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Why Not Separate Marriage and State? ZOT! And ZOT Again!
National Review ^ | 3/29/13 | John Fund

Posted on 06/04/2014 10:19:50 AM PDT by Iced Tea Party

Cultural civil war can be avoided by getting government out of marriage

There is no question that the media, political, and cultural push for gay marriage has made impressive gains. As recently as 1989, voters in avant-garde San Francisco repealed a law that had established only domestic partnerships.

But judging by the questions posed by Supreme Court justices this week in oral arguments for two gay-marriage cases, most observers do not expect sweeping rulings that would settle the issue and avoid protracted political combat. A total of 41 states currently do not allow gay marriage, and most of those laws are likely to remain in place for some time. Even should the Court declare unconstitutional the Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman for federal purposes, we can expect many pitched battles in Congress. The word “spouse” appears in federal laws and regulations a total of 1,138 times, and many of those references would have to be untangled by Congress absent DOMA.

No wonder Wisconsin’s GOP governor Scott Walker sees public desire for a Third Way. On Meet the Press this month he remarked on how many young people have asked him why the debate is over whether the definition of marriage should be expanded. They think the question is rather “why the government is sanctioning it in the first place.” The alterative would be to “not have the government sanction marriage period, and leave that up to the churches and the synagogues and others to define that.”

Governor Walker made clear these thoughts weren’t “anything I’m advocating for,” but he gave voice to many people who don’t think the gay-marriage debate should tear the country apart in a battle over who controls the culture and wins the government’s seal of approval. Gay-marriage proponents argue that their struggle is the civil-rights issue of our time, although many gays privately question that idea. Opponents who bear no animus toward gays lament that ancient traditions are being swept aside before the evidence is in on how gay marriage would affect the culture.

Both sides operate from the shaky premise that government must be the arbiter of this dispute. Columnist Andrew Sullivan, a crusader for gay marriage, has written that “marriage is a formal, public institution that only the government can grant.” But that’s not so. Marriage predates government. Marriage scholar Lawrence Stone has noted that in the Middle Ages it was “treated as a private contract between two families . . . For those without property, it was a private contract between two individuals enforced by the community sense of what was right.” Indeed, marriage wasn’t even regulated by law in Britain until the Marriage Acts of 1754 and 1835. Common-law unions in early America were long recognized before each state imposed a one-size-fits-all set of marriage laws.

The Founding Fathers avoided creating government-approved religions so as to avoid Europe’s history of church-based wars. Depoliticizing religion has mostly proven to be a good template for defusing conflict by keeping it largely in the private sphere.

Turning marriage into fundamentally a private right wouldn’t be an easy task. Courts and government would still be called on to recognize and enforce contracts that a couple would enter into, and clearly some contracts — such as in a slave-master relationship — would be invalid. But instead of fighting over which marriages gain its approval, government would end the business of making distinctions for the purpose of social engineering based on whether someone was married. A flatter tax code would go a long way toward ending marriage penalties or bonuses. We would need a more sensible system of legal immigration so that fewer people would enter the country solely on the basis of spousal rights.

The current debate pits those demanding “marriage equality” against supporters of “traditional marriage.” But many Americans believe it would be better if we left matters to individuals and religious bodies. The cherished principle of separating church and state should be extended as much as possible into separating marriage and state. Ron Paul won many cheers during his 2012 presidential campaign when he declared, “I’d like to see all governments out of the marriage question. I don’t think it’s a state decision. I think it’s a religious function. I am supportive of all voluntary associations and people can call it whatever they want.”

Supporters of traditional marriage know the political winds are blowing against them. A new Fox News poll finds 49 percent of voters favoring gay marriage, up from just 32 percent a decade ago. And among self-described conservatives under 35, Fox found support for gay marriage is now at 44 percent. Even if the Supreme Court leaves the battle for gay marriage to trench warfare in the states, the balance of power is shifting. Rush Limbaugh, a powerful social conservative, told his listeners this week: “I don’t care what this court does with this particular ruling. . . . I think the inertia is clearly moving in the direction that there is going to be gay marriage at some point nationwide.”

