Posted: August 6th, 2004 by Militant Libertarian
In the last issue of the Utah Freedom Activist Newsletter, I wrote an editorial about Utah’s Amendment 3, which will be on the ballot this November. This is an amendment to change Utah’s state constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman. At least, that’s what the supporters tell you. There’s a lot more to it than that.
Anyway, that editorial resulted in a lot of flak and response. I’ve received numerous “you heathen, you’re going to hell!” responses, but mostly I’ve received supporting comments in favor of my opinion.
The following an an exerpt of an email thread in a forum to which I’d posted this article. I’ve removed identifying information for the person I’m talking to, but the discussion seemed relevant to this whole thing. This is the first person in favor of this amendment to talk to me about this issue without screaming about God and the Bible and whatnot.
> > 1) Who is government to define or “license” marriage? “A license
> > implies that you’re able to do something that you weren’t able to do
> > before,” as Richard Mack says.
> Make the case to get govt ALL the way out of marriage AND show how to
> do it without creating legal chaos and you’ll probably have my
> support. Fact is, government HAS been involved in marriage for most
> of recorded history. Admittedly, for much of that history government
> and church were one in the same–de facto or de jure. But marriage
> creates a host of issues that are likely to legitimately concern the
> community: guardianship, next of kin, joint property and liability,
> child support and other divisions of assets/liabilities should the
> union disolve, etc, etc, etc.
Actually, while “common law” marriages were defined in this nation
from the start, the government didn’t get involved until later in our
history (late 1800s as I recall). The first marriage law, as I
recall, was a Jim Crow law meant to keep blacks from marrying
non-blacks. The first blood tests for marriage were instituted to
search for STDs and only later to keep cousins from marrying.
So there you have it: we have about 100 years of history in which
marriage was not run by the government.
Sure, de-tangling the mess now won’t be easy, but we can do it.
Mostly it would involve getting the gov’t out of every other damn
> > Why do we have all these supposed
> > “benefits” for being married? I’m married and I don’t see any great
> > benefits coming out of it thanks to the government…
> Well, then there is clearly no reason to extend the definition of
> marriage is there? No benefits, no discrimination even possible.
The only benefits given are government-enforced benefits (such as
insurance being required to include your spouse/family if desired).
Otherwise, the only benefits to marriage are purely internal to the
> > 2) Why do we need to define it so badly? What are the compelling
> > reasons for doing it?
> Marriage IS defined, and has been in every society. Some have
> included polygamous marriages–some of those with caste systems–some
> have not. It has been defined in the US for all of our recorded
> history based on common law, tradition, and common consent. The
> question is, will it be rededfined by a few activist judges, by an
> out-of-State funded “citizen” iniative, OR will the legislature and
> voters of the State reserve the right to define it themselves?
So we’re playing defense here, not offense against governmental
tyranny? Why shift gears? I say stay offensive or get out of the game.
> The same ones who said that the clear, black letter of the law
> regarding guns at the UoU or gun lockers in courthouses didn’t really
> mean what we all know it meant? The same ones who are appointed and
> then stand for retention with no opposition? Don’t tell me you (or
> anyone else around here) has suddenly taken to trusting Utah’s judges
> to apply the law rather than making it up as they go.
Refer to my previous email. The way to fix this is NOT to “protect
against activist judges,” but instead to re-institute impeachments.
> Protect against activist State judges. Protect against “citizen”
> initatives. Send a strong message to Congress and the federal judges
> that there is one more State that has done everything in its power to
> reserve to itself the right to define marriage as it sees fit.
See above. If a citizen’s initiative passes, would not it be
according to the will of the Utahns who voted for it?
> Now you have. My reasons are primarily political: limit federal
> power, limit the ability of non-Utahns to turn Utah into a battle
> ground with a citizen iniative, protect employers’ and landlords’
> rights. This is a case where my religious beliefs simply reenforce
> my political beliefs.
I don’t see your “limiting” here. All I see is an increase in
governmental power being given here. I think your efforts would be
better spent combating the restrictions on landlords, employers, etc.
rights instead of in limiting the rights of others who may not have
your same viewpoint.
Freedom is a two-way street, fascism is not.
> Do YOU, as a libertarian, support forcing employers and landlords to
> provide benefits/accomodations to gay couples?
Again, those are GOVERNMENT ENFORCED accomodations, so I’m not in
favor of them no matter who they apply to.
> THERE is a fact.
Yep, the government FORCES people to do things all right.
> You’ve heard NOTHING about family constructs from me, have you? And
> what religious fervor have you heard from me?
I did not say it came from you, I said all I’ve heard in general from
anyone supporting this is religious fervor.
> The only “discrimination” is NOT being able to force private third
> parties to provide benefits they otherwise don’t want to. ANYONE is
> free to rent to gay couples IF THEY CHOOSE. ANYONE is free to
> provide benefits to gay couples IF THEY CHOOSE. Those who oppose
> this amendment, almost without exception, oppose the statutory
> definition of marriage–but then are dishonest enough to claim that
> we don’t need the amendment even as they work/hope to have the
> statute revoked, amended, or overturned at the first opportunity.
Now you’ve finally hit the nail on the head. So why are you wasting
your time opposing this amendment when it seems clear that you should
be instead spending your efforts changing the government enFORCEment
of all these “benefits” of marriage.
> The amendment is no more (or less) discriminatory than is the
> statute. If you oppose the amendment, you ought to be honest enough
> to just come right out and call for legalizing gay marriage.
I won’t say that, isntead I’ll say “let’s get government out of the
marriage business!” That would legalize all marriage for everyone.
> Let me recap:
> 1-Prevent activist State judges from redefining marriage.
> 2-Prevent out-of-State interests from turning Utah into an initative
> battlefield on this topic.
> 3-Send a message to the feds that Utah has done all it can to set its
> own definition of marrige.
> 4-Protect the rights of taxpayers, private business owners, and
Let me recap: The problem lies not in the idea that homosexuals will
be able to marry thanks to reversal of statues, “activist state
judges,” or whatever. The problem lies in all of the benefits given
to anyone with the status of “married” thanks to government
enFORCEment of discriminatory laws.
So the answer lies not in opposing gay marriage, but in removing
government discriminatory enforcement!
Name any problem…it boils down to government.
Got comments? Email me, dammit!