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Debates Forum

  1. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    04 Feb '11 17:19
    Is there anyone on this board who thinks that the government SHOULD be in the business of sanctioning "marriages"?
  2. Standard member sh76
    Civis Americanus Sum
    04 Feb '11 17:21 / 3 edits
    I ask this because in the other thread pretty much everyone has conceded that the best long term solution is for the government to get out of the marriage business all together.

    A few weeks ago, not one of us would stand against legalization of marijuana.

    Are we a bunch of libertarians?

    If so, what about a message board like this draws nothing but people who hold positions that are, in the context of greater society, almost fringe libertarian positions?


    Edit: Or does having to defend one's positions with logical arguments inherently drive people towards social libertarianism?
  3. 04 Feb '11 17:23
    Originally posted by sh76
    I ask this because in the other thread pretty much everyone has conceded that the best long term solution is for the government to get out of the marriage business all together.

    A few weeks ago, not one of us would stand against legalization of marijuana.

    Are we a bunch of libertarians?

    If so, what about a message board like this draws nothing but peop ...[text shortened]... hold positions that are, in the context of greater society, almost fringe libertarian positions?
    Apparently we are all a bunch of libertarians.....until the health care Nazis and evironmental Nazis come out of the shadows.
  4. 04 Feb '11 17:25
    Originally posted by whodey
    until the health care Nazis and evironmental Nazis come out of the shadows.
    We all know how much you fear those along with the reverse vampires of course.
  5. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    04 Feb '11 17:25
    Originally posted by sh76
    I ask this because in the other thread pretty much everyone has conceded that the best long term solution is for the government to get out of the marriage business all together.

    A few weeks ago, not one of us would stand against legalization of marijuana.
    I've never wavered from these beliefs.
  6. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    04 Feb '11 17:27 / 1 edit
    Originally posted by sh76
    Is there anyone on this board who thinks that the government SHOULD be in the business of sanctioning "marriages"?
    I'm OK with it. No one thought it was a big deal until gays wanted to start getting married and have their marriages treated like everyone else's. It is at least arguable that marriage has a number of salutary benefits and therefore a decision by government policy makers to encourage it seems rational.
  7. 04 Feb '11 17:43
    Originally posted by no1marauder
    I'm OK with it. No one thought it was a big deal until gays wanted to start getting married and have their marriages treated like everyone else's. It is at least arguable that marriage has a number of salutary benefits and therefore a decision by government policy makers to encourage it seems rational.
    I think the biggest argument for giving married people "benefits" is that they often have minors to support. However, if that is the case all that needs to be done is give those who have children perks.
  8. Subscriber no1marauder
    It's Nice to Be Nice
    04 Feb '11 17:46
    Originally posted by whodey
    I think the biggest argument for giving married people "benefits" is that they often have minors to support. However, if that is the case all that needs to be done is give those who have children perks.
    No, that isn't the "biggest reason".
  9. 04 Feb '11 18:09
    Originally posted by sh76
    Is there anyone on this board who thinks that the government SHOULD be in the business of sanctioning "marriages"?
    During the elections the anti gay marriage is always an issue when conservative votes are needed. Strangly enough it are the conservatives in particular who hate Washinton's interference.
    To favour married couples is discrimination and therefor against the constitution.
  10. Standard member Palynka
    Upward Spiral
    04 Feb '11 18:18
    Yes, I'm generally in favour as long as they are not discriminatory.

    I could do without the tax benefits but there are things like inheritance, visitation rights, etc. for which the existence of the institution of marriage is helpful. I'm sure individual contracts could replace this, but having a state sanctioned default one is helpful.
  11. 04 Feb '11 18:27
    Yes, equal rights don't come easy and should be enforced by law.
  12. 04 Feb '11 19:19
    Originally posted by sh76
    Is there anyone on this board who thinks that the government SHOULD be in the business of sanctioning "marriages"?
    OK. You can tell me if the following means I think "the government SHOULD be in the business of sanctioning marriages" and if I sound like a libertarian.

    I will state some hopefully provocative assumptions: Government is a part of society that WILL form; government being that entity or collection of entities that have a monopoly on the use of force (call it violence if you wish) over a group of people, in order to maximize the freedom and security of a (possibly different) group of people. Autocratic, theocratic, or democratic, this applies. I will also assume we are talking in this case, about a functioning but not perfect representative democracy in which the governed elect the government and can remove it. On a practical level, democratic governments form as the mechanism by which the people governed seek to maximize their freedom and security, two values which are always in conflict, and which require force to be applied from time to time, at least against the part of the population who would themselves use force for personal advantage. Some of that behavior is premeditated, and there are emotional triggers that can induce it in almost anyone. Some freedom is necessarily sacrificed in order to have security in this environment. Utopians can have their dreams but that the way it is on the planet I'm on.

