Justin Raimondo: The Libertarian Case Against Gay Marriage

Justin Raimondo, an openly gay man, is the editorial director and one of the co-founders of Antiwar.com. A member of the Libertarian Party from 1974 to 1983, he founded the second LP Radical Caucus along with Eric Garris in 1979. He ran as a Libertarian candidate for public office twice: in 1980 for California State Assembly (received 7.7% of the vote) and in 1982 for U.S. Congress from California’s 5th district (received 14.2% of the vote). Raimondo also ran as a Republican against Nancy Pelosi for Congress in 1996 and won 12.4% of the vote. He supported Ralph Nader in the 2004 presidential election.

The Libertarian Case Against Gay Marriage

By Justin Raimondo

Published in The American Conservative

Opponents of same-sex marriage have marshaled all sorts of arguments to make their case, from the rather alarmist view that it would de-sanctify and ultimately destroy heterosexual marriage to the assertion that it would logically lead to polygamy and the downfall of Western civilization. None of these arguments—to my mind, at least—make the least amount of sense, and they have all been singularly ineffective in beating back the rising tide of sentiment in favor of allowing same-sex couples the “right” to marry.

The problem with these arguments is that they are all rooted in religion or in some secular concept of morality alien to American culture in the 21st century—a culture that is characterized by relativism, impiety, and a preoccupation with other matters that make this issue less pressing than it otherwise might be. Yet there is an effective conservative—or rather libertarian—case to be made against legalizing gay marriage, one that can be summarized by the old aphorism: be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.

The imposition of a legal framework on the intricate web of relationships that have previously existed in the realm of freedom—that is, outside the law and entirely dependent on the trust and compliance of the individuals involved—would not only be a setback for liberty but a disaster for those it supposedly benefits: gay people themselves.

Of course, we already have gay marriages. Just as heterosexual marriage, as an institution, preceded the invention of the state, so the homosexual version existed long before anyone thought to give it legal sanction. Extending the authority of the state into territory previously untouched by its tender ministrations, legalizing relationships that had developed and been found rewarding entirely without this imprimatur, would wreak havoc where harmony once prevailed. Imagine a relationship of some duration in which one partner, the breadwinner, had supported his or her partner without much thought about the economics of the matter: one had stayed home and tended the house, while the other had been in the workforce, bringing home the bacon. This division of labor had prevailed for many years, not requiring any written contract or threat of legal action to enforce its provisions.

Then, suddenly, they are legally married—or, in certain states, considered married under the common law. Not all states in the USA have legalized gay marriage although they are definitely more forward-thinking than some other countries. In certain countries it’s actually illegal to be gay, they don’t even allow gay porn sites, you can even be arrested if you say something like try this site gayfucktube. To take that to the extreme in countries such as Sudan and Iran being gay is not just against the law it’s actually punishable by death.

Whether legal married or considered married under common law it changes the relationship, and not for the better. For now the property of the breadwinner is not his or her own: half of it belongs to the stay-at-home. Before when they argued, money was never an issue: now, when the going gets rough, the threat of divorce—and the specter of alimony—hangs over the relationship, and the mere possibility casts its dark shadow over what had once been a sunlit field.

If and when gay marriage comes to pass, its advocates will have a much harder time convincing their fellow homosexuals to exercise their “right” than they did in persuading the rest of the country to grant it. That’s because they have never explained—and never could explain—why it would make sense for gays to entangle themselves in a regulatory web and risk getting into legal disputes over divorce, alimony, and the division of property.

Marriage evolved because of the existence of children: without them, the institution loses its biological, economic, and historical basis, its very reason for being. This is not to say childless couples—including gay couples—are any less worthy (or less married) than others. It means only that they are not bound by necessity to a mutual commitment involving the ongoing investment of considerable resources.

From two sets of given circumstances, two parallel traditions have evolved: one, centered around the rearing of children, is heterosexual marriage, the habits and rules of which have been recognized and formalized by the state. The reason for this recognition is simple: the welfare of the children, who must be protected from neglect and abuse.

The various childless unions and alternative relationships that are an increasing factor in modern society have evolved informally, with minimal state intervention. Rather than anchored by necessity, they are governed by the centrality of freedom.

The prospect of freedom—not only from traditional moral restraints but from legal burdens and responsibilities—is part of what made homosexuality appealing in the early days of the gay-liberation movement. At any rate, society’s lack of interest in formalizing the love lives of the nation’s homosexuals did not result in any decrease in homosexuality or make it any less visible. Indeed, if the experience of the past 30 years means anything, quite the opposite is the case. By superimposing the legal and social constraints of heterosexual marriage on gay relationships, we will succeed only in de-eroticizing them. Are gay marriage advocates trying to take the gayness out of homosexuality?

The gay-rights movement took its cues from the civil rights movement, modeling its grievances on those advanced by the moderate wing led by Dr. Martin Luther King and crafting a legislative agenda borrowed from the NAACP and allied organizations: the passage of anti-discrimination laws—covering housing, employment, and public accommodations—at the local and national level. Efforts to institutionalize gay marriage have followed this course, with “equality” as the goal.

But the civil rights paradigm never really fit: unlike most African-Americans, lesbians and gay men can render their minority status invisible. Furthermore, their economic status is not analogous—indeed, there are studies that show gay men, at least, are economically better off on average than heterosexuals. They tend to be better educated, have better jobs, and these days are not at all what one could call an oppressed minority. According to GayAgenda.com, “studies show that [gay] Americans are twice as likely to have graduated from college, twice as likely to have an individual income over $60,000 and twice as likely to have a household income of $250,000 or more.”

