The Non-Marriage Penalty

First, I am interviewed today at Reason on our Equal Marriage Arizona initiative.

One question that keeps coming up, both from libertarians as well as others, is why should government define marriage at all?  Can't anyone get married in any kind of private ceremony?

My response is that yes, in some sort of libertarian small-government world, the state would be irrelevant -- what I used to call separation of marriage and state.

But it turns out that the state is already deeply involved in marriage.  The explicit state licensing of marriage already exists, and our laws in Arizona for this licensing are unequal -- some couples get access to this state license, and some cannot.

What makes this important is that marriage is embedded in hundreds, even thousands, of laws.   I searched the Arizona Revised Statutes for mentions of the words "spouse" or "spouses".  These words are used 1133 times in 373 different statutes!  The Our America team told me they counted over a thousand references in Federal code.  In other words, our law codes give -- in thousands of instances -- specific rights, responsibilities, and privileges to married couples who have access to a state-granted marriage license.  Those left out of the current unequal definition of marriage face any number of challenges imposed on them by these specifics of spousal rights and privileges embedded in our law code.  I call this the non-marriage penalty.

There is no way to rip all these references to marriage out of the law and tax code.  The fairest solution -- the one that most respects individual freedoms -- is to accept that such government licensing of marriage exists and then make it as open and as equal and as fair and as accessible as we possibly can.  That is what we are trying to achieve with Equal Marriage Arizona.

  • Gray Peterson

    As a native Arizonan, thank you for pushing for this. This is an outstanding opportunity to push this forward for freedom and liberty in the 2014 election cycle.

  • Benjamin Cole

    For centuries, even millennia, marriage, and even polygamous heterosexual marriage was the norm. Even today, Muslims who migrate from countries where polygamous marriages are legal are accepted as "married" in the USA too.

    Fine, now we accept homosexual marriage. No skin off of my nose.

    But what if I, as a US citizen, want to marry two women? Why is that outlawed?

    The bias against polygamous marriage seems irrational.

    I also assure you, there are no female libertarians when it come to polygamous marriage.

  • Tom Lindmark

    I'm sympathetic to the libertarian argument here that the state shouldn't have an interest in defining who can marry whom, and to the extent it does it's creating a problem of equal treatment. The problem I keep running into is that your proposed initiative further embeds the state in the marriage contract. I suppose that the short-term solution is a redefinition of marriage as you propose, however, I would like to think, maybe naively, that would be an interim step to getting the state out of the marriage sanctioning business completely. If not, it seems like you do some good but also perpetuate the status quo albeit slightly skewed.

  • John Moore

    Amazing inconsistency, here, Coyote. On immigration, your recommendations only make sense in a true Libertarian society, while on gay marriage, you invoke the lack of that same society as a reason. Not good.

    BTW, since comments were closed on the first announcement - your protections on religious liberties in your proposal are not even close to adequate. They only make sense if you believe that religion ends at the door of the church or church organization. But gay marriage will cause conscience issues for many religious people not exempt from your proposal. Hence it is as statist and coercive as Obamacare's contraception mandate.

    You should try to do better.

  • John Moore

    Since it involves putting government into "marriage" in yet another way, this is not even close to a freedom and liberty policy. The *only* purpose for doing this is so that government will coerce people and organizations regarding gay marriage the same way it coerces them about heterosexual marriage.

    Libertarians seem to be remarkably dense on this point. They support gay marriage, even though coercion is the only outcome of the policies supported. Sigh.

  • Joel Grus
  • perlhaqr

    But what if I, as a US citizen, want to marry two women? Why is that outlawed?

    Because you can only solve one problem at a time, mostly.

    I also assure you, there are no female libertarians when it come to polygamous marriage.

    I'm not sure what you mean by this. I know a number of triads, both FFM and MMF, who would like to get married trilaterally.

  • perlhaqr

    What is your counterproposal then, to remove the inequality?

  • fotini901

    Exactly. Polygamy is fine, as long as polyandry is too. The problem with most religious polygamy is the sexism/oppression, not the "poly" part.

    Also, it is incorrect that Muslim immigrants can have more than one legal spouse.