But a majority of Americans still believe the issue of gay marriage should be settled by the states and not with Roe v. Wade–style central planning. It might still be possible to assemble a coalition of people who want to avoid a civil war over the culture and who favor getting government out of the business of marriage.

— John Fund is national-affairs columnist for NRO.

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Government; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: freedom; fusroduh; homosexualagenda; limitedgovernment; marriage; nuclearfamily; samesexmarriage; smallgovernment; smashthepatriarchy; ursulathevk; waronmarriage; zot
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A way to cut the Gordian Knot that has been tying up the conservative movement and obstructing progress toward rolling back Big Government.
1 posted on 06/04/2014 10:19:50 AM PDT by Iced Tea Party
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To: Iced Tea Party

We have a winner!

2 posted on 06/04/2014 10:22:55 AM PDT by griswold3 (I was born heI're in America. I will die here in a third world country. Obama succeeded.)
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To: Iced Tea Party

The people are the government and the people should control marriage. Otherwise, anyone can claim to be a church and then marry gays or any other combination you can think of.

Someone could start a church called the Gay Church of Christ and marry all the gays they wanted and without a government regulation on marriage, there would be nothing we could do to control it.

3 posted on 06/04/2014 10:24:19 AM PDT by Oliviaforever
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To: Iced Tea Party

Thus, we end up with marriage as a contract between 2 to n people of any sex, blood status or age.

I wish the gay “marriage” proponents would be honest about that being the end game.

4 posted on 06/04/2014 10:24:19 AM PDT by freedumb2003 (AGW "Scientific method:" Draw your lines first, then plot your points)
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To: Iced Tea Party

The government shoud be in the business of issuing a license that recognizes the civil partnership of two consenting adults. They should further offer the services of a notary to complete and file the license once both partners sign it.

If you want a religious celebrant to recognize your marriage at a joyous celebration, the state shouldn’t be involved.

Yes this sucks but the genie isn’t going back into the bottle.

5 posted on 06/04/2014 10:25:27 AM PDT by muir_redwoods (When I first read it, " Atlas Shrugged" was fiction)
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To: Iced Tea Party
First and foremost, the Constitution does not delegate marriage issues to the federal government. Their meddling in your marital and other personal status on tax forms ends with a simple 10%-15% FLAT TAX. Done.

Secondly, the people of each state need to decide to leave marriage out of state government's hands. Same issue: flat tax solves state meddling in martial and other personal status.

6 posted on 06/04/2014 10:26:13 AM PDT by PapaNew
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To: PapaNew

If it were only an issue about money, then problem solved.

Homosexual marriage isn’t about tax status.

7 posted on 06/04/2014 10:28:30 AM PDT by Reddy (bo stinks)
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To: griswold3

I’ve tried to explain this for 30 years. Your preacher marries you. This is what marriage is: a contract between two people and God. The fact that the state chooses to recognize this arraignment is secondary. But, even preachers are ignorant of the concept of marriage, and most won’t even perform a ceremony without a marriage “license.” People are just plain stupid, and that is why we suffer.

8 posted on 06/04/2014 10:28:58 AM PDT by HMS Surprise (Chris Christie can STILL go straight to hell.)
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To: Iced Tea Party
As recently as 1989, voters in avant-garde San Francisco repealed a law that had established only domestic partnerships.

If that happened today the black robed tyrants on the Federal bench would declare the voters' actions to be unconstitutional and reinstate the law. Like everything else that has happened in this country for the past 25 years it has been done against the will of the people.

9 posted on 06/04/2014 10:30:09 AM PDT by Count of Monte Fisto (The foundation of modern society is the denial of reality.)
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To: Iced Tea Party

Cultural civil war can be avoided by getting government out of marriage.


Crap and Bull Crap. Just what one would expect from a liberal rag.

10 posted on 06/04/2014 10:31:42 AM PDT by Responsibility2nd (NO LIBS. This Means Liberals and (L)libertarians! Same Thing. NO LIBS!!)
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To: Iced Tea Party; All

this is a nonsense argument pushed by the ABA.

It is by design, intended to remove children out of marriage and make them a separate legal issue and make probate rules default to the state inheriting all.

WE USED TO HAVE a non state recording system. It was full of fraud and abandonment. It does not work.