Gays an oppressed minority group? I don’t think so.

The gay-liberation movement started as a protest against state oppression. The earliest gay-rights organizations, such as the Mattachine Society and the Daughters of Bilitis, sought to legalize homosexual activity, then illegal per se. The movement was radicalized in the 1960s over police harassment. A gay bar on New York City’s Christopher Street, known as the Stonewall, was the scene of a three-day riot provoked by a police raid. Tired of being subjected to continual assault by the boys in blue, gay people fought back—and won. At the time, gay bars were under general attack from the New York State Liquor Authority, which pulled licenses as soon as a bar’s reputation as a gay gathering place became apparent. Activists of that era concentrated their fire on the issues that really mattered to the gay person in the street: the legalization of homosexual conduct and the protection of gay institutions.

As gay activists grew older, however, and began to channel their political energy into the Democratic Party, they entered a new and more “moderate” phase. Instead of celebrating their unique identity and history, they undertook the arid quest for equality—which meant, in practice, battling “discrimination” in employment and housing, a marginal issue for most gay people—and finally taking up the crusade for gay marriage.

Instead of battling the state, they began to use the state against their perceived enemies. As it became fashionable and politically correct to be “pro-gay,” a propaganda campaign was undertaken in the public schools, epitomized by the infamous “Rainbow Curriculum” and the equally notorious tome for totsHeather Has Two Mommies. For liberals, who see the state not as Nietzsche’s “cold monster” but as a warm and caring therapist who is there to help, this was only natural. The Therapeutic State, after all, is meant to transform society into a liberal utopia where no one judges anyone and everyone listens to NPR.

These legislative efforts are largely educational: once enacted, anti-discrimination ordinances in housing, for example, are meant to show that the state is taking a side and indirectly teaching citizens a lesson—that it’s wrong to discriminate against gays. The reality on the ground, however, is a different matter: since there’s no way to know if one is being discriminated against on account of one’s presumed sexuality—and since gays have the choice not to divulge that information—it is impossible to be sure if such discrimination has occurred, short of a “No Gays Need Apply” sign on the door. Moreover, landlords, even the bigots among them, are hardly upset when a couple of gays move in, fix up the place to look like something out of House & Garden, and pay the rent on time. The homosexual agenda of today has little relevance to the way gay people actually live their lives.

But the legislative agenda of the modern gay-rights movement is not meant to be useful to the gay person in the street: it is meant to garner support from heterosexual liberals and others with access to power. It is meant to assure the careers of aspiring gay politicos and boost the fortunes of the left wing of the Democratic Party. The gay-marriage campaign is the culmination of this distancing trend, the reductio ad absurdum of the civil rights paradigm.

The modern gay-rights movement is all about securing the symbols of societal acceptance. It is a defensive strategy, one that attempts to define homosexuals as an officially sanctioned victim group afflicted with an inherent disability, a disadvantage that must be compensated for legislatively. But if “gay pride” means anything, it means not wanting, needing, or seeking any sort of acceptance but self-acceptance. Marriage is a social institution designed by heterosexuals for heterosexuals: why should gay people settle for their cast-off hand-me-downs?

The following video, a debate between Raimondo and Jonathan Rausch on whether or not gay marriage is good for America, was posted to LewRockwell.com:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CDU9kMtVVuE

74 thoughts on “Justin Raimondo: The Libertarian Case Against Gay Marriage

  1. Jill Pyeatt

    I found this to be very thought-provoking. I closely follow Antiwar.com, partly because my friend Angela is involved with them, but mostly because the site says and reports on things that other media ignores. I read Mr. Raimundo’s articles, faithfully, but there have been other times he has surprised me with his comments.

    For most of my adult life, I’ve said that I didn’t quite understand the marriage thing, and maybe I still don’t. I don’t understand why it seems to be the ultimate goal for so many people. Raimundo made some good points about why it simply shouldn’t be the goal for many people.

  2. Allan Wallace

    Raimondo’s arguments totally ignore the legal and social ramifications of spouses being each other’s LEGAL “next-of-kin” in the legal system that exists NOW.
    And he romanticizes the Gay Culture aspect of the gay marriage issue as “rewarding” and “harmonious” when the reality is that it is attacked constantly by outside forces causing internal turmoil that he completely ignores.

  3. Deran

    Allan Wallace puts it very well.

    And, the author’s interpretation of house work v bread winner is cracked. When I was married my wife worked outside the home and I stayed home and cooked and cleaned and worked on my books, but I put in full days making the house a home, and I can assure this fellow that house work is hard work. It’s not like the stay at home person is just sitting around watching youtube vids and hitting on the hookah all day. Not if the house is going to be a home.

  4. Steve Scheetz

    Deran, I do not believe Mr. Raimondo was attempting to trivialize anyone in his piece, he was just attempting to illustrate some of the issues that come up with “legal marriage”

    I absolutely agree with his overall point that “The State” has no business, in the business of marriage.

    Libertarianism preaches “your life your way so long as you do not impinge on the rights of others.”

    If you believe that you need the state to dictate what you can or cannot do, I am truly sorry for you.

    However, if you feel that you need to do something to enable “next of kin” rights, then I believe this can be handled by forming a legal partnership stating exactly that. You may not receive state financed benefits, but this sort of thing is meaningless since the state is so far in debt, that people who are not even born yet will have to work their entire lives in order to pay it.

    I know for fact that I will not be receiving state benefits, but my retirement investments? they will be passed on to whomever I say they should be passed on to, and no government agency can say otherwise unless, of course, it decides to steal my investments from me at the point of a gun, at which time we will have much more pressing matters…

    You all can pick points, out of context, and bash the piece all you wish, but there are many truths that are being ignored including the overall point.