  • irandom419

    Looks like the major problem is the name, people don't have a problem with things like the "Everything but Marriage Act" that passed in Washington. But it isn't about that, it is about acceptance which ain't gonna happen. I myself will vote against same sex marriage, but would vote for giving civil unions the same standing as marriage. Dennis Prager pointed out that indoctrinating teachers will use that against kids at inappropriate ages. Want to know how liberal school systems are, look at Portland firing a anti-choice teacher.

    http://www.jacksonlewis.com/resources.php?NewsID=1928

  • Nehemiah

    What purpose does marriage serve? If it only memorializes a committed relationship who cares? For thousands of years marriage was foundational to the formation of the family structure. The family structure blossoms into the extended family, which historically provided a support system in good and bad times. Families building into communities can provide the social fabric upon which political systems like Republicanism or Libertarianism can flourish.

    I am all for equal and fair treatment. But I'm not sure why we can't modify civil union laws to provide equal treatment. Why muddle up the traditional historic definition of marriage? Doing so in my opinion opens up a Pandora's box of follow-on issues. Polygamy is only one of the potential expansions of the concept. And before you pooh, pooh animal weddings check out the woman marries dolphin article. http://www.theage.com.au/news/world/woman-marries-dolphin/2006/01/01/1136050339590.html

    And lets not forget Jerry Springer's guest who married a horse, http://web.archive.org/web/20040406093707/http://www.cincypost.com/living/1998/spring052198.html
    Slippery slope?

  • Chris Kahrhoff

    how about poor fuckers like me that don't want to get married at all? Why do I get to bear all of the unequal tax treatment and the like?

  • NL7

    The laws least amenable to repealing marriage licensing at once are those related to intestacy. If you die without a will or pourover trust, in most states the bulk of your assets will go to your spouse. Without a simple way to identify who that is, intestacy becomes incredibly complicated even for relatively small estates.

  • NL7

    It's really only unequal tax treatment if you have an unmarried partner (and you have no civil union in a community property state) and there is a significant wage disparity such that one of you is in a low tax bracket and the other is in a high bracket.

    Though note that civil union in a community property state, i.e. California civil union, receives better treatment than marital brackets. That would allow direct splitting of income, while each partner uses the individual brackets. That's superior to the marital tax brackets, so it's the best tax situation. Gay marriage will make people in this situation worse off, tax-wise.

  • Michael

    I don't know what John Moore's response would be...mine is: Tackle the problem that Warren mentions in the post and dismisses as impossible. Fight to remove the government from the marriage equation all together. Because the inequality is only going to be lifted for one class, I don't see anything in Warren's proposal that address Poly- marriages. (I might have missed it...I didn't read too carefully). He's right, civil contracts do not solve the problem.....but the ultimate solution is the removal of government from the process of marriage. One more law will just further entrench the government there.

    If I stilled lived in Arizona, I would most likely vote for this, to help with the short term inequality but work towards the "impossible". However, that is not a given for me. When I lived in California, I voted against all propositions that tried to define marriage, because it was my protest vote against the governments involvement. I could do this protest, because the area I lived in voted monolithically for one party.

  • http://selfadoration.com/ Greg Swann

    How is this anything other than an extension of already unjust rent-seeking to a new category of designated-anointees? In what way will endorsing and extending these laws benefit people who for whatever reason do not marry?

  • WGR

    "Why should government define marriage at all?" Government has one compelling reason: children. Since children cannot take care of themselves, government has an interest in seeing to it that they are properly cared for and protected, and consequently that they have the best possible shot at growing up to be well-adjusted, successful adults and citizens. Over the centuries, traditional marriage has worked pretty well in that regard. Now we have gays whose relationships are, ipso facto, sterile wanting to marry. And on the other side of the coin, we have millions of young women electing to forego the protections and advantages of marriage and raise their children as single parents. In both instances, many children eventually have to contend with stepparents (who, by the way, are exponentially more likely to abuse a child than a biological parent) or a string of boyfriends (or girlfriends) who move in and out of their lives. Of course, stepparents and live-in partners have become so ubiquitous, nobody thinks twice about them anymore. The "Cinderella Effect" is no longer discussed because it is inconvenient to many and outright offensive to others. We've moved on. But since the traditional family trinity—mother, father,children— has apparently now been jettisoned, I'll make one more prediction: in fairly short order, to afford children of blended families—gay and straight—along with sole biological parents some sort of "equal financial protection," family law will be changed in many states to force stepparents to pay child support if and when they leave the household. And if I'm right, we'll see what sort of impact that has on family formation via marriage once children are already present...

