Marriage and government need a divorce

Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)
Gary Nolan (and THE Scrappy Doo)

Straight people being opposed to gay marriage makes as much sense as someone who is on a diet being upset that the person next to them is eating a doughnut. ~ Anonymous

I love the simplicity of this quote. Because I am heterosexual, the gay-marriage issue doesn’t personally affect me, but as a libertarian who considers liberty the single most important thing mankind should have behind food, air, and water; I am furious when people think it’s their right to dictate the behavior of others; especially when that behavior doesn’t infringe on their own rights in any way.

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United States Constitution

The U.S. Constitution, to an atheist patriotic libertarian like me, is the closest thing I have to a bible, as it ensures my freedom.

The religious-right wing of the GOP have proposed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman. Republicans present themselves as the party that loves the Constitution, and many prominent Republicans even carry around a miniature copy in their pocket to consult whenever the desire strikes them.

Kudos to them for loving the Constitution—it’s a pretty amazing document. What concerns me is they don’t seem to comprehend or understand the sentiment behind it. There’s an underlying theme in our constitution that is often lost on people proposing such changes.

The U.S. Constitution was specifically drafted to establish a government, then restrain it. Let’s look at the 1st amendment for instance:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It says, Congress shall make no law… not The people may…

This distinction means that the Constitution is a set of limits to government as demanded by the people who have the power, not permissions granted to the people by a government that has the power. Our rights are ingrained within us, not given to us by government.

Our forefathers were all oppressed by their respective homeland’s monarchies, something modern day Americans have had the good fortune to not know (Thanks veterans!), and they weren’t about to let such oppression happen here. We the people should never tolerate a government that feels it has the right to tell us what we can do. We the people decided that we wanted to create a system of government solely to protect our rights, and that’s it.

Aside from prohibition, which we rightly fixed later, the Constitution has never placed limits on the people, only the government.

So the idea of a Constitutional amendment defining marriage is specifically out of character for that document—a polar opposite to the rest of it.

Republicans complain about losing the White House; many claiming it’s because people want free stuff and are willing to vote themselves handouts. While this is certainly a part of it, Republicans also lost because many of them are mired in religious ideology that a majority of Americans, including many Christians, think the government shouldn’t be legislating. We are not a theocracy, and those wanting to legislate religion-based morals scare reasonable Americans.

The issue is much bigger than this proposed amendment however, as Government shouldn’t be in the business of marriage in the first place. Let’s go back and think about what marriage is.

Long term, it’s a commitment between two people; a contract of love, which is generally followed by a ceremony among friends and family to celebrate that union.

I defy anyone to name one good reason why government needs to be involved in any of this. The process should be pretty simple.

Marriage License
Unnecessary nonsense in a free country: AKA Marriage Licensthe process should be simple.
  • Two or more people decide they want to commit to each other.
  • They find a venue willing to perform a ceremony of their choosing.
  • They sign a contract with terms that they all agree to.
  • Done.

The only thing the government should do is enforce the contract in the event of a dispute. Meaning, if someone breaches that contract, leaves the union, and the parties can’t come to terms on how to settle their assets, a court settles it for them.

Some of you might be thinking I’m crazy—I’ve been called worse. But guess what; everything I’m proposing is already legal. It’s just that we don’t call it marriage. I could rent a hall somewhere and perform a “Love ceremony” or something like that, then enter into a contract with someone where we give power of attorney to each other and agree to some sort of legal partnership. This is basically what a marriage is, and the law will enforce that contract as it is written. The only thing I’m proposing is that the government has no business requiring you to get a license to do it, and subject you to regulations, if you want to call this contract “marriage.”

All that being said, to be fair, there should also be similar protections for the various religious entities (churches, mosques, etc.) that do not wish to perform such ceremonies, so that they indemnified from legal action if they decline to perform the service.

If the couple wants liberty, the church must have it too; otherwise it’s a hypocritical infringement of rights on the church instead of the non-traditional wedding party.

So when someone asks me whether I support legalization of gay marriage? To me, it’s just an illogical question. Government and marriage have no business being married in the first place.

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