    Government is bad, freedom is good.

    I choose freedom, and I would hope most will do the same.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Scheetz

  5. Jed Siple

    I have no time for Justin Raimondo. I’m really biting my tongue before I unleash a plethora of obscenities, so I’ll just say that I vehemently disagree with this tool, and walk away.

  6. Ad Hoc

    Raimondo:

    ” Imagine a relationship of some duration in which one partner, the breadwinner, had supported his or her partner without much thought about the economics of the matter: one had stayed home and tended the house, while the other had been in the workforce, bringing home the bacon. This division of labor had prevailed for many years, not requiring any written contract or threat of legal action to enforce its provisions.

    Then, suddenly, they are legally married—or, in certain states, considered married under the common law. This changes the relationship, and not for the better. For now the property of the breadwinner is not his or her own: half of it belongs to the stay-at-home. Before when they argued, money was never an issue: now, when the going gets rough, the threat of divorce—and the specter of alimony—hangs over the relationship, and the mere possibility casts its dark shadow over what had once been a sunlit field.”

    Sorry, i don’t follow this logic. This is an argument against alimony/palimony, not an argument against gay marriage. The other side of this coin is that someone who has sacrificed career opportunities to take care of the home is, after however many years, tossed out on the street with nothing. Not exactly a tension-free scenario, is it? And that’s why alimony and palimony laws have evolved. Why should they be any less applicable to gay couples?

    Also, I believe palimony has already been applied to gay couples, has it not?

  7. Ad Hoc

    “If and when gay marriage comes to pass, its advocates will have a much harder time convincing their fellow homosexuals to exercise their “right” than they did in persuading the rest of the country to grant it. ”

    None of my concern if there are homosexuals who don’t want to marry. There are plenty of heterosexuals who don’t want to marry either, including me. But there are obviously many homosexuals who do in fact want to marry. Why shouldn’t they have the right to do so?

  8. Ad Hoc

    “Marriage evolved because of the existence of children: without them, the institution loses its biological, economic, and historical basis, its very reason for being. This is not to say childless couples—including gay couples—are any less worthy (or less married) than others. It means only that they are not bound by necessity to a mutual commitment involving the ongoing investment of considerable resources.

    From two sets of given circumstances, two parallel traditions have evolved: one, centered around the rearing of children, is heterosexual marriage, the habits and rules of which have been recognized and formalized by the state. The reason for this recognition is simple: the welfare of the children, who must be protected from neglect and abuse.

    The various childless unions and alternative relationships that are an increasing factor in modern society have evolved informally, with minimal state intervention. Rather than anchored by necessity, they are governed by the centrality of freedom.”

    Another bad argument. No one is testing heterosexuals whether they are able to have children prior to allowing them to marry. They may be too old, had surgery to prevent accidental pregnancy, or just be sterile. Should such invasive tests be done prior to allowing couples to marry? By this argument, it would follow that there should. I disagree with any such notion. And if heterosexuals who can’t have children can marry, there goes yet another bad argument against gay marriage.

  9. Ad Hoc

    “The prospect of freedom—not only from traditional moral restraints but from legal burdens and responsibilities—is part of what made homosexuality appealing in the early days of the gay-liberation movement. ”

    Is Raimondo arguing that homosexuality is a choice? Most gay people I know or have read about the subject are adamant that they were born that way. If it’s a biophysical imperative, it has its own inescapable appeal, so there goes that argument.

    “At any rate, society’s lack of interest in formalizing the love lives of the nation’s homosexuals did not result in any decrease in homosexuality or make it any less visible. Indeed, if the experience of the past 30 years means anything, quite the opposite is the case. By superimposing the legal and social constraints of heterosexual marriage on gay relationships, we will succeed only in de-eroticizing them. Are gay marriage advocates trying to take the gayness out of homosexuality?”

    No. If you think not being married is hotter, by all means, don’t get married. No one is trying to force people who don’t want to get married to get married. What’s so hard to understand?

  10. Ad Hoc

    “But the civil rights paradigm never really fit: unlike most African-Americans, lesbians and gay men can render their minority status invisible.”

    It can only be invisible if they are in the closet. This is analogous to saying that Jews can render their minority status invisible.

    “Gays an oppressed minority group? I don’t think so.”

    So gay bashing is a fiction of people’s imagination? Maybe Raimondo needs to take a year off from living in San Francisco and try, for example, Mississippi or Idaho.

  11. Thomas L. Knapp

    Raimondo is good on US military adventurism. On pretty much everything else he’s schizoid.

    I tend to blame Rothbard for the inability of his disciples like Raimondo, Block and Hoppe to make sound arguments. They apparently found Rothbard’s piss-poor logic compelling, and seem to have decided to copy his unsound methods rather than doing the work of crafting sound arguments for his good conclusions.

  12. Ad Hoc

    “Moreover, landlords, even the bigots among them, are hardly upset when a couple of gays move in, fix up the place to look like something out of House & Garden, and pay the rent on time. ”

    Stereotype much? There are all kinds of gay couples, and gay singles for that matter, and many of them do not fit this stereotype. And regardless of how good they are at housekeeping, there are plenty of irrationally prejudiced landlords as well as employers, those who would discriminate against consumers they don’t like, and so on. Personally I don’t like to get the regime involved, preferring tactics like boycott and protest, but that doesn’t make the discrimination any less real.

    Granted, these are probably not big issues for gay San Franciscans, where they have a lot of political and social clout. But there are many parts of the US which are nothing like San Francisco.