  • Nehemiah

    Great post WGR. But the progressives have the solution. The community will raise the children. As Hillary said, it takes a village. Even though we have good data on the benefits inherent in the nuclear family it runs contrary to the left's utopian design.

  • tmallory

    Perhaps the best solution is a combination of both. Marriage is in reality a religious issue. We have made it a state issue by writing it into so many laws. It would be wise of us to being unwinding some of this and instead view households as households.

    Many of the laws surrounding marriage exist solely to either reward or punish various types of households. If you are two working professionals, then you are penalized for marrying unless one person quits working. Even this latest round of tax negotiations considers extra taxes to be owed by persons making 200k per year, but couples making 250k. So, the "spouse" is only capable of 50k of value before we penalize them for joining the economy. Similarly, a single working adult is subsidized this same 50k if they go out and marry someone who is willing to stay home and not work. All of this has nothing to do with marriage, its an attempt to re-create the 1950's family "ideal". Perhaps this is no longer ideal.

    Many other laws surrounding marriage exist to protect banking or other special interests who perhaps don't need protecting. Presently we treat marriage as a legal contract which creates a parallel full partnership. This means that either party can act as an agent of the other with or without their knowledge. By utilizing these powers people are able to obtain loans, payable by the other party, during divorce proceedings without even disclosing their existence. For this reason many divorces are quickly followed by bankruptcy to eliminate liability.

    So while we may want to specifically detail in some way what types of couples we do or don't find offensive. Perhaps we should also consider beginning the process of unwinding some of these laws rather than simply work around them.

  • John Moore

    Your starting premise is wrong. Gay marriage is not the same as heterosexual marriage. Unequal treatment of unequal things is not "inequality" in terms of justice. After all, the government treats singles differently than marrieds, so gay marriage isn't special in this regard.

    The reason government got involved in marriage in the first place is society's interests in the raising of children and the promotion of social stability. Marriage is important to both, although the damage done to our civil society by modern ideas has left it crippled and less capable of that function - hence the high illegitimacy rate and the high divorce rate. But... the interests still remain. Beyond that, heterosexual marriage is an ancient and well understood institution, while gay marriage is not only an oxymoron, but is a new experiment with attendant potential for harm.

    Gay marriages provide little value to society, since they cannot naturally have children, and they tend to be less stable than heterosexual marriages. The best evidence (and in sociology, that's not much) is that children do better in heterosexual marriages than in gay marriages. Naturally, researchers producing such evidence are routinely and viciously attacked, since the whole field is so political... hence the difficulty in getting it. But it's there and it's as real as it gets in a weak field of study.

    But... some of the benefits given to heterosexual marriages should be extended to gay couples, for humanitarian reasons. These would be in the areas of medical "spousehood", inheritance, and a few other areas where any pair of people living together for a long time - even in a non-sexual relationship (spinster sisters, for example) - need the benefit.

    The greatest danger with gay marriage, and the reason I strongly oppose it, is that it has been and will be used to bludgeon those who have a religious or conscience objection to it. Catholic charities, a great source of good, have already been harmed by those who, in the false name of "equality", have forced them to choose between violating their religious tenets and closing their doors. They had to do the latter. This is going to get worse and worse and worse.

    One need look no further than the HHS contraceptive mandate to see where this leads. Sebelius, a long ex-communicated Catholic, has clearly used that power to attack and damage the church.

    This country has a long history of significant religious tolerance. But in today's bizarre world, one can be exempt from carrying a weapon in combat due to religious objections, but one cannot be exempt from being required to provide birth control. That one comparison shows how far we have come from strongly respecting religious conscience to attacking it for no necessary reason (the government could just as easily pay for contraceptives for employees of organizations which choose not to provide them).

