definition, precisely?
* Does the new definition exclude consanguineous partners?
Can someone marry their sibling, child, parent, cousin?
If not, why not - there's no risk of genetic defects in
the offspring if the partners are the same sex, after all.
Think this is an exaggeration? Check out CousinCouples.com
If you are related to your amour, you already need to pick
a state carefully to get a full-faith&credit ceremony.
* Does new definition limit a person to one partner?
If so, why? That sounds pretty arbitrary and
discriminatory. There's a lot more historical precedent
for polygamy than for same-sex marriage. The polygamists
await the answer.
* What ages must the partners have obtained?
If we're gonna codify marriage at the national level,
we need to consider the fact that minimum age varies
from state to state. Are we sure we want to go there?
It will arise as another unintended-consequence issue.
And before laughing at the following, keep in mind a
recent nuptial in France wherein a bride was wed to her
* Does the new definition require a living partner?
If not, when can you re-marry?
* Does the new definition require a human partner?
Any number of lonely sheep-herders await an answer.
* Does the new definition require any partner at all?
If the number of partners can be different than "1",
why not "0"? Since this movement is in part a benefits
grab, why bother requiring a partner at all? Just marry
Label: Worms - quantity & and variety unknown
My prinicpal beef with the gay-marriage is not with
arbitrary collections of people having marriage-like
cohabitational contracts - that's already possible.
Nor do I have a problem, per se, with people seeking to
get benefits extended to their civil partners - such
efforts will succeed, or not, on their merits.
The real problem is the Orwellian assault on the
dictionary. When women decided they wanted a "Mr."-like
term that was marriage-neutral, they didn't demand a
redefinition of "Miss" or "Mrs.", they coined "Ms.".
I advocate a similar approach.
And turning the Constitution into an official dictionary
is not the solution.
The pro-gay-marriage activists are those who would pretend
that definition of "marriage" found in dictionaries doesn't
mean what it plainly has said for centuries.
These people will just as easily argue about the
definition of "define". This is a cultural (and judicial)
problem, and cannot trvially be fixed by legislation.
Maybe kerry and edwards should for a "union"
That would make a REAL John-John
I think gays should be married and it should be very public record just like any marriage.
It's just not that important to think about.
How about making a deal:
Dan Rather and Sandy Berger get a speedy trial and all gays can get married!
Then the talk about gays in the news just comes to a halt!!!
Clearly it doesn't make much sense to oppose gay marriage, yet support civil unions that grant to same-sex couples the same legal status of marriage. To hold such a view means that one does not support the protection of the institution of marriage, but rather supports the protection of the word 'marriage.'
That's not to say the word is meaningless. It has symbolic meaning, and therefore should be protected. I mean, that dictionaries may start expanding the definition of marriage beyond the union of a man and woman would be huge victory for the Left.
And to be honest, its clear that many Americans are fine with this semantic game, this distinction w/o a difference. The polls show that majorities consistently oppose gay marriage, yet when it comes to civil unions the polls tend to vary a lot more, with the edge going towards recognition of them. But this is no doubt regional. Solid majorities in conservative states, for example, no doubt oppose the legal recogintion of same-sex unions altogether, no matter what euphemism for marriage is used.
That is why defenders of real marriage should consider changing their approach. Many Democrats and Republicans claim to oppose gay marriage, but oppose the Fed Amendment because they favor letting the states decide. Therefore those behind the Amendment that recently lost in the House and Senate should consider calling their bluff.
They should offer an Amendment that does not ban gay marriage, but instead says that with regards to marriage and the legal incidents thereof, Congress shall set federal policy and the people and their state legislatures shall handle it for state purposes.
This would have the advantage of putting many of those politician's feet to the fire. They would then have to vote for or against an Amendment that makes law their stated beliefs. It would also effectively remove the Courts from having a say, thus leaving it truly to the people and their accountable representatives.
Of course this means that the Right would have to accept that a handful of states would eventually go for gay marriage, but if the people of a state want it then the battle is already lost there. It is best to accept that, and concentrate on putting into place protections for the states (probably a majority) that would not now or for the forseeable future grant any legal recognition to same-sex unions.
Otherwise, I fear that the Sup Court will try to go for a Vermont-style compromise whereby they give the states a choice between gay marriage or equivalent civil unions. As I said earlier, this may be fine with New York, Mass, Calif, etc, but for Texas, Mississippi, Idaho, Alabama, North Carolina, Louisiana, etc it would no different than an imposition of gay marriage.
Why not, let's give a green light to all the perverts and deviants.
I actually think that _adding_ the concept of civil unions is okay, specifically because there are non-homosexual reasons for it. For example, it would be a nice device for old ladies who share a house to have a civil union if they have little or no family left. They can get this done now, but it's a huge legal hassle.
