My thoughts on the DOMA debate

I have been distracted by certain life events, but I have been thinking quite a bit about this debate over whether gay marriage should be "legalized" or not. I know there are strong feelings on both sides of the issues. My feelings are certainly strong.

Here is how it boils down for me.

We all bristle at the way certain people who call themselves Muslims oppress women and do horrible things in the name of religion. We find it repulsive. I certainly do find it repulsive, too, but the difference for me is I do not recognize those dogmas as being legitimate expressions of their true religion. Rather, I view those behaviors are part of the natural process of disorganization. Just like iron naturally disorganizes into rust and people intercede with coatings and treatments to try to keep it in its original state, so too people and groups have tendencies to become "disorganized" over time and religions seek to preserve a certain kind of organization that promotes peace and overall welfare. Islam is going through a period of disintegration. It has happened to all organizations that preceded it. We may not witness any kind of rejuvenation or re-organization of Islam in our lifetimes as these processes are very slow. Christianity
took centuries to pull itself out of its period of corruption and decay and has never recovered its high point.

Anyway, I find it interesting that we bristle at the uses of violence, force and intimidation, among people who call themselves Muslims, toward women and towards people who do not believe the things they do, but many Americans do not recognize those same tendencies toward the use of violence, force and intimidation in their attempts to force their own views on others.

When distilled down to their essences, all true religions reject force, violence, intimidation and manipulation in enforcing the teachings of religion and its moral order. It place of those negative behaviors true religions value peace, love and non-violence. I grew up being taught that the purpose of life was to know God and to love God and that God gave us free will so we could choose. After all, what good would it have been for God to create creatures to know and love Him if He used force to make them love Him?

So, anyway, I know I am rambling but my point is that I am and always will be utterly opposed to forcing morality on anyone as long as the choices they are making do no harm to me or to others. I am, therefore, in favor of withdrawing the use of force (i.e., laws and police) to regulate what anyone can eat, drink, smoke, buy or sell, where they can live, what they can do with their property, and who they can marry. Indeed, I don't think government should be in the business of issuing marriage "licenses" at all. We bristle at the notion that back in the 16th century the permission of the king was required before a couple could marry. How different is it now, really?

And, if that doesn't convince you, then allow me to take a different tack altogether. Think about this: If we actively encouraged gays and lesbians to marry and encouraged abortions for those who wanted them, in about three generations there would be no more Democrats!

"Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing."
--Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791

Thank you for this thoughtful post, Nina. I enjoyed reading it. I believe it was Dostoyevsky who said something like, God gave us a soul, so we could save or damn it as we chose. Saving our souls is hard work, especially given the fact that we are "social animals" and therefore exposed to the natural disorganization process of which you speak.

My own personal views on same-sex marriage (or anything else, for that matter) do not seem to follow the prescribed libertarian or conservative lines. The libertarian view is rooted in the live-and-let-live non-aggression principle, while the conservative in religion. I say the controversy is rooted in economics, both at the public and the personal levels. Same sex couples want equal treatment under rules of employment, healthcare, tax, public assistance, education. All of these rules affect both personal and community (state) economics.

Under today's rules, if I were a business employing a lot of people (which I am not), I would think twice about supporting same-sex marriage and the impact the mandated expansion of benefits would mean to my economic bottom line. If I were a religious leader (which I am not), I would worry about the possibility of same-sex unions not producing little adherents to my flock.

Although my perspective might not entirely fit the libertarian view on this subject, my conclusion perhaps does. I support: a flat tax (whether any tax at all is libertarian is the subject for another discussion) without any reference to marriage or children; repeal of all mandated employee benefits such as employer-paid healthcare; removal of all government licensing of marriage, leaving couples to determine their own contract with one another (if there is no contract, there is no appeal to government to fix anything when relationships fail).

Unfortunately, my suggestions are not realistic, since the march towards more and more mandates seems unstoppable. The public does a little complaining about new mandates, only to settle down and blindly obey them. But, I just thought I would share what I think would go a long way in ending the controversy about same-sex unions.



I agree with you perhaps more than you realize. I think the whole recognition of marriage issue should be a non-issue, i.e. not the concern of government.

Individuals should be free to enter into close personal relationships with whomever they wish.

Employers (except governmental agencies and government-funded schools) should be free to hire and serve (and discriminate against) whomever they wish.

Businesses should be free to serve (and discriminate against) whomever they wish.

Employers should be free to offer health benefits, or not, as they wish, and to whomever they wish. I would go so far as to say they should be free to negotiate a package that include health benefits for some employees and not others, either categorically or on a case-by-case basis. They should be able to choose to cover children of employees, or not. They should be able to choose to cover spouses or not and domestic partners or not or just "designated others" or not. I believe that the market will work out the consequences of these choices.

You may notice that I never really stated whether I am "for" or "against" gay marriage. This is because my view is it is no more relevant, on the face of it, than the color of another person's skin. I prefer to judge people on their individual merits and I think that employers and businesses should be able to do so, too, without fearing the specter of charges of discrimination or, even more insidiously, charges of "discriminatory impact".

Barry Goldwater was right when he voted against the Civil Rights Act. His point was it is not the place of governments to FORCE a diner to serve people of color. It would be better for the marketplace to sort out the consequences of cutting out an entire customer demographic and better for society to work things out and evolve voluntarily than to be forced to evolve at gunpoint.

I feel the same way about same-sex marriage. It is simply not the government's place to either prohibit it or sustain it; it should simply be irrelevant in all things.

And, yes, do away with tax subsidies for having children. Really, what that amounts to is a hidden tax on people who choose to remain childless or who choose to have one child instead of twenty. Everybody should pay the same tax rate and make their own choices about how to live their lives and how to spend their after-tax dollars without even needing to think about the "tax consequences". It still amazes me that marrying has "tax consequences", and having children has "tax consequences". There should be no such consequences!


"Freedom had been hunted round the globe; reason was considered as rebellion; and the slavery of fear had made men afraid to think. But such is the irresistible nature of truth, that all it asks, and all it wants, is the liberty of appearing."
--Thomas Paine, Rights of Man, 1791