  13. Ad Hoc

    Pyeatt:

    “For most of my adult life, I’ve said that I didn’t quite understand the marriage thing, and maybe I still don’t. I don’t understand why it seems to be the ultimate goal for so many people. ”

    And yet you eventually got married, and still are. There are all kinds of reasons people want to or don’t want to be married. They should have the right to make that decision for themselves, regardless of whether they are straight or gay.

  14. Ad Hoc

    Scheetz:

    “However, if you feel that you need to do something to enable “next of kin” rights, then I believe this can be handled by forming a legal partnership stating exactly that. ”

    Many courts have ignored such contracts when blood next of kin have contested them.

    There are many other applications that can’t be covered by contracts, including compelled testimony in court and deportation of immigrants who can’t legally marry, or not allowing them to immigrate legally to begin with.

    “You all can pick points, out of context, and bash the piece all you wish”

    I quoted most of the piece in my replies. What was out of context?

    And how exactly is the state permitting some people but not others to marry “freedom”?

  15. Jill Pyeatt

    “Moreover, landlords, even the bigots among them, are hardly upset when a couple of gays move in, fix up the place to look like something out of House & Garden, and pay the rent on time.”

    This made me laugh, but I also thought it odd that Raimundo perpetuated the stereotypes. I admit to watching those hoarding shows–mainly to remind me to get off the computer and clean the house regularly. I’ve noticed that a large amount of them seem to be gay. That may or may not be the case. It’s also possible that for some reason, that population is more willing to admit their problem. I really don’t know.

  16. Waldemar Testarossa Fiumente

    On the whole, gay people are very similar to straight people, other than being gay.

  17. Steve Scheetz

    AdHoc,

    Many courts have ignored such contracts when blood next of kin have contested them.

    Sounds like more government failure that needs to be fixed.

    Instead, there is a desire for more government regulation which will lead to more failed policy….

    Freedom is living my life my way provided I do not interfere with another person’s rights.

    Government has failed in doing its job in protecting our rights, instead it has gone out of its way to interfere with our lives on a horrifyingly large number of levels. Advocates for Gay Marriage believe that giving government sanction to preside over marriage will make marriage better. I do not.

    Frankly, the argument that some courts do not honor contracts is a hollow one. the contract issue should be fixed, the courts should be fixed, but the answer from the pro gay marriage lobby is to say that we need more government interference in our lives…

    Sorry, I don’t see that as an upside in any way.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Scheetz

  18. Ad Hoc

    “Sounds like more government failure that needs to be fixed.”

    There would be many, many different types of government failure to fix, and it is not going to happen any time soon. It’s a lot easier to have marriage equality in the meantime. 40 years ago the fight for marriage equality was about so-called interracial marriage. We’d look pretty stupid today arguing against equality on that one.

    “Instead, there is a desire for more government regulation which will lead to more failed policy….”

    Nope, just equal protection under the law.

    “Freedom is living my life my way provided I do not interfere with another person’s rights.”

    It’s not freedom for the government to discriminate against classes of people based on irrational prejudice.

    “Government has failed in doing its job in protecting our rights, instead it has gone out of its way to interfere with our lives on a horrifyingly large number of levels. ”

    Yes, and all those levels will take a long time, and/or a massive government collapse, to untangle. In the meantime, it’s not OK for government to discriminate.

    ” Advocates for Gay Marriage believe that giving government sanction to preside over marriage will make marriage better. ”

    No, only that so long as government does still have that power, it should not discriminate against homosexuals, any more than it should discriminate against so-called interracial couples, left handed people, redheads, people under (or over) 6 feet tall, or any other consenting adults.

    “Frankly, the argument that some courts do not honor contracts is a hollow one. the contract issue should be fixed, the courts should be fixed, ”

    Easier said than done, and you ignored the many other issues: immigration, deportation, compelled court testimony….just a few of hundreds of examples.

    “answer from the pro gay marriage lobby is to say that we need more government interference in our lives…”

    No, just equal protection under the law. Liberty loves justice.

    “Sorry, I don’t see that as an upside in any way.”

    You may need to adjust your vision.

  19. Thomas L. Knapp

    SS @ 19,

    “Advocates for Gay Marriage believe that giving government sanction to preside over marriage will make marriage better.”

    Not all of us.

    Libertarians who support marriage believe:

    1) That government should, to the maximum degree possible, be removed from marriage. For those still under the sway of the delusion of minarchism, that maximum would be “government courts would enforce marriage contracts entered into by consenting adults, without respect to the race, gender or number of parties to said contracts.” For consistent/rational/logical libertarians, also known as anarchists, it’s “smash the state and we don’t have to worry about it’s involvement in marriage, do we?”

    2) That to the extent that government remains involved in marriage, it should not be allowed to withhold the presumtive benefits of marriage — for example, treatment as next of kin for legal purposes, etc. — from consenting adults on the basis of things like race, gender, number of parties to the marriage, etc.

  20. Waldemar Testarossa Fiumente

    TLK is right.

    Would Steve Scheetz argue for overturning Loving vs. Virginia?

  21. Ad Hoc

    How does WTF misrepresent your opinion? WTF asked a question.

    Now, I would think the logic you are using against gay marriage would apply to so-called interracial marriage as well. If not, why not?

    But WTF didn’t say what your position is, just asked a question.

  22. Steve Scheetz

    AdHoc, the question is a strawman argument.
    Loving vs. Virginia served to give taxpayer funded free stuff to mixed race couples.

    I am against the government giving free stuff to people because it (the money to pay for it) is obtained through the aggressive use of force.

    Being a Libertarian, I pledged to NOT initiate force or fraud to achieve my political goals, and right now, I see this happening, and I see people applauding it.