That's fine with me so long as it is not imposed by the Judiciary. I think gay marriage should be banned as a moral principle, but practically speaking I am to the point where I don't care what they do in Mass or California, but I do care if those states have it imposed on them by Courts because it portends it being done on all states by a federal court. Plus, I think that is an improper thing for the Courts to do. It is not their proper role to be deciding such things.
The limitations with civil unions becomes legal and financial entitlements (e.g., social security benefits, filing taxes; medical and inheritance rights). There are many senior citizens who now "live together" because of financial reasons.
On the other hand, the high rate of divorce and couples living together unmarried have actually been the most significant factor in the alteration of traditional marriage. Maybe all this hoopala about gay marriages keeps us from missing the real changes in our society.
That's why an Amendment that at least bars the judiciary from getting involved would be a solid victory. It would then mean that any change would risk incurring the wrath of voters.
The problem with redefining marriage, is that once you allow for this or that group, then you open Pandora's Box for every weirdo group (e.g. multiple partners, marry your sheep, or dog or whatever!). Don't change the definition.
You want 'benefits' of getting married? Get married!
You want freedom from rules of marriage? Stay unmarried!
Want Inheritance? Get Married.
Don't like it? Stay single.
Know the rules and work them for what you want, just don't whine because society won't change for you.
Good point about the Pandora's box. I agree that's a tricky one.
I still however, do not think we ned an anti-gay marriage amendment.That's way too much government interference in our bedrooms. Leave it state to state. and lets see where all this goes.
If there are no ACTIVIST judges legislating from the bench, you don't.
The people of Mass. voted and overwhelmingly voted for no gay marriage, the Mass. Supremes over-rode them 4-3 and the openly lesbian judge was against gay marriage!
It won't end with allowing gays to marry or legally partner.
Even in the Netherlands, where it's been legal for years, gays are still demanding equal rights and charging discrimination.
The first two gay men to get their marriage license in Massachusetts explained their concept of a very "open marriage" with multiple partners. So why would they not press for legal polygamy?
Even before the thousands of couples in San Francisco rushed for their marriage licenses, California already allowed Domestic Partnerships.
examples of former Governor Gray Davis voting record on family values:
- Forcing State Contractors To Fund Homosexual 'Marriage'
- $150,000 Fines Against Bible Bookstores, Boy Scouts Councils and Others Who Won't Hire Transsexuals
-'Gay Marriage by Another Name': Virtually All The Rights of Marriage Under State Law (Domestic Partnerships)
-Transsexual Indoctrination of Foster Parents
-Public Employees 'Domestic Partner' Health Benefits
-School sex surveys without parental permission
-Harvesting Unborn Children / Taxpayer-Funded Stem Cell Research
-Expanding 'Domestic Partners' Rights in State Employee Contract
-Taxpayer-Funded Homosexual-Marriage Survivor Benefits
-Equating 'Domestic Partners' with Marriage in the Probate Code
-13 Marriage Rights for Homosexual "Partners"
-Transsexuality In School Sports
-Funding School-Based Clinics That Distribute Condoms and Refer for Abortions Without Parental Consent
-Enforcing the Homosexual Agenda at Public Schools
-Requiring Human Relations Commissions to Promote Homosexuality and Transsexuality
-Penalizing Pro-Life Sidewalk Counselors
-"Morning After" Pills Without a Doctor's Prescription and Without Parental Consent
-Homosexual Curriculum: Requiring Schoolchildren to 'Appreciate...Sexual Orientation'
-Special Status to Homosexual Jurors
-No Prosecution of 'Doctors' Who Botch Abortions
-Statewide "Homosexual Domestic Partners" Registry and Taxpayer-Funded Benefits for Gay "Partners" of State Employees
-Prohibiting Parents and School Boards from Barring Transsexual and Homosexual Teachers
-Large Fines Against Bible Bookstores, Boy Scouts, and Other Businesses and Property Owners Whose Consciences Prohibit Hiring Homosexuals
It's not an anti-gay marriage amendment, it's a pro traditional marriage amendment.
It's also the Only marriage God intended.
Didn't know all that. I just want them to go away and live their sex lives in private.
Why can't they just do that!
I have the answer.............
Because we keep talking about them.
Just ignore them and let them battle with the politicians.
Let them talk to Kerry and he will give them an answer they are happy with and when he does nothing, they will get mad at him. Why are we fighting Kerry's fight.
You state very lucidly the current legal morass in which we currently wade due to how the issue of marriage is being discussed in our society at the moment.
There is a problem with your analysis of my post. You don't take into account the main points of my thesis here.
1) Marriage: def. Matrimonial union between one man and one woman.....no further definition necessary.
2) All freedom in republican government lay on the foundation of marriage.
Those are the two points I am looking for you to address here. And you have not done so.
I would kindly request a response.
"Why not, let's give a green light to all the perverts and deviants"
It's definitely a fight I don't care to fight.
I just think by us fighting it, some how, some way, we are the ones that keep the discussion going. I really don't think the politicians would vote for it if we make it a non issue for discussion.
I could be wrong!
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.