Sunday, June 14, 2009


Denationalize marriage

One of the better arguments I have heard for ending state control of the marriage contract.

What about same-sex marriage, another key issue for religious conservatives? Doesn't the "leave us alone" tack militate against banning gay unions?
That one is more wrapped around the axle. And the reason is sometime around 1600s, religion allows the state to nationalize marriage. So when people say, "We can't let the state change a sacrament by allowing same-sex marriage," I go, "Where were you 300 years ago, when you handed the state control of this issue?" So the proper political answer is: Churches, synagogues, and mosques should write marriage contracts, and the state should enforce contracts. You shouldn't have sacraments organized, managed, and defined by the states.

Communities of faith ought to be into denationalizing marriage, just as I want to denationalize healthcare and education, rather than trying to get the federal government to run the post office correctly or manage marriage correctly.

Marriage is in trouble because the state's definition of marriage, the only marriage available, is a sham. Any contract that can be broken by one party without penalty is worthless. Norquist's argument is simple and elegant. The problem I have with Gay marriage is not that a same sex couple should have a union which allows them inheritance rights, the right to see their partner in a hospital, or the right to share health insurance if a company will insure them. My problem is that a one size fits all, gov't sanctioned marriage will give same sex couples the right to force religious institutions to accept Gay marriage. Religious institutions shouldn't be forced to perform same sex marriages or to cater to same sex couples if it violates their tenets; i.e., adoption services.

Decoupling the state and marriage will create a market for marriage in which couples can chose the type of contract they want to sign. I believe this will lead most couples to chosing a stronger contract than the one that is currently available and that will be good for society.



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