    There is no group in America more willing and even eager to destroy religious liberty than gay activists. They cannot tolerate disapproval, and they don't mind how much harm they cause (closed orphanages, for example) in their quest to force everyone to behave as if they approve, or to be silenced or shut down by the government if they do not.

    Here's how extreme they can get: in the 1980's they threatened to poison the country's blood supply if blood banks screened out donors based on sexual preference. This was before tests for HIV existed, but after it had been clearly shown to be blood born. This is reported in "And The Band Played On" by Randy Shilts, a gay reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle, now dead of AIDS.

    Gay marriage will be just one more weapon in the quiver of these dangerous bigots.

    We should do without it.

  • John Moore

    Warren - here is a plea and reasoning for you to greatly broaden the religious liberty protections of your proposal (made with comments off in a prior post).

    For a religious person, their religious beliefs, conscience and actions extend far beyond the confines of religious institutions. Religion is about your whole life, not just the time in a place of worship.

    This has been strongly supported by our society and laws, and only very recently violated.

    A clear example of the strength of this protection is the treatment of conscientious objectors by our military - especially when the draft exists. Conscientious objectors (a status requiring a *religious* objection) are not required to fight for their country when others are. They may risk their lives as unarmed participants in combat (e.g. medics) but their religious objection to bearing arms (or to killing) is strongly respected.

    Contrast this to a policy which treats religion as something that exists only within the confines of a religious institution. You can immediately see that either we have quietly but drastically changed our standards (and the extent of our First Amendment protections), or we are highly inconsistent.

    Any policy which only protects the religious within their institutions is inherently anti-religion. It will be used by those with a specific animus towards religion to attack the religious. It will be used by those with the apparent lack of understanding (such as the framers of the policy you support) to unintentionally damage religion and the religious, to the detriment of society.

    We see that today with the HHS policy of forcing the religious to provide contraceptives and abortifacients in contradiction to their religious beliefs. That policy, while perhaps formulated to create the "war on women" meme for the 2012 election, is being continued and is now clearly an attempt by the anti-religious left to diminish religion in our society.

    Gay marriage will be used the same way if religion isn't protected. Gay activists have long shown extreme animus towards any religion which does not accept them, and they will use your proposal as a bludgeon to harm or destroy religion.

    This is so strongly against the intent of the founders of the country, and so profoundly anti-Libertarian, that it makes a mockery of Libertarian views - showing them to be more about libertinism than liberty.

  • MingoV

    "... our law codes give... specific rights, responsibilities, and privileges to married couples..."

    Including the privilege of paying more income taxes than a non-married couple with the same combined income.

    In a contract law society, the government would not be concerned with marriage, spouse, civil union, significant other, cohabitation, common law marriage, polygamy, polyandromy, etc. Why should any of that be the government's business?

  • marque2

    Not in the USA - but they are granted exceptions in Europe - and it is just a matter of time in the USA. All it would take is a treaty or one state allowing poly marriage an all others would have to accept

  • marque2

    All states already have civil unions that accomplish the same thing. In think the only real issue would be inheritance tax concequences at a Federal level and even that is overblown.

  • http://devilish-details.blogspot.com/ mesaeconoguy

    The problem is that marriage is viewed primarily as a tax and legal institution.

  • marque2

    Civil unions already take care of the inheritance problem. Not sure why an able bodied adult should sponge off the others insurance without having kids to raise but that is also supported in most states. Civil union also gives caretaker rights in the event of incapacity. All the marriage advantages through civil union already exist except for the tax deductions designed to encourage the raising of children.

  • marque2

    In addition if you have two working spouses with about the same income there is actually a marriage penalty. The only way marriage looks good tax wise is if one partner works very little - usually to take care of kids and in later years to do charitable work.

    Most folks lose tax wise when they get married so stop your qvetching

  • Benjamin Cole

    Perlhaqr--

    Making a joke on female libertarians. I know many women who strike righteous poses when defending gay marriage, but when the topic of polygamy is raised, suddenly the conversation is over....

    To others; I thought foreign polygamous marriages were recognized in the USA. What happens when a man travels here with two wives?

    To all: Yes, polyandry or polygamy. Both should be legal--or better yet, no marriages should be legal, and it should be no affair of the state.

