Thursday, May 17, 2012

The Same Sex Marriage Solution

President Obama's recent announcement has same sex marriage back in the news, and we're hearing the same arguments we've all heard before.  There's a simple solution that people would accept.  Before I approach that, there are some important points to make.  Same sex marriage isn't inevitable.  It isn't the same as traditional marriage.  Where it's been legalized, it's been used to attack the beliefs and rights of those who oppose it.

That last point is actually why I oppose same sex marriage.  It may come as a shock, but unlike most same sex marriage opponents, I don't actually care who marries whom or what anyone does in her or his bedroom.  There are other important reasons to oppose same sex marriage.  As a libertarian I do demand freedom of conscience and freedom from coercion.  That applies to those in same sex relationships and to faith groups and others who don't accept such relationships.

My solution to the issue isn't a new concept.  It was mentioned by Elton John during the aftermath of the passage of Proposition 8 in California.  It's also a very libertarian solution:  get the government out of marriage completely.

Marriage is a matter of faith and conscience.  Those who would use it to further a political agenda will never meet with anything but staunch and vehement opposition as befits the ill-intentioned use of anything sacred.  So, leave marriage to faith groups.  Let them marry whomever they choose.  Some faiths will solemnize same sex marriages and others won't.  In time, shifts in membership will determine what model works best.

Government essentially treats marriage as a contract, and from a civil perspective, that's all it is.  Government should issue a civil union to any couple that seeks it and treat all such contracts equally.  It's simple.  It's fair.  It prevents extremists from using marriage as a weapon against those who don't share their agenda.  It allows complete freedom of conscience, equality of everyone before the law, and freedom from coercion.

Finally, it would very likely pass in nearly every state in the union.

Update:  Orson Scott Card weighs in on the extremist agenda with regard to SSM.  (Hat Tip Mark)
If you like OSC, more thoughts regarding CA's Prop. 8 with ramifications for any state and the federal government.


Rachel said...

I completely agree with you that the government should get out of marriage. Marriage is a personal choice. What about the people (like me) who don't want to get married but would like to live with someone for longer than 7 years? I know several couples have ended their relationship because one (or both) simply did not want to get married and were forced into that decision by the government.

If the government got out of marriage, the issue then becomes mainly about taxes and how to collect them. I'm an advocate for a flat income tax instead of the current tax bracket system, and if the government did ever get out of marriage, I'd say tax each person separately, married or not. And kids can no longer be used as a tax break.

What are your opinions on how to collect taxes if the government gets out of marriage?

Mark said...

I (Mark) would also eliminate income tax and replace with a national sales tax.

Andrew said...

Rachel, I agree that common law marriage, which exists in some states should be eliminated as part of getting government out of marriage. Common law marriage (for those unfamiliar with the issue, "automatic" marriage by law if people cohabitate long enough) is a form of coercion.

Mark's solution is a great one, which also complies completely with the IV and V amendments. Slightly less ideal, but perhaps more feasible would be to scrap current tax code and replace it with a flat tax. If you're interested, search "tax" on this blog and you'll see previous posts on the issue. Either tax would be fair to all individuals in the U.S. with no penalties, loopholes or complex code involved in filing separately or jointly. Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Rachel!