This is a junk argument for establishment republicans to find cover from those who do not support sexual fetish based “marriage”.

All voluntary makes anything goes. Marry your cat, all your cats, your refrigerator, one two three fifty people and things. Marry your real estate or pot plant or personal property. There is no rule against it.

11 posted on 06/04/2014 10:32:24 AM PDT by longtermmemmory (VOTE! and
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To: Iced Tea Party

So can the state then force a contractual spouse to testify against their contractual partner in court? Also, from the point of view of taxes then will my stay at home spouse then be nonexistent, i.e., I will be treated as if I am a single person perhaps doubling my taxes? If you want to really kill traditional marriage then treat the traditional man works/wife stays home the same as a single person enjoying life in SF.

12 posted on 06/04/2014 10:33:45 AM PDT by C19fan
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To: Iced Tea Party
Turning marriage into fundamentally a private right

It already IS a private right! Everything that is not delegated to the federal government by the Constitution IS a God-given right and is reserved to the states and people receptively (10th Amendment).

Quit trying to create a Soviet Stater where the state creates rights, the State then expands its power to enforce, and the State may take away at any time. America is exceptional becasue it acknowledges the beginning point in the affairs of man is the INDIVIDUAL's God-given (not man-given) unalienable rights.The Constitution is aimed at binding the federal government to ensure it stays within those LIMITED rights and powers DELEGATED by the Constitution via the states and the people.

13 posted on 06/04/2014 10:34:47 AM PDT by PapaNew
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To: Iced Tea Party

How do you get marriage out of the government? Will the federal government still be treating, for example, in the armed forces, a perverted homo couple the same equivalent as a man-and-wife in regards to military housing?

14 posted on 06/04/2014 10:35:02 AM PDT by greene66
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To: HMS Surprise

“The fact that the state chooses to recognize this arraignment is secondary.” LOL!!!!!!!!!!
I’m not sure if it’s an
“I saw what you did there” typo,
but it sure is the most delicious Miss Spelling I’ve read in a LONG time!

15 posted on 06/04/2014 10:37:15 AM PDT by spankalib ("I freed a thousand slaves. I could have freed a thousand more if only they knew they were slaves.")
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To: PapaNew
George Washington and Abraham Lincoln didn't need a .gov marriage license, neither should the rest of US.
16 posted on 06/04/2014 10:37:34 AM PDT by Theoria (End Socialism : No more GOP and Dem candidates)
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To: Iced Tea Party; AFA-Michigan; Abathar; Absolutely Nobama; Albion Wilde; AliVeritas; Antoninus; ...
Banns of marriage were REQUIRED throughout western Europe by the early 13th century and were codified into law by governments over the next few centuries. English Common Law regulated marriage long before American independence and it is absurd to think that that Founding Fathers would have EVER viewed same-sex marriage as permissible (they considered homosexuality to be a serious and even capital offense. Marriage is not a "big government" issue, it has been a function of governments for centuries.

This nonsense about getting the government out of marriage is just another libertarian ploy to advance the leftist agenda through appeasement.

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17 posted on 06/04/2014 10:38:22 AM PDT by wagglebee ("A political party cannot be all things to all people." -- Ronald Reagan, 3/1/75)
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To: Oliviaforever

Without government involvement in marriage, what would that matter? Anyone can create whatever kind of church they like, and call it whatever they want. This is established under the First Amendment. If someone wants to form a church that conforms to what they personally believe and conduct marriages, how does that affect anyone outside of whatever congregation they may have?

18 posted on 06/04/2014 10:38:26 AM PDT by Coronal
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To: Iced Tea Party
I've said this for years. The gov shouldn't be marrying anyone. They should be granting civil unions for those who want to combine their lives legally. Churches and other social groups should provide the marrying.

I've known of divorced women not gay who wanted a civil union, not a marriage, so children and exes would not take over in times of emergency.

19 posted on 06/04/2014 10:39:10 AM PDT by grania
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To: Iced Tea Party

Ugh, a fundamentally dumb argument.

20 posted on 06/04/2014 10:40:31 AM PDT by frogjerk (We are conservatives. Not libertarians, not "fiscal conservatives", not moderates)
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