  • jdgalt

    Sounds to me like a good argument in favor. The state has no business "encouraging" child rearing or any other behavior through the tax code.

  • marque2

    Yes the state has a lot of business encouraging child rearing. Without children there will be no-one to take care of you when you are old.

    Without children a nation also dies.

    Encouraging children should be one of the primary goals of the government. Of course since the seventies with all the population boom scares which never happened the government now preaches both having children and birth control and abortion to avoid having children. It is a very confusing message and has caused our birth rate to drop considerably. Not as bad as Europe and Japan.

    Please note in about 50 years there will be no more European culture, it will have been taken over by faster breeding cultures from further south.

  • mahtso

    If I understand the initiative, a man will be allowed to marry his brother. (None of the links provide a copy of the text, as far as I can tell.) As others have asked, why not multiple partners?

    Again, as others have said, it is a bit ironic to see a libertarian asking for more government involvement rather than less.

    The other issue is what about businesses? In New Mexico and Washington businesses are being sued (or penalized) for refusing to participate in same sex marriages. Who among you thinks that that would not happen in Az?

  • texan99

    It's not true that there are no female libertarians when it comes to polygamous marriage.

    And I'd be happy to see laws that provide that any rights or duties applicable to "spouses" under state or federal law will apply equally to people who have entered into state recognized as "marriage" or "civil union" under a variety of laws and customs. For me as a moderate libertarian, it's about the right to people to form families according to their own private notions. I don't inquire into whether and how they're having sex. Whether their private sexual practices are moral is a matter for their consciences and their churches, if any, as long as sexual aggression is not directed at people under the age of consent.

  • rxc

    I don't think that polygamy is legal in France. I live there, and every year I have to sign something that says that I am only married to one person.

  • marque2

    No it is not legal for a French person to get married to more than one spouse, in France or in the rest of Europe. However, if you married more than one spouse in a Muslim country and move to one of several European countries - They honor the poly marriage conferred by the jurisdiction which allows it. I am not sure if France allows it - and it is difficult to find global info about these exceptions, but here is an excerpt about polygamy from the Wike re England:

    "

    Polygamous marriages may not be performed in the United Kingdom, and if a polygamous marriage is performed, the already-married person may be guilty of the crime of bigamy.

    Polygamous marriages legally performed in another country where the law allows it are not recognized for pension, immigration or citizenship purposes. However, they may be recognized for the purposes of welfare benefits. This decision was not made without controversy, and there have been protests against it

    "

    So you see there European countries are slowly making allowances. Those who protest are of course called bigoted and shunned, and slowly the regulations will get more and more progressive.

  • marque2

    France is still taking a hard line

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polygamy_in_France

  • obloodyhell

    I noted this on his FB page. This proposal ignores the religious rights of the individual. A recent specific case not covered by this, for example, is the woman in Hawaii who got legally raped by a lesbian couple for being honest that she was not comfortable with a pair of lesbians sharing a bed in her own home. She wasn't rude about it, she just politely declined. She also indicated she'd have a problem with an unmarried couple sharing a bed, so it wasn't just homosexuality of concern.

    This is the chief problem with the GLAD crowd -- if you don't utterly surrender to their lifestyle being whatever they want, at least a sufficient percentage will take great pleasure sodomizing you for it, if they have the chance.

    Screw that. I'll vote every time against "more freaking rights" for gays. Not because I hate gays, but because I'm sick and tired of them running roughshod over anyone who has any religious issues with them.

    And Warren is a damnfool to get behind this for that single reason. It's anti-libertarian at the heart of it, because the measure TOTALLY ignores individual rights as it is defined.

    P.S., see my solo comment for my observation about the ludicrous idea that the government has no stake in the concept of marriage.

  • obloodyhell

    I am so sick and tired of seeing this hoary BS meme of "Government has no place in the institution of marriage"

    This is not just crap, it's blatantly OBVIOUS crap and it's ludicrous how people give this meme lip service, apparently without ever even thinking clearly about what marriage IS.

    It's not merely a religious action -- it's a #%$#%$# CONTRACT. And not merely a contract between two people, there are many OTHERS who are bound to actions by it, both for social reasons as well as for overall institutional reasons.

