Thursday, November 27, 2008

Simply the best post I've read related to gay marriage, since ...

... I don't know, maybe ever.

From religion dispatches via Waldo, here's the core of it:

I no longer recognize marriage. It’s a new thing I’m trying.

Yesterday I called a woman’s spouse her boyfriend.

She says, correcting me, “He’s my husband,”
“Oh,” I say, “I no longer recognize marriage.”

The impact is obvious. I tried it on a man who has been in a relationship for years,

“How’s your longtime companion, Jill?”
“She’s my wife!”
“Yeah, well, my beliefs don’t recognize marriage.”

Fun. And instant, eyebrow-raising recognition. Suddenly the majority gets to feel what the minority feels. In a moment they feel what it’s like to have their relationship downgraded, and to have a much taken-for-granted right called into question because of another’s beliefs.

Just replace the words husband, wife, spouse, or fiancé with boyfriend, girlfriend, special friend, or longtime companion. There is a reason we needed stronger words for more serious relationships. We know it; now they can see it.

I have only one problem with this strategy: having been married myself for 17 years, I can't quite figure out how to go around telling people I no longer recognize marriage without risking a frying pan upside the head.

But I think it makes a tremendous point about the legitimacy being deprived certain American citizens.


John Famularo said...

As a libertarian I don't have any problem with how individuals want to associate and/or identify themselves; however, I do care when the government is involved. I would much rather that the government be out of the marriage business than broadening its definition and providing special rights and privileges to that class.

I can only see future problems evolving if the government officially states that heterosexual marriage and relationships are for all intents and purposes equivalent to homosexual ones. People involved in biology, medicine, education and physiology will have to do political dances and be distracted and inhibited from following the logic and science of their professions.

It would be similar to the problem that would arise if the government stated that evolution and young earth creationism must be considered equally valid theories.

Steven H. Newton said...

You present the two options--(A) govt extends marital recognition to gays and (B) govt gets out of the marriage business altogether--as if they were both somehow equally likely.

They aren't. Government is not going to get out of the marriage business any time soon, even though that would be my preference.

But as long as govt extends specific legal benefits only to heterosexual couples with a marriage license, then I will accept the interim step of requiring govt to extend those benefits to all couples. It's a 14th Amendment thing.

I also think that giving marriage rights to gays will actually lead many people to want the govt completely out of marriage.

Anonymous said...

I’ve been banned over at DE Liberal for several weeks now because they didn’t like what I was writing. I never got personal and I never used any language that hadn’t been used before over there. In fact, it was less severe than what I often read on that blog.

Talk about practicing what you preach. What HYPOCRITES!

Just wanted to put that out there.

ChrisNC said...

Some people should be denied equality under the law, because otherwise some people might be inconvenienced? Wow! How about this instead: if some people are having to state SCIENCE a certain way NOW because of the law, THAT is the problem, not marriage equality.

John Famularo said...

My point is that you don't increase freedom and equality by adding more words to the body of statutory law.

The gay marriage thing is just another example of hard cases making bad law. It will not be a net benefit to gays.

The only excuse for it is the weak case that some gays will feel better for a while and the law is so screwed up now that a little more screwing up won't matter that much. The reality of unintended consequences will always prevail.

Libertarians should be looking for the best libertarian solutions and promoting them. If we can't think of any or can't come up with cogent persuasive arguments the best course of action is to remain silent until you can. The default option is not to promote authoritarian solutions, regardless of the fact that they will be easier to implement.

Zaklog the Great said...

What you "no longer recognize" is one of the foundations of civilization whenever and wherever civilization has existed farther back than we can remember and without some form of which society would break down within two generations. What *I* don't recognize is an amusing novelty which a small but obnoxiously loud minority has been calling for for not more than 15 years and which, at best, changes nothing and, at worst, further damages the real thing.

I should congratulate you for being clever, but this is nothing like a meaningful argument.