As a libertarian, I have to be for the right to marry whomever one chooses, right? Well, maybe I am. I mean, it’s not the state’s business whom I sleep with. Nor, as in the case of marriage, who’s turning me down for sex. But I get impatient with those who assert a constitutional right to gay marriage. There is no such thing.
Of course, the gay lobby trots out the old “equal protection” bromide. The right to the equal protection of law simply says that if you have a right, I get it too. The homosexual lobby’s argument boils down to this: you got to marry the person you wanted to, so why shouldn’t I? It seems a fair point. But gays are permitted to marry in every state in the union, and many have done so. What has them up in arms is the fact that in most states a homosexual may not marry a member of the same sex. They also can't marry a first cousin, an animal, or more than one person, not even if they have a really good reason for doing so. (Reasons like religion, a severely limited dating pool, or a burning need to legitimize what happened at last month’s family reunion.)
Now, are these silly preclusions? Maybe. As a people, at least 51% of us have decided that the mommy-state will feed me, my family, and my widow in the event I fail to do so, and if mommy is footing the bill, mommy should have some say in whom I will marry (More on this later). Do these preclusions represent a civil rights issue? Are there constitutional rights of gays, consanguine-ophiles, polygamists, animal lovers and people with really hot siblings that are being violated by these policies? No way. All the state has done is what it has always done, rightly or wrongly: it defined the terms. And since we all live with the same definition of marriage, we are all protected equally—if shabbily-- under the law. If you want to change the definition, change a few minds. Depending on your state, it only takes a bare majority either in the statehouse or on the street. And I will be right there at the march with you, holding your hand, singing “we shall overcome, ” and hoping your boyfriend isn’t the jealous type. But don’t get some judge to impose on a hesitant populace an invented constitutional right to do something the founding fathers clearly never envisioned--not even Ben Franklin. Forcing what--to you--is a beautiful thing down the people’s collective throat is not just a poorly chosen allegory; it’s divisive, and it’s the sort of thing that puts social conservatives back in charge.
But, as I alluded to earlier, the government should not even be involved in this issue. In a perfect world, whether I marry a man, woman, men and women, my cousin or some other forbidden object of love only affects you if the object is a child, or your prized poodle. By confiscating your money to pay for such things as family planning, survivor benefits, and social re-education, the government suddenly makes a public concern out of what should strictly be a personal or religious decision. I guarantee if marriage were simply that, a ceremony to sanctify a promise, no one but Dr. Ruth and Dr. Dobson would care anymore who does it with whom.
But, alas, we are all connected by the socialist-fascist constructs of government, and both sides of this debate--radical left and religious right—insist on rubbing the other side’s nose in it. Everyone has an agenda: the left wants recognized legitimacy for its lifestyle, and the right wants us all to stop touching genitalia that looks like our own. But government has no plenary power to grant legitimacy, and has had a devil of a time making us keep our hands to ourselves.
So I have some advice for both sides that might save us all some frustration: Stop looking for government to validate your lifestyle. Live your life, and let your neighbors live theirs. Call the people and animals you live with what you want to call them, and memorialize your union therewith however you choose to do so. And if the sexual preference of the neighbors has really got you down, put away the binoculars and close the curtains.