    And yeah, one of the primary *actual* PURPOSES of government is to enforce and interpret contracts. This is true even if you're a strong, anarchist-tinged libertarian. It's right in there with preventing the strong from preying on the weak (internally or externally) in the basic "essential and unavoidable" qualities of government.

    So the idea that "what's in the bedroom should be of no concern to society" is NOT applicable here, either in GAY *or* Hetero relationships. When you get married, you are expressly changing the relationship to make it entirely and completely PUBLIC -- so you're taking it OUT of the bedroom and putting it up there for all to see and deal with. You are obligating each other to certain long-term elements of the relationship -- shared expenses, income, and rewards, as well as support for any potential children to be reared. And if you think THAT is not going to be relevant in any place where gay marriage is legalized, you're an idiot. Gays will, upon getting gay marriage legalized, immediately start challenging the adoption laws in the relevant state. Further, you're obligating SOCIETY -- other people -- to certain behaviors accepting and acknowledging that relationship. Including businesses, institutions, and individuals. You can argue some of these obligations as not being appropriate for government to enforce, but that's an entirely different ball of wax, and, most critically, one which religious rights impinge on strongly.

    What is perfectly acceptable to a Christian owner of a B&B in Hawaii may be different based on the sexual orientation of the couple involved. And no, the gay couple has NO right to override her individual religious rights. She's not running a corporate business, it's a personal business that she herself operates on her own property. And that's a distinction few have acknowledged as relevant in this issue, including Warren's organization. That distinction is not a fine line, it's a mofo FENCE.

    So yes, the fact is, marriage IS of relevance to the state on its basis, because there are an entire array of relevant contractual behaviors which it interacts with and has sway over. And that's generally supposed to be the case, too -- society has a long-term interest not only in contracts and their enforcement and interpretation, but also in the social contracts having nothing directly to do with marriage but which marriage engenders, as well... such as who automatically inherits, who is obligated to support whom and/or provide benefits to whom, and where authority over a resource lies.

  • obloodyhell

    }}} In a contract law society, the government would not be concerned with marriage, spouse, civil union, significant other, cohabitation, common law marriage, polygamy, polyandromy, etc.

    Ridiculously absurd. As I note above -- whose job is it to enforce and interpret contracts? DUH?
    OF COURSE government IS CONCERNED WITH MARRIAGE.

  • obloodyhell

    }}} I'm sympathetic to the libertarian argument here that the state shouldn't have an interest in defining who can marry whom, and to the extent it does it's creating a problem of equal treatment.

    As I note elsewhere in this thread, that's not a libertarian argument. It's a lunatic one that has no concept of what marriage actually is.

  • obloodyhell

    }}} Perhaps the best solution is a combination of both. Marriage is in reality a religious issue

    WRONG. See my comment above. It's not about it being "written into laws" -- it's an inherent PART of laws, because it's a CONTRACT as well as an institution of religion. So government is inherently involved in it, no matter your political or religious persuasion -- Libertarian, Liberal, Republican, Baptist, Buddhist, Athiest, or "Nothing whatsover".

  • obloodyhell

    }}} It's not true that there are no female libertarians when it comes to polygamous marriage.

    Rhetorical question -- Have you actually been involved in a polygamous marriage?

    If not, then you have no idea how libertarian you are. The only reason most polygamous marriages work at all is because the women work out among themselves how the pecking order is going to work. This is not something you can codify into contractual consistency, since there are far too many special factors which will apply to each and every case. Which means it's not readily solved by government contract law... hence one of the non-religious issues with the activity.

    Polyandry is even less likely to work. Men are even more possessive about their rights in bed than women are about the social obligations a man represents.

