POLITICAL: Marriage; Gooferment MYOB


Privatize Marriage Now
Reviewed by Ryan McMaken

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The state hates it when property changes hands without being taxed and regulated, so the state set its sights on marriage centuries ago. Over time civil governments inserted themselves more and more into the religious institutions of marriage. This was helped along by the Reformation and by defenders of government-controlled marriage like King Henry VIII of England. As nation-states consolidated their monopolies on all law and over all institutions in society, the state finally displaced religious institutions as the final arbiter on marriage.

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What they should be arguing for is the removal of civil governments from the marriage bond altogether. Couples who wish to marry should approach their religious authorities about it. Then, if they wish they can join into some kind of civil union, which is just a contract. People who wish to have a civil union but no marriage may enter into that arrangement, and those who wish for a marriage with no civil union should be able to do that as well. Marriage, properly understood, should be considered off limits from government meddling. People are welcome to contract, but if the “defenders” of marriage had done their jobs right, there would be no confusion today about what is marriage and what is a government-approved contractual union.

Unfortunately, though, when Conservatives and Christian Right types bemoan the loss of so-called “traditional” marriage yet agitate for more government control of the institution, they really have only themselves to blame since they’re therefore accepting the proposition that government has the legitimate authority to regulate and control marriage. The power to regulate marriage is the power to destroy it.

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How could we let Gooferment take over and run our lives?

And, by pushing the Church out of marriage, we weaken the one institution that can make marriages stronger. Just as true charity requires a personal involvement, so to any marriage would be bolstered by a Church community.


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At the heart of it all, predictably, is the urge to control the lives of others. White people might marry black people! Horror of horrors. Therefore, the state must get involved. No doubt these arguments in favor of more government meddling were made with an overlying patina of “freedom.” Just as the modern anti-immigration crowd today argues that we must destroy freedom in order to save it, the old racist proponents of government marriage likely argued that we must abolish freedom in marriage or the “Negro agitatuhs” and their dusky-skinned allies will destroy freedom. Conservative “logic” at its best.

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