    I know that Gays have not had had a problem getting married for some time. The question with it being legal in the eyes of the state involves free stuff from the state, Free stuff obtained at the point of a gun.

    You ask my position? I am against the state using force and fraud to change people’s behavior, I am against the state using force and fraud to steal people’s money.

    If you want to fix contract law, I will work with you. If you want to fix the court system, I will work with you. If you wish to use the government to take from some and give to others for being “married” in the eyes of the state, I am not interested in working with you.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Scheetz

  23. Allan Wallace

    “Loving vs. Virginia served to give taxpayer funded free stuff to mixed race couples.” -Steve Scheetz

    Talk about a straw-man argument. If “free stuff” was all there was to it, I would agree, but there is FAR MORE.

    INITIATING FORCE? – Force of Various kinds including Taxation is already initiated and ongoing, and it is unlikely to stop without drastic action (like revolution). The only affect we can have on it is to undermine it any way that becomes possible in the course of events, INCLUDING forcing government to give up some of its power to discriminate (another initiation of force).

    Changing People’s Behavior? – You said it yourself that gays marry (the non-legal variety) all the time. That is NOT changing anyone’s behavior, unless you were talking about Government behavior.

    Fixing Contract Law. – There are some things that can be fixed and fixed quickly, IF there was a popular motive for doing so. The way the system is now HELPS most straights, they don’t want it to change. BESIDES, property and inheritance laws are BASED on the concept of the LEGAL NEXT-OF-KIN. ONLY Marriage and adoption can change that in society or in law, otherwise it is a complex system of BLOOD RELATIONSHIPS. We must fight to be included in such a system, at least until we can change the system.

  24. paulie

    I don’t know where you get this nonsense about aliases, but I assure you that my support for marriage equality is fully in line with my libertarian principles. So is Tom Knapp’s, Allan Wallace’s and many other people’s.

  25. Ad Hoc

    “AdHoc, the question is a strawman argument.”

    How so? I just wanted to see if you apply your arguments against marriage equality consistently…..

    “Loving vs. Virginia served to give taxpayer funded free stuff to mixed race couples.”

    ….and you just answered the question.

    Will you be leading the charge to reverse this decision, then?

    “I am against the government giving free stuff to people because it (the money to pay for it) is obtained through the aggressive use of force.”

    Please be specific. Which free stuff exactly?

    And if there is some free stuff being doled out (I still want to know what it is first, but let’s say there is) why should straights be more entitled to it than gays?

    “I know that Gays have not had had a problem getting married for some time.”

    There are numerous problems, only a few of which have been discussed in this thread:

    *The person you are marrying to not being allowed to enter the US because you are not considered legally married,

    or

    *Being deported,

    *Being forced to testify against the person you are married to in court,

    *Courts overruling unofficial marriage contracts to deny hospital visitation, child visitation, inheritance,

    But there are many other problems that have not been discussed.

    “If you want to fix contract law, I will work with you. If you want to fix the court system, I will work with you.”

    How many different things will you fix and how long will it take? You gonna fix immigration law? Laws compelling court testimony?

  26. Ad Hoc

    Also, I’d still like to know how this question misrepresents Steve Scheetz’s position:

    “Would Steve Scheetz argue for overturning Loving vs. Virginia?”

    Steve Scheetz later replied

    “Loving vs. Virginia served to give taxpayer funded free stuff to mixed race couples.”

  27. Allan Wallace

    Steve Scheetz, “Concerned Citizen” and others who believe in the PURIST, All-Or-Nothing position on this issue are far less “libertarian” than they claim.

    Such a PURIST position will put such people on the sidelines of any progress toward greater freedom, telling those who are working to actually change things how impure they are and how reducing government discrimination somehow increases it because limiting the government’s power somehow expands it. And this is exactly the kind of “double speak” being used against Marriage equality by people who represent themselves as libertarian.

    And it purely astounds me that so many of those who hold this PURIST, All-Or-Nothing position on Marriage Equality hypocritically have chosen to enjoy the benefits of Civil Marriage, either now or in the past, or like the fact that Civil Marriage is available to them if they should want it someday (or if their spouse requires it of them).

    You probably think of yourselves as high-minded and purely consistent in your beliefs. But, to me and most other Libertarians, it appears like you are trying to hide a deep-ceded prejudice against homosexuals behind an impossibly high ideology that is actually anarchy misrepresented as libertarianism.

  28. Ad Hoc

    Allan Wallace is once again correct, although at least the last part doesn’t apply to Raimondo, given that he is gay himself. Then again Raimondo is a Pat Buchanan fan, too.

  29. Tom Blanton

    Does anyone know how many gay people are serving time in jail because they participated in a wedding ceremony but have no state-issued marriage license?

    My guess is zero.

    I’m also wondering why long-term straight men and women who choose not to be married (Aaron Russo comes to mind) are not demanding the legal privileges that the state bestows to those with state-issued licenses.

    I find it extremely unfair that married people, gay or straight, receive any benefit, legal or monetary, from the government. This is unequal treatment under the law, which is what gay people are complaining about.

    Perhaps it is time for unmarried people to demand equal treatment under the law – much like renters should be able to deduct a portion of their rent from gross income for taxation purposes like home buyers are allowed to deduct a portion of their house payment.

    While the government should not license marriage, it also should not provide any benefit which may encourage marriage or help married people.

    You would think those Christian Conservatives who always bitch about government social engineering would reject any government benefits for married people, gay or straight – especially the Christian Conservatives that troll public restrooms seeking sex with random strangers.

