EQUALITY : RIGHT ON : [lpsf-discuss] TONIGHT: Marriage Equality rally & march

Richard - Okay, I'm back. I was going to address all
your comments individually but I think it's better if
I just sum things up. It sounds like there are two
main issues here-

1. Is marriage a right or a privilege?
2. Should Libertarians be concerned with
egalitarianism and/or equality under the law?

So to speak to the first issue, I think we have used
the term 'marriage' rather loosely thus far and I
recommend that a distinction be made between the
institution of marriage (the concept, word, and state
of being) and government sanctioned marriage (the
legally binding version).

As far as I know, the former is not illegal. Anyone
can walk around and claim to be married to whomever
and not get thrown in jail. (except on gov't forms and
by de facto in some states who don't allow
cohabitation outside of marriage). They can also
incorporate themselves contractually and claim power
of attorney, so the equivalent legal advantages are
not barred to certain either. Agreed?

This is the reason I contend that the institution of
marriage is still free and that government marriage is
a privilege - albeit not with all options some may
feel are equitably required. For example, my sister
has lived with her boyfriend for ten years now but is
not married. I can assure you this situation has not
diminished their love for each other. They even have
bought a house together. The fact that they don't get
a tax advantage is a statist perversity and has
nothing to do with how they choose to live their
lives.

So why should anyone have a right to a government
privilege based on their situation or personal
affiliation? It sounds like a sense of entitlement
which has bred envy among those perceived as 'have
nots'. By the same token, I don't see how the fact
that I am not entitled to benefits to native americans
or welfare is a violation of my rights.

On the equality aspect.. This is most interesting. Of
course everyone wants to have equality under the law,
including Libertarians. But then we look at the law
books and how thick they are, the enormity of the task
overwhelms most anyone. And as most Libertarians know,
fixing it is downright impossible. In other words -
the more laws created to fix inequalities for existing
laws, the thicker and more contentious the law book
gets. It's also very subjective how to go about it.
For example, there are some who think equality on
income tax is best achieved by a fixed rate and others
who want a fixed amount. Do we do both? How about
neither?

So basically, to me government marriage smacks of a
type of affirmative action available to those people
willing to suck up to the governing establishment.

I ran across this essay from Murray Rothbard that
probably explains this better than I, although I think
he rambles around quite a bit.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/rothbard/ir/Ch16.html

Oddly enough, an ex-chair of the LPSF is mentioned as
well.

So in summary, my position on this stands as -

- Only the individual has rights - devoid of any
labels, race or creed, voluntary of involuntary
- Non-equality of privilege is not the same as a
rights violation
- The Libertarian Party should not get involved in
efforts of egalitarianism and instead focus on
reducing state coercion, not on the leveling of state
privileges.

David

BTW - I hope this thread is seen as lively debate
rather then needless infighting :slight_smile:

--- Richard Newell <richard@...> wrote:

I certainly want to get the state out of the marriage business, but I just
as certainly was immensely happy to see dear family members able to marry
last year here in San Francisco... Are those things inconsistent?

Come to think of it, the privileged position of religious clergy in
marriage law is very much more blatantly unconstitutional than preventing
gay couples from marrying. But of course I'm atheist and not gay, so my
opinion is biased. :slight_smile: When I got married we could choose between hiring a
government official or hiring a religious official... We gamed the system
a bit by asking a friend to get ordained on the Internet. At least we were
allowed to get married, but only by pretending our friend was something he
wasn't (a religious figure).

Justin