A libertarian answers Reason Magazine’s “conservative” case for gay marriage

A. Barton Hinkle has written an article found at Reason Magazine contributing reasons he believes conservatives have for supporting same-sex marriage, other than the old boiler-plate equality argument:
http://reason.com/archives/2013/10/07/a-conservative-case-for-gay-marriage

Being of libertarian persuasion myself, I think the government should not only get out of the business of telling people who to marry or not to marry, but get out of the business of “licensing” anybody at all to marry. There should be no benefit to marrying or not marrying, at all. Or any government-with-guns favored behavior at all.

But some of these things deserve answering in the context outside of that, because too many libertarians mistakenly think that supporting such a thing in general is a libertarian cause. I say that because their arguments show it.

(1) Gay marriage is good for “the institution of marriage.

Just because you’re under the illusion that “gay marriage” means more marriages does not make it so. I say illusion not because it necessarily means the opposite but because this assertion is a facile kind of argument, along the lines of the superficial supposition that anything government does for a group is good for them. That’s not an analogy to the argument, it’s just to say that this “reason”, at least the reasoning, does not take into account the unintended consequences, which is something libertarians are supposed to specialize in.

In fact the author recognizes some of this anyway when he admits that marriage between cats and mice would not strengthen the institution of marriage.

And one more thing, simply saying that “gay marriage” gets gay people to buy into a “(conservative)” value set (parentheses his), presupposes that a “conservative” value set including marriage with commitment would include the idea of same-sex marriage, something that a great many conservatives of course sharply disagree with.

In fact, gay marriage is another big blow to the institution of marriage and of the natural family. Not to mention intellectual honesty and common sense. The first one was easy divorce, which I view as a symptom rather than cause. Gay marriage is the second. Some groups advocating “gay marriage” already –quietly of course– include polygamy in their list of demands. After that will be group marriages.

But what this movement is really about is not about equality. It is driven more by powers and shadowy groups that seek to end the institution of marriage altogether, and absolutely fits what I used to support as a college-age Communist, full-blown. It’s part of the platform of the Communist Party, as listed by Karl Marx himself in the Communist Manifesto, right alongside central banks and dictatorships.

(2) Gay marriage fosters virtue.

Social conservatives believe sexual promiscuity is bad for the body and corrosive to the soul – that the sexual revolution’s encouragement of licentiousness has degraded social norms and debased our common virtue. If they are right about that, then allowing homosexuals to enter lifetime monogamy ought to be altogether desirable – just as it is desirable for heterosexuals, and for the same reasons.

Muy bonito, as they would say in Latin America. “Allowing homosexuals to enter lifetime monogamy” is desirable. Listen, A. Barton, not one person is America is preventing any “gay couple” in America or anywhere else from “entering lifetime monogamy”. Any gay couple can do that without pretending to be wed in what you called “holy” matrimony.

In fact, it would do the opposite in a number of ways.

One Christian speaker tells about a time when during Q&A, a “gay couple” arose to tell him they were engaged in a monogamous relationships. He asked this “gay man” for “how much” they were monogamous. Say, 100%, 90%, 60%? And the young man answered, “about 80%”. This young man did so apparently without even thinking.

The speaker of course highlighted the difference between “gay marriage” monogamy and heterosexual monogamy in the answer. He said his wife would never tolerate such a “monogamous “marriage”. In fact, almost all Hollywood movies recognize that one “infidelity” breaks the monogamy.

(3) Gay marriage benefits children.

Oh really?! Wow. Almost every social study on the subject has shown that by almost any objective criteria, in general, children raised in a home with both a father and a mother do better later on than those raised in any other family configuration.

In fact, the ACLU argument quoted here, mitigates against their own position, saying that denying same-sex “marriage” is to deny those children “the protection and stability of having parents who are married.” One of the most repeated points made by advocates is that heterosexual marriage is already broken, and they are right.

That’s because there’s so much selfishness, self-centeredness in the culture, and so many more people today than before who have grown up to think they have to claim all their “rights” and so cannot see another’s perspective. (Right here some are thinking I should consider another’s perspectives, but I have and it is irrelevant to the point. So read it again).

The point is, the reasons homosexual marriages are breaking down are part of the same phenomenon that drives the reasons argued for “gay marriage”.

The statement quoted there that “There is no evidence that gay parents are any less effective or loving than heterosexual ones” is actually and factually incorrect. Every relevant study shows a father and a mother in the home is best for the child. The words “less effective” cover a lot of ambiguity. “No evidence” probably means the speaker has avoided seeing it, and when pointed to it, just issues the mantra chant of “bigotry” as if using the word without addressing the issues raised would counter every argument.

(4) Banning gay marriage injects government where it doesn’t belong.

I agree with this, but it’s because marriage itself is something where the government does not belong.

As a matter of fact, demanding the government issue licenses for “gay marriage” is to recognize that government in fact must determine what is the optimal role for a family. Traditionally the entire culture, in fact almost all cultures for millenia, have considered gay coupling as something way outside of marriage, because marriage has always been seen as a natural institution that was best for raising children.

Even demanding “gay marriage” is in a way a demand for the “right” to simulate heterosexual marriage.

Now this really intellectually dishonest argument:

Conservatives content they want to protect the institution of marriage and foster procreation by straight couples. First question: Show me where the Constitution says that is any part of government’s job. Go ahead, I’ll wait.

Yeah, wait all you want, because this belies the obvious, and the use of phrasing “protect the institution of marriage and foster procreation by straight couples” is a misdirection that avoids another strong argument against the “constitutionality” of forcing “gay marriage” on the body politic.

First, I don’t know of even one conservative who points to the Constitution when they say that, so that’s disingenuous. To knock down the argument, you need to address it, not misdirect it like an illusionist.

Second, libertarians do not generally point to the Constitution for the basis for their arguments. Ron Paul has indeed used the constitutionality argument against many things, but he wraps it with the real reasons for his constitutional positions.

Third, SHOW ME ONE OF THE SIGNERS OF THE CONSTITUTION, EVEN ONE, WHO SAID ANYTHING THAT WOULD SUGGEST that they considered a marriage to be anything other than between a man and a woman, and the natural institution for raising children.

I dare anybody to show me evidence for any founding father of the nation or anyone who voted to ratify the Constitution, that might suggest they would think of marriage as anything else. In fact we all know that even marriages without children, after many years, would be considered a marriage that is missing something.

We all know this. We also know that this is why it is not explicit. It would have laughed out of the first draft, along with calls for repealing the laws of gravity, or motion, or biology.

Fourth, procreation has always been understood implicitly as part of the package in marriage. That’s why many states (most?) have required blood tests before issuing a marriage license, because incompatible blood types made a dangerous Russian roulette game for the babies.

So there is a great cost to society in same-sex marriage, and Dennis Prager has shown in detail how this works. They are a minority among “gays”, also, but there is a significant minority among currently practicing “gays” that strongly argue against “gay marriage”, I have heard them.

In fact, if government had not gotten involved in the first place with “licensing” and now we have pastors marrying people by the power vested in them by the state of so-and-so, then there would have been so such clamor, and the idea would have been seen in general with some humor.

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