Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at thinking, intelligent individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

"No matter how vast your knowledge or how modest, it is your own mind that has to acquire it." Ayn Rand

15 November 2008

Hijacking Marriage

In the 2008 election cycle, bans defining marriage as only between a man and a woman were passed in California, Arizona, and Florida. The fact that this happened and did so by a wide margin, is touted as proving that the people are center-right in their beliefs, despite the fact that they voted to make a committed socialist our next President.

I do not find this reassuring for several reasons. Why?
  • Marriage is a highly spiritual and complex bond of love, friendship, loyalty, partnership, and sexuality between individuals, which draws strongly on their minds and conscience.
  • Government is not competent to manage and judge such complex interpersonal and spiritual relationships as marriage.
  • Government is the use of force and force is not the means to deal with marriages.
  • Government does and should offer legal contracts which are really civil union contracts, despite being fallaciously called marriage contracts.
  • Because government civil union legal contracts are called marriages, many people concede to government control of the spiritual content of marriages and do not attend to providing that spiritual content in their own marriages.
  • People with beliefs about what marriage should be, including those with such religious beliefs, want government to impose those beliefs on others because we fallaciously call the legal contracts of civil union by the name marriage.
So, we have the strange phenomena of religious people and others who believe that marriage has great spiritual content, conceding control of that spiritual content implicitly to government. Many of these people want marriage restrictions to be placed on all according to their beliefs, in violation of the freedom of conscience of individuals who do not share their belief. They are making a huge concession to socialism here in which they violate the religious and freedom of conscience rights of others, violate others' rights of association, and generally deny others control of their own lives, their bodies, and their pursuit of happiness. They put government in the position of making some of the most spiritual and intimate decisions one can conceive of in the management of people's lives.

The left views attempts of the right to impose their various religious views with respect to marriage, sex, time of personhood, and the creation of life upon everyone through the use of government force as terribly wrong. Yet religious socialists, like Obama, use the religious teachings such as the obligation to be one's brothers keeper and the story of the Good Sumaritan as the very basis for government redistribution of income and wealth. Religion and other dogmas are constantly clamoring to use governments to force everyone else into living their lives in accordance with their particular beliefs. This is seriously wrong.

The Constitution was wisely constructed to place severe limits upon the role of government in order that individuals would have maximal choice and control in the management of their own lives. Government surely has no business being in the marriage business. It does have reason to be in the civil union legal contract business, so that those who wish to enter into such contracts will be able to control such things as joint property ownership, medical decisions, and providing for children. But, this should not be confused with marriage. Marriage should be left explicitly to the conscience of the directly involved individuals. If marriage draws largely on religion for its spiritual content for them, this is their choice. If it draws such content from their own souls, this is their choice. This is not a choice for government, not even one chosen by a majoritarian principal. In such intimate and personal matters as marriage, a majoritarian government is nothing but a brutal tyranny.

The important issue in every political issue is whether the rights of the individual are honored and the sovereignty of the individual is respected. People are more able to manage their own lives well than government is. Government is brutal force and as such it is the problem, not the solution. Keep government out of marriage.

Require government not to discriminate between individuals in performing its limited functions. In particular, government has no business discriminating against all combinations of people wishing the advantages of a civil union other than that of one man and one woman. Government's role in civil union contracts is like that in a business partnership. We do not have a rule that a business partnership must consist of one man and one woman. There are plenty of examples in which a business partnership consists of two men or of two women. There are cases in which it involves six men or three men and three women. Government does not decide who can form a business partnership by examining the partner's gender or by restrictions to pairs. The civil union contract offered by government is an equivalent of another kind of business partnership and should be treated in a similar manner.

Allow the individuals involved to manage their own lives and maintain the freedom to manage your own life according to your conscience. If you concede the determination of who can be in a civil union contract and who cannot to government, then there is nothing that government cannot stick its nose into. If you wish to maintain spiritual content in your marriage, do not concede control of marriage to government. Keep marriage strictly in the private and personal realm of our lives. If we are to do this, then we must insist upon a strict distinction between marriage and government legal contracts for civil unions.

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