    I used to believe polyamory could work, but I've seen too many "Friends" style groups in real action. Once sex gets into it, there are all too many options for taking sides in a fight. And in a marriage, there will be fights. Using "Friends" as an example, anyone who thinks there would not have been a major split in that group the first time Ross and Rachel broke up is ignorant of basic human behavior. It might have melded in time, but probably not, and certainly not to the same degrees of all-around friendship as existed before. This is one of the reasons why most couple-friends are formed AFTER the couples are each formed, and not before. When the friendships existed before the relationships, there are issues where choices have to be made about supporting which and "staying out of it entirely" -- and even the latter often stresses friendships... which could/would reflect back into a fight in a second couple, and all the problems THAT engenders. Such relationships all too often will tear themselves apart of necessity.With couples already existing, it's a lot easier to "keep out of it" when a couple is having a fight -- the other couple's bonds to either individual are not so strong as to encourage support from them, or to hurt when there is no support.

  • texan99

    I know that I'm completely uninterested in interfering in the decision of other people whether to engage in a polygamous marriage. That's a very different question from whether I'd enjoy being in one myself. What suits me doesn't have to suit everyone.

  • obloodyhell

    That's not exactly what I asked. The point was, you can't tell, offhand, how "libertarian" one would be on this if it actually involved them, or more critically, if they had experience of it.

    And I'm not so much concerned with the behavior, as much as I am with the societal ramifications and the expectations such imposes on society.

  • obloodyhell

    }}}} The laws least amenable to repealing marriage licensing at once are those related to intestacy.

    Ummm... two words: "Child support"?

  • John Moore

    Yep - I totally agree with you. I have the same anger and concerns about this nonsense.

  • texan99

    What's characteristic of libertarians is that they apply different rules to how they order they own lives, than they do to the rules they're prepared to impose on other people by force. Anyone who doesn't care for polygamy is free to avoid practicing it, for any reason that makes sense to him or her. If there are inherent contractual difficulties in a polyamorous situation, then most people probably will find they're better off avoiding it.

    As for consistency of rules, there's little need for it when each person can make up his own mind about the best way to order sex and family roles under his own roof. I save consistency for the situations in which I may need to intervene (or ask the government to intervene in my name), such as to prevent theft or violence. That's one reason I favor limiting the intrusive role of government: so I can leave as many issues as possible to the private judgment of other human souls. That's one way to avoid problems arising out of the expectations that people might try to impose on society. Impose how? Their marriage is their business; I'm not roped into making it work unless I let myself be, and I'm not agitating to start writing checks if they find they've screwed up their lives. It's possible you assume that I think society is responsible for enforcing any contract two or more people enter into with each other, but I don't automatically assume that. I'm willing to get dragged into some disputes but not others. There are some disputes people will have to resolve by recourse to private tribunals or quasi-tribunals such as churches or social circles.

    Everything you say about the possible difficulties of polygamy applies equally to the difficulties of premarital sex, traditional marriage, infidelity, and divorce. If it were up to me, I'd spend more time worrying about divorce, but it's not up to me. it's up to the people who are divorcing.

  • marque2

    The idea of marriage laws is to help encourage the raising children. Unfortunately we now treat children more like furniture. You get 2.1 of them dump them in daycare, get a baby sitter so you can enjoy the evenings out with your spouse without having to deal with the kids. And then only deal with them when you absolutely want and wonder why they are all depressed and on drugs in their 20's.

    But yes ideally we need children to take care of the less productive elderly years and we need them to allow our country to grow economically.

    Interestingly if we ended up with a true libertarian society, it wouldn't be the free for all, lust after anything society many libertarians imagine and lust for. We would actually become quite conservative. We would have to take care of our own kids, family bonds would increase - as women and men realize they need to cooperate to have kids, and realize that kids are necessary for their personal future as well with our kids expected to help us out in our old age - the way they did 100 years ago, because there would no longer be government programs that give everyone "freedom" to do whatever they want on other people's money.

    In other words be careful what you wish for, you might get it.

  • marque2

    Female librarians in a polygamous marriage. What fun XXX sites you visit :P

  • marque2

    That is what a civil union is for. I wouldn't mind having the government grant civil unions, encourage kid rearing in non marriage terms - though I am not sure how you would encourage two parent families this way, and then let you get a religious marriage on your own.

    Civil Unions give all the rights you need to be married, and yet heterosexual folks are discriminated against in this regard because the Civil Unions are only allowed for Gay lifestyles and not heterosexual ones.

  • texan99

    Did I say librarians involved in polygamy? I meant librettarians involved in polygony: they study the words to mathematical operas.