Room for improvement


Today started at the Supreme Court arguments over same-sex marriage, particularly California banning it via Prop 8 and whether they, um, can’t do that. Tomorrow the ridiculously named “Defense of Marriage” Act, which banned federal recognition of same-sex marriages when legal in a state, comes up.

Given the state involvement in relationships and my preference for state involvement in nothing, I can see where there’s a sense of tension here. In principle, that government on any level is deciding which relationships are legitimate and which ones are not is ridiculous, as it takes such a base emotional value — love — and subjects it to a 3rd party to define. That isn’t a concept that only Christianist right-wingers entertaining visions of wholesale societal collapse can be wary of: personally, my own view of what it means to declare your love for someone is an act of civil defiance of sorts…

“THIS person, I see as above the rest of you, more important than the rest of the world. If need be I will DIE for them, and they would do the same for me! Bring it, humanity, WE are ready!”

Prior to this, ones attachments are either blood or mere commonality/”hey neighbor” type stuff. Love is self-determination in the face of whatever those ties think. So the question goes, with this conception of love as form of emotional disobedience, what are we to make of the pro-side of same sex marriage, given the recognition sought is legal? No piece of paper can ever contain the reality of these relationships, so why seek it? I see the argument for sure of simply erasing the state from being involved at all, thus recognizing that there is no such thing as a compelling interest in the romantic lives of consenting adults. However, though obviously we as libertarians didn’t tie the knot between state and the construct known as marriage, it is there, and has been for long enough that most people living today are used to it.

There being issues of legal recognition for things like hospital visitation rights, adoption, insurance & whatnot doesn’t exactly help loosen the knot either. Basically, we have to deal with the society we have for the moment, and for this moment the question is simply whether or not, for all the flaws and contradictions within civil marriage as we know it, gays have a right to enter it. Let’s see, how best to explain this…

Shift gears for a moment. Pretend we’re not even discussing marriage. Instead, think about the police. Specifically, think about their use of racial profiling, targeting minority groups for additional harassment & violence. Now, the inherent role of the police as the local form of the tip of the spear of government is a role the playing of which I reject. Yet, doing so doesn’t itself stop the racial profiling, which is a pretty big deal if you happen to be a member of a targeted racial group.

It is not a mark of inconsistency to recognize that within a problematic structure some people are getting it worse than others and wish to stop that. Loving While Gay and Driving While Black as reasons for discrimination are both invalid.

Additional stuff on this:
Jesse Walker over at Reason observes just how far back gay marriage actually goes.
Justin Raimondo reminded folks on his Twitter earlier his long-standing opposition to gay marriage. Reminder: Justin Raimondo is gay.


About b-psycho

Left-libertarian blogger & occasional musician.
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5 Responses to Room for improvement

  1. ricketson says:

    You may get a kick out of Vonneguet’s “Mother Night” — I think the narrator refers to his marriage/love as “a nation of two”.

  2. B Psycho says:

    Thanks for the heads up, I’mma check it out. Sounds interesting.

  3. I’m with you on this one.
    If it were up to me, the government would not have anything to say about marriage at all. The various state governments would define rights of people unrelated by blood living together as family in “civil unions,” whether in a sexual relation or not, in terms of Social Security benefits, hospital visitation rights, etc., without saying who is married and who isn’t. It would be up to the couples themselves and their spiritual guides to say who is married and who isn’t.
    The Gospels say Jesus opposed divorce except for reason of adultery by one partner, and remarriage of divorced people for any reason. It has been a long time since the marriage laws reflected the teachings of Christianity in that sense.

  4. Joe says:

    “personally, my own view of what it means to declare your love for someone is an act of civil defiance of sorts…”

    The newish TV show The Americans delves into this idea in an interesting way. If you haven’t seen it (if you have, sorry), the KGB agent protags who are posing as a typical married American couple are beginning to have genuine feelings for each other, and this is definitely frowned upon by their superiors. They’re essentially married to the state, and any attempt to have a “real marriage” is viewed as being unfaithful to the motherland.

  5. Atticus says:

    I second that!

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