The current marriage equality movement within the LGBT community has two important problems in the fight for equal rights. First, it doesn’t actually solve the problem of equal rights and discrimination. Second, it relies on government coercion to force everyone to accept a definition of marriage that some cannot accept, thereby infringing on their liberty.
Marriage should be a perfect example of freedom of association which is an important component of Liberty. However, we have all given up that right in this country. If I want to say that I’m married to my cat, that’s just freedom of speech. You are welcome to not recognize that “union”, if you wish. Marriage should not be something the government (federal, state, or local) has any power over. Why should they be given the power by “We The People” to approve, deny or regulate how we associate with each other?
To illustrate the first shortcoming, let’s examine one of the most important components of marriage equality, which is financial equality (e.g. survivor benefits). If gay marriage is licensed by our government entities, this will only add gays to a group of individuals that already have special rights. This is the group the government calls “married” and from a financial point of view, it will not solve equality or discrimination.
Using Social Security (which in my opinion should be eliminated, or at least voluntary) as an example, allow me to demonstrate. Now that Bob and Rick are recognized as being included in the “married” group, they have special rights previously only enjoyed by heterosexual couples. They are able to assign survivor benefits and a host of other special privileges because they now belong to this special group.
However, Susan who is not married is still excluded from the benefits enjoyed by those that are married. Susan has decided that she wants to remain single her entire life. Therefore, she has no ability to assign survivor benefits to anyone. In essence, her Social Security benefits are worth less than those belonging to the more privileged class of people the government has defined as “married”. People who are single, like Susan, and all others who fall outside of the government’s definition of marriage (e.g. polygamy, polyandry, group marriages, etc.) will continue to be discriminated against. That’s not equality.
The second problem that I have with the gay marriage movement is that it is an attempt to force everyone to accept gay marriage as legitimate. I personally believe homosexuality is a sin. Many people do. So is pride, gluttony, etc., that we are all guilty of. Perhaps I am wrong and someone will convince me otherwise, but for now, that is what I believe. However, not everyone believes what I believe and I really don’t care how people live their lives, as long as they don’t violate the liberty of others.
What I DO object to is having the government mandate, by threat of force, that I must embrace a definition of marriage that I cannot accept. If Bob and Rick want to declare that they are married, I will fight to the death their right to say that, and to live their lives however they want, as long as they don’t violate the rights and liberty of others. However, I will never accept their marriage is legitimate, and I would expect them to defend my right to believe as I wish, as long as I don’t violate their rights.
For me, I think the Apostle Paul sums it up pretty well in 1 Corinthians 5 when he says (in the context of sexual immorality) “what business is it of mine to judge those outside the church?” As Christians, we are told to be a light to the world. However, far too often Christians want the government to be that light for them.
The solution to both points is to get the government out of the marriage license business entirely. Why should the government be in the licensing business in the first place? Should the government have the power to decide who we are able to freely associate with, whether it be a person or a business?
Using Social Security again (as an example of a taxpayer funded organization), individuals should be able to assign survivor benefits to their spouse, Uncle Jim, their friend down the street, etc. Marriage status would no longer be an issue. Problem solved. Owners of private companies should be able to decide what best suits their conscience, since others may freely decide whether or not they agree to work for, and otherwise associate with them.
Ron Paul sums it up pretty well when he says “In economics, licensing is designed by the special interests to suppress competition. Licensing for social reasons reflects the intolerant person’s desire to mold other people’s behavior to their standard. Both depend on the use of illegitimate government force.”