    All of that paragraph could be better organized. Don't tase me, bro, on my style.

    So we have government. We also have people entering into private agreements for mutual benefit. One way is to write up a contract. What do we do about breaches of contract -- one person delivers, and the other doesn't? Do they settle the matter between themselves, in the street, with guns? Most people don't want that. There is a mechanism, using government, to enforce properly executed contracts, or to terminate the contract peaceably according to its terms or according to general contract law that is applied. Sure, everything should be settled without force, but if force is going to be used, it has to be regulated. That regulatory function is part of government. It can't be anywhere else, wherever it goes, where it goes is government.

    Now to "marriage." We have people entering into agreements to live together, possibly pool their resources, possibly keep certain assets separate (pre-nups), possibly own property and enter into contracts with others as what I will call instead of "marriage" a "social partnership", in which they may possibly have and/or live with and raise children, possibly help each other when they are ill or dying, make medical and financial decisions for each other when the other is incapacitated, possibly want to leave their estate to each other or other people, possibly want to terminate the agreements.

    All of this can be done under contract law, individually or by "bundling" a collection or collections under a name like "social partnership." In a perfect world, the bundles would be well defined, and the name used should not carry excess psychological baggage. We don't live there. Some proponents and some opponents on the issue want it to be called, officially, "marriage" which I think is a mistake due to the fact that the institution of marriage, like many aspects of our social mores, was absorbed long ago by another social institution -- religion -- and in a democracy there has to be a wall between the two institutions for their own good. Social mores aren't divinely sourced, they are enshrined in religion by a society to reinforce them. At least, that's the empirical reason.

    Where the hell am I going with this, you ask?

    It is understandable that to maximize freedom and security, the people have an interest in ensuring that agreements are honored and breaches are resolved peaceably. It is understandable that the people will form a government- administered institution that bundles a group of contractual obligations. An example is the laws governing non-profit mutual benefit corporations. Thus the people may decide to set up an institution that bundles the obligations made in social partnerships. However, the institution's availability to people, and its details, should be based on criteria that maximizes their freedom and security, which I remind you is the reason people form governments. Further, there should not be "gradations" of legitimacy under the law (eg "marriage" versus "civil union" except as needed to honor that value, although outside of the government, the people are free to prefer some kinds of partnerships to others and blather on about why one shouldn't be allowed or should be named so-and-so.

    So I think it is reasonable for people in a (imperfect) democracy, as the people ultimately in charge of the government, to bundle a bunch of related agreements and commitments, together with a way to manage disagreements or termination of a social partnership, and give it a name that doesn't blatantly imply that it is any more than that. Then if people also want to add a private ceremony that they pay for and conduct separately from the governmental action, that does add more to the partnership's aura, and call it by some name they like, they can. If they want to say the civil ceremony is enough for them to call it by that name, let them. If they want to sit around saying that some other people shouldn't use that name for THEIR situation, let them. It's a free country, isn't it?

    So that's my defense of governmental interest in marriage.
  13. Subscriber FreakyKBH
    Acquired Taste...
    04 Feb '11 20:37
    Originally posted by sh76
    Is there anyone on this board who thinks that the government SHOULD be in the business of sanctioning "marriages"?
    Tricky line, that. Government (currently secular) making a dash into territory traditionally held by spiritual institutions. How would/could the government make any position holy, exactly?
  14. Subscriber AThousandYoung
    Poor Filipov :,(
    04 Feb '11 20:52
    Originally posted by JS357
    OK. You can tell me if the following means I think "the government SHOULD be in the business of sanctioning marriages" and if I sound like a libertarian.

    I will state some hopefully provocative assumptions: Government is a part of society that WILL form; government being that entity or collection of entities that have a monopoly on the use of force (call it ...[text shortened]...
    So that's my defense of governmental interest in marriage.
    Well thought out analysis that unfortunately sidesteps the polygamy issue. Why shouldn't people be allowed to game the system by having multiple "social partnerships"?
  15. 04 Feb '11 21:03
    Since marriage has economic consequences (child support, tax brackets, deduction, spousal benefits, inheritance presumptions) I can see why the government feels a need to be involved. I never understood the obsession with the genders of those getting married. We certainly don't look at gender when we decide whether or not to protect other contractual rights.