Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Gay Marriage and Me

This week "My Wife Asks..."
It seems to me your views about gay marriage may be changing. Is that true? If so, what’s up with that?
 Hmmmm, how to tackle this one?

Let me first tell you where I sit, before I tell you where I stand.  I am a small "L" libertarian, which means that I am a fiscal conservative and a social liberal (the former more so than the latter).  My first principle is to support and promote fiscal responsibility in government: balanced budgets, low deficits, low tax rates, low spending, etc.  Notice I didn't say "no" deficits, tax rates, spending, etc.  I said "low" because I believe in small/limited government (I'm not an anarchist), and even a small/limited government needs money.

My second principle is to support and promote independence, liberty, and freedom, both in society and economically.  I believe that I know how best to live my life and spend my money.  I am a Federalist, which means that I believe that our Founders intentionally created a government where power is SHARED between national and state governments.  I believe that the federal government has enumerated powers expressly laid out in the Constitution (and that they long ago overstepped on those powers).  I believe that our Constitution was created to limit government, not as a tool to limit it's citizenry.  As Edmund Opitz once said, "No one can read our Constitution without concluding that the people who wrote it wanted their government severely limited; the words “no” and “not” employed in restraint of government power occur 24 times in the first seven articles of the Constitution and 22 more times in the Bill of Rights."

Finally, I wish that the Founders would have put the 10th Amendment first (Pop Quiz:  Without looking online, say aloud the 10th Amendment).  If you don't remember, the 10th Amendment states
The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.
 With all that said, I have come to the belief that there are many, many, MANY issues that are better left in the hands of state governments to handle, and gay marriage should be one of those issues.

In my world view, marriage would be seen by the federal government as a contract between two consenting adults.  In the government's eyes, all marriages would be civil unions. 

I would first eliminate the federal Defense of Marriage Act, as I believe it is an example of the federal government meddling in an issue that is not theirs to decide.

This would then leave it up to each individual state government and their citizenry to define which consenting adults could enter into the marriage contract.  States would decide how old both parties would need to be.  Some states would allow two 16 year olds to marry.  Others would set the age higher.  But it would be up to each state to decide.

In the same way, some (and, I would hope, eventually all) states would recognize all marriages, regardless of the gender of the parties involved (and, hopefully, they would do so legislatively, as Vermont and New Hampshire have done, and not rely upon judicial fiat to decide the issue in their state).  Some states might never recognize same-sex marriage.  My remedy to those gay couples who live in such a state would be for them to convince their fellow citizens to change their mind or, as a last resort, move to a state that does recognize same-sex marriages.  (Similar to how some people leave a state that has too high of a tax rate and move to a state that has a lower tax rate.)

Also, I would like the federal government to switch from an income tax to a consumption tax as a way to eliminate the need for the federal government to get involved in the matter.  This would eliminate tax breaks and incentives for married couples, thereby eliminating the current bias in favor of hetero marriages.

Is my solution perfect?  No.  Are there flaws within my proposed solution?  Yes there are (probably more then I can currently see).  But my solution would be wholly consistent with my libertarian and Federalist principles.

Thoughts, comments, and critiques are welcome in the comment section below.  And feel free to leave your comments anonymously if you would like.


ALBUMBoston by Boston -- with such hits as "More Than a Feeling," "Long Time," "Rock and Roll Band," "Let Me Take You Home Tonight," and "Peace of Mind," it's no wonder that this is the second-best selling debut album of all time.

NETFLIXThe Ultimate Fighter: Season 11  -- I just finished the first disc of this season, and it was fantastic.  Thanks, in large part, to UFC President Dana White, this series gets better and better with each season.

BOOK"Are You Kidding Me?:  The Story of Rocco Mediate's Extraordinary Battle with Tiger Woods at the US Open" by John Feinstein and Rocco Mediate  -- I recently purchased this book on eBay.  I am excited to read the story from Rocco's perspective and compare that to my memories from watching the event on television.

SPOILER ALERT!!!!:  With regard to the television show "Castle," I've discovered that a vast majority of the time, the murderer is the character (who isn't one a regular on the show) who speaks first.  Feel free to try out my theory the next time you watch an episode. 


