COLUMN: Ban on gay marriage a result of giving states too much power
I loathe the current discussion on gay marriage.
Not because I am some bigoted bumpkin. There is nothing wrong with two persons engaging in an uncoerced contract with one another, regardless of sex. After all, no harm comes as a result of this. So, then what is the problem?
Well, the problem lies in the oft-overlooked nature of these contracts. Specifically, since when has it been appropriate for the state to have the authority to regulate, define or license personal relationships individuals have with one another?
The answer to that question is a tragically long time. During the Protestant Reformation, Martin Luther first proposed the state sponsorship of marriage. According to Luther, adultery, pornography and other unholy acts ran rampant and unpunished through the streets. Christianity was in a crisis, a crisis that could only be remedied by a powerful worldly enforcer. This meant the State.
Until that moment, the church and the church alone had recognized and sanctioned marriages; however, this marked the foundation of the still-widely prevalent idea that states should be involved as well.
By relegating the duties of marriage to the state, one thing has always occurred–oppression. Whether it is LGBTQ communities in contemporary society, interracial couples of yesteryear or the non-Christians of the 17th century, individuals who wish to spend the remainder of their lives unified with their love have unjustly been prevented from doing so by governments.
For as long as it is the state that sanctions marriage, the state will arbitrarily decide which minority faces its discrimination de jour. Sure, tomorrow might be a win for homosexuals everywhere in the U.S.; however, what of other minorities?
If gay marriage is justified, which it is, because it is a result of a voluntary agreement between individuals where no harm befalls another, then what other marriage arrangements are justified but prohibited by the state?
Though I am sure there are currently several minorities prohibited from marriage other than those who are homosexual or bisexual, one comes to my mind: polygamists. No, I am not advocating polygamy because I desire a handful of wives (or, at least I don’t think I do), but because who is harmed as a result? Nobody, if it is a voluntary marriage arrangement by all parties, then there is no harm. Or if there is harm (or the marriage is coerced at its start), then that is already illegal to begin with.
So, my objection is not an objection to homosexuals marrying. They should be allowed to do so. But so should everybody else to any other consenting person(s) that they choose. In the meantime though, it’s certainly a step in the right direction.