Tag Archives: amendment

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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Legislation Reform Act: Keep It Simple

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

Recently, the media reported that House Resolution 3309 was debated in the House that would prevent employers from asking prospective or current employees for their social network passwords as a condition of employment. Or did it?

When I heard the bill was voted down (later amended and passed) along party lines, I was furious with House Republicans. One of the few roles of government is protecting Americans from entities that would infringe upon our rights, and this certainly qualifies.

No one would be OK if an employer said, “I need keys to your house so we can have a forensics team go through it before we hire you.” So why are they allowed to see online private information?

While I enjoy networking, I have my account hidden from the public eye. I love sharing views and making new friends, but I choose whom to share that with. Prospective employers are not included.

If I wanted a technical job at the left-leaning NBC network, for instance, I certainly wouldn’t want them knowing I’m a libertarian who is big on gun rights, limited government, and entitlement reform. Since I wouldn’t be in front of the camera, my opinion shouldn’t matter. But I know their views are quite the opposite and would sooner kill a bunny rabbit than hire a conservative.maxresdefault[2]

I have written previously about the importance of skepticism. Don’t presume to know everything just because your favorite news agency told you “all about it.” Do your research from as many outlets available to you and inform yourself.

Practicing what I preach, I found the amendment and read it. Please read here.

(2015 Update: The next session of Congress passed HR 537, which did prevent this practice here.)

Now after reading that, do you see anything in there that prevents someone from asking for your private information? I don’t either. It was an amendment which merely allowed for a law to be passed preventing the practice as opposed to actually preventing it directly. The fact that there was no reason such a law would be prohibited in the first place, made the amendment redundant and moot. Such redundancy leads me to believe that the only purpose by Democrats was solely to slow up a Republican bill the Democrats didn’t care for. Worse yet, it was for a bill to reform the FCC, which has little to do with most private business practices anyway.

Why did Republicans vote it down? Because it didn’t accomplish what the legislators that wrote it proposed it would. So my apologies to those Republicans I cussed out under my breath when I first read the story. Carry on good sirs.

House of Representatives
House of Representatives

So why did it exist and what was its purpose then? I can’t know with complete certainty what Democrats were thinking. But this appears to be an attempt to make Republicans look bad by writing legislation that presents their opponents with a catch-22.

They propose a law and declare it serves a certain purpose, but when opponents actually read it and see that it doesn’t, they vote no accordingly. This then allows Democrats to say, “Those evil Republicans don’t care about you, and this is proof!”

Both parties propose catch-22 legislation which they know won’t pass for political purposes. It’s a deplorable waste of our money and certainly not the work of people who “serve” their constituents. Sadly, there are countless examples, all of which should be offensive to every American since we’re paying for this nonsense.

Let me propose a hyperbolic theoretical question to illustrate my point. Imagine Congress proposed a bill that would legalize cures for 90% of all deadly diseases, but it required the execution of homeless people. Would you approve it?

If you say no, these opponents would say you voted down a bill that cures 90% of all deadly diseases. If you OK it, they would say you’re killing homeless people. Either way, you are made to look bad, which was the only goal of your opponents in the first place.social_media_strategy111[1]

This is the problem with bills that have unrelated multiple components. If Democrats had really wanted the privacy violating practice to stop, it would have been a stand-alone bill that simply read:

No employer shall ask or require a prospective or current employee to allow that employer access to private online content, including but not limited to social networking sites as a condition of future employment.”

Such a bill would likely have easily passed. I know that single-sentence plain English legislation is rare, but it worked pretty well in our Constitution where each provision was largely straightforward and simple. My apologies to compliance lawyers who would need to repurpose their lives as a result, but maybe we should get back to that model.

Since Congress can’t seem to play nice, I propose the Legislation Reform Act:

No proposed legislation may contain multiple provisions that do not directly pertain to each other in a way that dictates one could not exist without the other. Any non-related provision must be proposed, written, and voted on as a separate and individual piece of legislation.

This simple proposal would end any attempts at attaching bad legislation to good legislation just for political gain. Earmarks and other such nonsense would fall victim to it as well.

It would ensure that all proposals are simple and effective in their design and that each piece be voted on based on its individual merits as opposed to the collective merit of countless unrelated parts as is currently done.