  1. Your take is interesting.

    I think much of the gay rights issues on either side of the issue has to do with economics. How does one get one's partner on their insurance plan? If gay marriage is allowed, is polygamous marriage as well? And if so, how does one deal with some of the insurance issues tied with that one?

    As you know, I thoroughly support the idea of all marriages being civil unions legally, and leaving the sanctity of marriage to the church.

    I have a problem with the states' rights idea for a number of reasons, at the top of the list being that the states rights' argument has been used to justify all sorts of injustice in the past. Also, being as marital status and child custody has so much to do with the federal tax code, different standards would be problematic. Besides, marriage needs some sense of portablity.

  2. Undoubtedly economics has something to do with this issue, but I cannot see how it is "much" of the issue. I cannot imagine Friar Tuck got married for economic reasons, and I know I did not.

    Additionally, I do not see the connection between gay marriage and polygamous marriage. Comparing the two seems a bit off point.

  3. Adair, R, concurring in part and dissenting in part.
    I agree, we should repeal DOMA. I further agree that states should be allowed to define marriage eligibility (certainly a traditional state function). What I don’t agree with is that a couple who is unable to marry in one state but that is able to marry in another needs to up and move to a friendlier state. This notion is not supported by the Constitution.
    The 10th is easy to recite without looking, but something that might be more Google worthy is the Full Faith and Credit clause of the U.S. Constitution (after all, it limits the 10th Amendment because it is one of those "prohibiting" things mentioned in the 10th Amendment). Art. IV, Sec. 1, U.S. Constitution mandates that the individual states within the United States have to respect the "public acts, records, and judicial proceedings" of other states. It is the Full Faith and Credit Clause, of course, that makes you and Rachael still married in Nebraska (where you now live) even though Colorado issued your marriage license. Similarly, a 16 year old married to another 16 year old in Arkansas is still married when she moves to California, where the marriage age is 18. So, under this provision of the U.S. Constitution, a gay couple married in Iowa should be just as married in Mississippi. Champions of the 10th Amendment (and there are many in this year’s politics) often gloss over the “nor prohibited by it” portion. Well, the Constitution prohibits one state from not recognizing marriage judgments issued in another.
    As to Friar Tuck’s point regarding polygamy, this is a very tired, old argument. From a rhetorical standpoint, why is it just gay marriage that automatically leads to polygamy or to people marrying ducks, lamps, or bridges? Divorced people get to remarry, and no one says that is an opening for polygamy. Legal minorities in some places get to marry, and no one says that encourages bestiality. And, people of different religious, ethnic, racial, a socio-economic backgrounds get to marry, and no one can claim that the Brooklyn Bridge is America’s most eligible bachelor. One consenting adult marrying another consenting adult – gay or straight – is what America is all about. And, unfortunately for those of you who would like to spend millions of dollars scaring voters and driving through discriminatory measures, gay marriage just isn’t slippery slope leading to the four-way nuptials of Bambi, the Statue of Liberty, Liberace, and Satan.

  4. "...all Americans deserve equal rights. Appletini."

  5. @Anonymous---
    I wasnt talking about economic issues on the side of the one that wants to get married, but rather a lot of the politics against gay marriage stems from economic reasons masquerading as moral reasons.

  6. In other words, there are a lot of people that are against gay marriage for moral reasons, but there is a lot of funding of the opposition of gay marriage that I believe might stem from businesses that don't want to out millions of dollars in order to support gay partners that they do not now currently support.

  7. @Ryan--I think you underestimate the polygamy argument. First of all, there is very little human experience of people marrying ducks, bridges, lamps,or bridges. There is a history of heterosexual polygamy from earliest history until today. It is a well-established model of a family system that still exists in many places in the world today.

    Polygamous marriages have the potential and ability to naturally reproduce children, and raise them to be healthy adults. Marriages to barnyard animals do not.

    Polygamy in America is illegal based primarily on Christian conservative moral ethics. As is homosexual marriage.

    Polygamy is, however, allowed, encouraged, or endorsed by many of the world's major religions. It was also endorsed by an American religious movmement, who urged its people to suspend their practice of plural marriage by order of a prophet. Thus, the making of polygamy illegal could be interpreted as prohibiting the free exercise of religion.

    Both gay marriage and plural marriage are outside of the norms our societal norms, but one could easily make the argument that polygamy is more in the mainstream than gay marriage.

    Having said this, I endorse neither.