    You would think that of all people, gay people would see the inherent problems with government when it comes to equal treatment under the law. But instead, they want to join the ranks of straight married people who want to be a little more equal than unmarried people.

    Damockrisy in action!

    Solution: abolish the state.

  30. Jill Pyeatt

    I was never married until 4 years ago, and, believe me, there’s a definite bias/economic disadvantage to being single. Litte things like being offered 2-for-1 memberships to gymns or superstores for married people is one example, but those add up.

  31. paulie

    Does anyone know how many gay people are serving time in jail because they participated in a wedding ceremony but have no state-issued marriage license?

    Dunno. Does pre-deportation immigration detention count?

    I’m also wondering why long-term straight men and women who choose not to be married (Aaron Russo comes to mind) are not demanding the legal privileges that the state bestows to those with state-issued licenses.

    Aaron Russo is dead, but can you tell me which legal privileges specifically you mean?

  32. paulie

    I was never married until 4 years ago, and, believe me, there’s a definite bias/economic disadvantage to being single. Litte things like being offered 2-for-1 memberships to gymns or superstores for married people is one example, but those add up.

    Well, theoretically they wouldn’t have to rely on government licensed marriage. But in practice they do.

  33. Allan Wallace

    “While the government should not license marriage, it also should not provide any benefit…” -Tom Blanton

    Would-a, Could-a, Should-a!
    They “shouldn’t” BUT THEY DO!!!!!
    So what can you do about it NOW!
    NOW, not some distant time in the future that you dream of when you ache with yearning wishfulness about a libertarian utopia that you heard of once in a lullaby.

    It would make a church-lady want to cuss! In ANY endevor (business or nonprofit) you have long-term AND short-term goals, and they are ALL important. If a business only made long-term goals, and only worked toward those long-term goals to the exclusion of all else (what these all-or-nothing people are doing with marriage), the business would not survive. Because, the Short-term goals advance your cause AND set the stage for accomplishment of the long-term goals. They are sabotaging their own success by ignoring the smaller steps that get them closer to their ultimate goal.

    If you want a Should-a, here is one:
    The Government should do nothing to restrict or forbid anyone from availing themselves of any or all methods or modes of Marriage that are available to anyone else, including Civil Marriage.

  34. Marc Montoni

    I tend to agree with Steve Scheetz & Tom Blanton.

    I actually think the GLBT community made an enormous tactical error a couple of decades ago when the drive for official recognition of gay marriage began.

    I thought a better path would have been to *partner* with conservatives and work towards getting marriage license laws abolished — leaving only contract law for the state to enforce. In 1980, I attended a couple of conservative conferences and at both there was discussion by one or more speakers of the need to abolish marriage licenses as an affront to God’s law. That sort of talk evaporated when the push for licenses for gays began.

    As things turned out, the granting of marriage licenses to gays resulted in the social conservative movement getting the biggest shot in the arm in a century. Millions of social conservatives found gay marriage so objectionable that they became politically active for the first time in their lives, and I do not think their agenda has been particularly beneficial to society as a whole (not that I think the liberal agenda is beneficial in any sense, either).

    As a Libertarian, I do not want state-granted privileges given to any more people. I want such bennies abolished for all.

    The biggest problem with extending bennies to more people is simply that you automatically enlarge the constituency demanding continuation of / more of such bennies. This has the capacity to bite us on the butt later.

  35. Thomas L. Knapp

    “I thought a better path would have been to *partner* with conservatives and work towards getting marriage license laws abolished — leaving only contract law for the state to enforce.”

    Ah, yes, the old “those Jews should have *partnered* with the Nazis to win the war, leaving only those crummy Slavs for the Wehrmacht to worry about eliminating” approach. Sounds legit.

  36. paulie

    Avens O’Brien at LPNevada facebook:

    Government shouldn’t and doesn’t license personal relationships. Some of us have been in long-term relationships without government involvement. Government doesn’t actually get to tell people who they can or cannot love or have sex with (besides consent law – different story/issue). Government doesn’t even get to tell people who they can and cannot marry in a strictly religious-non-governmental ceremony, which is why churches have been doing ceremonial gay weddings for years.

    Government licenses relationships that couples seek a legal contract and protections to – a marriage is effectively a series of contracts rolled into one, from kinship, inheritance, taxation, etc… people who are getting married under the law (not simply in a church without a license) are asking the government to acknowledge them as an entity together for their participation in various social-legal structures, such as medical proxy, hospital visitation, inheritance, tax burden relief, etc.

    So when a couple makes a marriage contract, whether they be of the same race or gender or different, I have a problem with the government deciding some people’s contracts are more official than others. I’ve spent my life in the Libertarian Party (literally – my parents co-founded a state LP) and I consider it to be a win when the Supreme Court does not allow the majority rule (Prop 8 ) or state-imposed morality (DOMA) to discriminate against a marginalized group of people.

  37. Allan Wallace

    Paulie, THANKS for sharing the Avens O’Brien quote. It was VERY Well Stated!

  38. Ad Hoc

    There are many references in this thread to government giveaways, bennies, and other such terms. Can someone please post a list of these which are applicable to this discussion directly, or a link to such a list? Anyone.

  39. Steve Scheetz

    and Godwin’s law strikes again…..

    There are numerous problems, only a few of which have been discussed in this thread:

    and all of them involve receiving government services.

    Also, I’d still like to know how this question misrepresents Steve Scheetz’s position:

    Because Loving Vs Virginia is not even close to what is being discussed on this thread.

