Marriage and Rights: An Exposition on Gay Marriage
There has been some buzz about Glenn Beck’s bone throw to libertarians over the issue of gay marriage. According to The Washington Post, in a recent interview Beck said:
“The question isn’t, ‘Should gay people be married or not,’ the question is, ‘Why is the government involved in our marriage?’” Beck added in the clip. “We can solve the whole [debate] with just more freedom.”
Beck then went on to state:
“I don’t care. I don’t want to hurt anybody. Fine,whatever live your life the way you want to live your life. its none of my business if ‘it neither breaks my back nor picks my pocket,’ as Thomas Jefferson said, what business is it of mine?”
Beck’s expression is encouraging since he has worn the Tea Party and even social conservative hats. I agree, in principle, that government has no role to play in marriage. But, as it turns out, a marriage license is the only document governments and insurance companies will accept for a marriage to be legitimate. The way marriage is regulated it is prohibitively expensive for couples (gay or straight) to establish trusts to legally protect their assets via wills or even signed agreements in which they can even be contested in a court of law. Oft times gay couples are subject to humongous tax rates in order for their partners to inherit the deceased loved one’s wealth provided that a relative of the deceased does not legally challenge the inheritance.
Some have made the case that individual states should decide how they want marriage regulated within their jurisdiction. However, under the State’s Rights scheme people are then subjected to a patch-work of state laws related to marriage where gays and lesbians have to travel to other areas of the country in order for their unions to be recognized. This is essentially what is done now and gay couples can still be denied having their marriages recognized depending on what state they are in leaving them unable to to use courts for divorce or inheritance resolution if their state does not recognize gay marriage.
Rights are for individuals not states and in our constitutional republic states are political subdivisions delegated certain powers greater than the federal entity. This division of powers is done in order to protect individual liberty when it is abridged by said jurisdictions invalidating federal, state, and even local laws that do so. Efforts to remove government from marriage should be undertaken with the eventual, long-term goal of leaving such arrangements as a private, contractual arrangement.
Claims by gay marriage opponents that they want to preserve the institution of marriage is, in reality, a way to dodge the issue itself. Opponents point to high divorce rates as one of many examples that they use as evidence to show that many people lack morals. Institutions are libraries, courts, hospitals, and schools. They are not related to the acts of people who are deeply in love and want to join in the bonds of matrimony which is something best left to the people involved.
I would dare to argue that the reason for high divorce rates is not necessarily due to a lack of morality but a result of the idea that, like love, marriage is a sacrificial act. As long as relationships are viewed as sacrificial and not for the sake of mutual betterment for two people to be who they are, then divorce rates and the rapid breakup of relationships (including marriages) will continue to rise.
Liberals subscribe to the egalitarian notion that love should be given indiscriminately devalues the emotion of love itself. Love should be recognized for what it is: a selfish, and not a sacrificial, act. When you love or even marry someone it is purely to satisfy your ego and your partner, likewise, enters into the relationship to satisfy theirs. Treating relationships (be it marriage or even friendship) as a selfish act as well as people being open and honest in communicating their feelings and ideas will bring an end to much of the problems seen in relationships.
When it comes to gay marriage, most people could care less if two adults of the same sex marry. What they have a problem with is calling such a union a marriage in the first place. Yet, oddly enough, even some opponents of gay marriage do support civil unions for gay couples. When it comes to gays, opponents prefer a marriage by any other name. Attempts to define who can and not be married legally is one way moral busy-bodies (such as politicians, bureaucrats and religionists) attempting to micromanage the love lives of people. So long as it involves consenting adults, gay couples should be able to create their own matrimonial unions without the legal or cultural notions of what marriage or love should be.