    Mr. Loving was in JAIL for getting married. Gays want access to government services (free stuff)

    The government offers all sorts of goodies for being married http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/marriage-rights-benefits-30190.html

    Gays were able to get married before, they just did not have the ability to obtain any of the swag… This has nothing to do with the Loving case as it was argued, but my statement still stands… the decision also enabled more free stuff to be given out at taxpayer expense.

    Using government to this end is morally wrong and I will not support it.

    Sincerely,

    Steve Scheetz

  40. Ad Hoc

    “and all of them involve receiving government services.”

    You mean like having your spouse deported, never allowed to immigrate to the US, or compelled to testify against you in court?

    BTW this was posted by Steven Rodriguez on LPTN facebook:

    “A marriage license in many ways is a protection from the state. It results in couples having to pay less taxes, and gives them more choices in matters of inheritance, court testimony, immigration and more. On top of that, more marriages means less tax revenue for the state. When the issue of same-sex marriage was presented to the Iowa Supreme Court, anti-gay conservatives complained about this very thing. The Court mentioned this in their ruling in Varnum v. Brien: “due to our laws granting tax benefits to married couples the State of Iowa would reap less tax revenue if individual taxpaying gay and lesbian people were allowed to obtain a civil marriage.” That reason alone should be enough for a libertarian to support same-sex marriage.”

  41. Jill Pyeatt

    Steve, are you saying that gays deserve less free stuff than heterosexuals?

  42. Waldemar Testarossa Fiumente

    No one should be getting free stuff. But if it’s being doled out, it should be on a non-discriminatory basis.

  43. Thomas L. Knapp

    Ad Hoc @ 44,

    “There are many references in this thread to government giveaways, bennies, and other such terms. Can someone please post a list of these which are applicable to this discussion directly, or a link to such a list? Anyone.”

    The closest thing I can think of is Social Security “survivor benefits.” Apart from that, the list seems to be pretty much a figment of Scheetz’s imagination.

  44. paulie

    Some of the items at the link @45 seem pretty legitimate for libertarians, for instance:


    Inheriting a share of your spouse’s estate.

    Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse — that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse’s behalf.

    Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.

    Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.

    Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.

    Making burial or other final arrangements.

    Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.

    Applying for joint foster care rights.

    Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.

    Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.

    Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of consortium (loss of intimacy).

    Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can’t force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.

    Receiving crime victims’ recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.

    Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.

    Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family.

    The laws being what they are, I don’t see how a LLP partnership would solve these problems for gay couples.

    Some items represent a degree of interference in the employee-employer relationship, but why should these be more available to straight people than gay people?


    Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse’s employer.

    Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.

    Receiving wages, workers’ compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.

    Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse’s close relatives dies.

    Again, how could this be done through an LLP?

    Other items on the list presume the existence of various government institutions that most libertarians want to do away with. However, those government institutions, for example zoning and taxes, aren’t going to be done away with by entering into a LLP partnership. Allowing straight couples, but not gay couples, to be treated as couples for these purposes furthers freedom, how exactly?


    Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.

    Creating a “family partnership” under federal tax laws, which allows you to divide business income among family members.

    Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.

    Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples, including QTIP trusts, QDOT trusts, and marital deduction trusts.

    Receiving Social Security, Medicare, and disability benefits for spouses.

    Receiving veterans’ and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.

    Living in neighborhoods zoned for “families only.”

    Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.

    Receiving family rates for health, homeowners’, auto, and other types of insurance.

    Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.

    Other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.

    The number of other laws you would have to change to fix all these problems is staggering.

  45. Concerned Citizen

    Homosexual couples can only adopt, which is a conscious choice. Heterosexual women can get pregnant without wanting to. For the most part, government has an interest only in giving incentives for those who did not make a conscious choice to remain together to raise a child.

  46. Jill Pyeatt

    Sorry, CC, I don’t buy that argument. Don’t worry, though, because I’m really not interested in pursuing this.

  47. paulie

    homosexual relationships cannot lead to unwanted children.

    This falsehood has already been addressed on other recent threads.

  48. paulie

    Heterosexual women can get pregnant without wanting to.

    Not if they are too old, sterile, with a sterile partner, had surgery to prevent pregnancy or with a partner who had surgery to prevent pregnancy. Yet they can still get married.

    Homosexuals may be raped, cheat or have an approved side hetero encounter, or have children from a prior hetero relationship.

    Yet more bad arguments from the anti-equality side of the debate being advanced here by CC.

  49. Concerned Citizen

    Again, you cite the exception as if it is the norm and that’s where your argument fails. Incentives work only “for the most part.” Giving incentives unnecessarily only increases government.

  50. paulie

    I don’t doubt it for a microsecond, and you should be more concrete when discussing government “benefits.”

  51. Jill Pyeatt

    Well, I disagree, Steve. If one group of people get free stuff, then another should, too. I’m not talking about whether anyone SHOULD get free stuff, though.

    I’m weary of talking about marriage equality, though, so I’m kind of done with it for now.

  52. Jose C

    @22 I do not think he would support overturning Loving vs. Virginia. Loving is not applicable to the gay marriage debate or cases.

    One of the early gay marriage cases was Frank Conway, et al. v. Gitanjali, et al. in the state Maryland. Gitanjali and other homosexuals sued for the right to get married to a person of the same sex. They argued in part the Supreme Court’s ruling in Loving was applicable to their situation and laws against two people of the same sex getting married in Maryland were unconstitutional.

    The Maryland Supreme Court ruled Loving was not applicable to their situation or case. Quoting the court:

    “Appellees counter the “equal application theory” by stating that the proper inquiry in this case is not whether Family Law 2-201 singles out one sex or the other as a disparate class for disparate treatment. Rather, because constitutional rights are individual rights, the same-sex couples posit that this Court should examen how the legislative enactment affects individually each person seeking to marry. Appellees rely principally in support of this argument on Loving v. Virginia. . . a Virginia miscegenation statue despite the fact that the statue punished equally both the White and Negro participants in an interracial marriage. The analogy to the present case is inapt.”

    Quoting further the Court says:

    “In Loving, the issue before the court was the constitutionality of a Virginia statuary scheme prohibiting marriage between non-Caucasions and Caucasians, and providing for criminal penalties for violations. In support of the statue, the state of Virginia argued that, even though reference was made to race in determining who was entitled to marry, it punished equally both participants in the interracial marriage. . . The Supreme Court was able to see beyond the superficial neutrality of the legislative enactment, however, and determined that [t]he fact that Virginia prohibits only interracial marriages involving white persons demonstrates that the racial classifications must stand on their own justification, as measures designed to maintain White Supremacy. . . Thus, the Court in Loving determined that, although the statute applied equally to all races, the underlying purpose was to maintain White Supremacy and to subordinate African-Americans and other non-Caucasions as a class. The reasoning behind this conclusion was based, at least in part, on the fact that [W]hile Virginia prohibits Whites from marrying any non white . . . Negroes, Orientals, and any other racial class may intermarry without statutory interference.”

    The court concludes:

    “. . . the statute there . . . was in substance anti-black legislation. We find the analogy to Loving inapposite. . . . Virginia[‘s] . . . statute, prohibiting interracial marriages, was invalidated solely on the grounds of its patent racial discrimination.”

    In other words Loving was a case about racial discrimination and not sexual discrimination. It was a case about race. African Americans were not allowed to marry a person of the opposite sex if they were White. The law in Virginia had nothing to do with sex only race. The Supreme Court ruled that prohibition violated the 14 Amendment to the Constitution.

  53. paulie

    Yes, and laws against gay marriage are about sexual orientation discrimination just as anti-miscegenation laws are about racial discrimination. The curt was wrong, and it was an example of the exact same thing. Prejudice disguised as law. There should be no place for that.

  54. Steve Scheetz

    Jill, so we are clear, government does not have the right to give out free stuff to anyone, or offer services to anyone without offering to everyone.

    If they cannot offer certain services to everyone, then they should not offer services to anyone.

    I am also done with this.

  55. paulie

    If they cannot offer certain services to everyone, then they should not offer services to anyone.

    Exactly the point marriage equality advocates are making.

  56. Roger Roots

    One of the most important benefits of marriage–but one which is rarely discussed in the gay-marriage context–is the rule of evidence known as the spousal privilege. The spousal privilege dates back hundreds of years in America’s adversarial justice system. (In fact it predates the founding of the United States.) The rule prevents the government from compelling a criminal defendant’s spouse to testify against the defendant. The reason for this common law rule is the notion that society has an interest in preserving marriages that is greater than society’s interest in convicting criminals of their crimes.

    This is one benefit of marriage that is not statutorily created, not a “handout” by government, and not a component of America’s immense regulatory or taxation environment. In fact, the spousal privilege can be viewed as an anti-government or libertarian legal rule. The expansion of marriage to include gay marriage, in this context, may make some prosecutions by the government more difficult.

  57. Thomas L. Knapp

    There is no “libertarian case against gay marriage.”

    The libertarian position on gay marriage is “if you don’t like gay marriage, don’t marry someone of the same sex.”

  58. Deran

    Steve Scheetz and hsi il are just ignorant. “Marriage” is not swag or freebies. In the United States marriage is a contract between two people and the state. In this contract the state recognizes those teo people in connection with the ability to make contracts as a unit etc and gauruntees married people certain rights, such as access to their loved on in the hospital etc. The “government” gives them nothing. Maximalist utopianism says there should be no government and any recognition of the government is the work of satan and such. All well and good, but as paulie has repeatedly pointed out, in the real world of the present we do not live in a libertarian capitalist utopia and consequently freedom and access are mediated via the state, and individuals and groups secure the rights set out in our social compact (the constitution and state constitutions via “negotiations” with that government.

  59. paulie

    One of the most important benefits of marriage–but one which is rarely discussed in the gay-marriage context–is the rule of evidence known as the spousal privilege. The spousal privilege dates back hundreds of years in America’s adversarial justice system. (In fact it predates the founding of the United States.) The rule prevents the government from compelling a criminal defendant’s spouse to testify against the defendant. The reason for this common law rule is the notion that society has an interest in preserving marriages that is greater than society’s interest in convicting criminals of their crimes.

    This is one benefit of marriage that is not statutorily created, not a “handout” by government, and not a component of America’s immense regulatory or taxation environment. In fact, the spousal privilege can be viewed as an anti-government or libertarian legal rule. The expansion of marriage to include gay marriage, in this context, may make some prosecutions by the government more difficult.

    Good point.

  60. Mike Aldrich

    Great argument. I substitute the term gay marriage for straight marriage in my mind and it is a great reason straight people SHOULD NOT get married. If you are going to deny any class of citizens benefits extend that denial to all classes of citizens. There have been many marriages in the straight world that have been economically based and made only out of financial benefit and of which has come great discord and strife. It sounds like this is where the author is at in his personal journey and I agree someone like this should not get involved in a relationship if the sole purpose of the relationship is this narrowly minded. But to then say that everyone is at the exact same place in life is utterly narrow minded. All experiences are diverse and to deny anyone rights based on one person’s experience is obtuse.

  61. paulie

    As I probably noted earlier in the thread, it’s not a valid argument against the right of gay people to marry. Whether it is a good idea for some particular people is a separate question, and should not lead to discrimination by sexual orientation.

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