I see this come up from time to time, always from libertarians and always without any chance of being taken seriously. Some libertarians have this bizarre belief that the way to solve the gay marriage issue isn’t to legalize gay marriage, it’s to get rid of all marriage for everyone.
The funny thing is, most libertarians I talk to who are married, they don’t want that. It’s usually only the ones who aren’t married that are hung up on the issue. So in a recent discussion, I described, mostly as a joke, that this was only a hot button issue for libertarians who couldn’t get laid and there were people who took offense to it. Clearly, some people have no sense of humor. The fact is though, society has adopted marriage as a mechanism for encouraging long-term commitment between two people because it is a positive benefit to society.
There are lots of reasons that society has opted to reward marriage, because marriage is the preferred social state.
1. A married, two-parent household is the superior state for raising children. I’m aware of no studies that show that a single-parent household, in general, can provide the same financial, social and psychological benefits to children as a two-parent household can. This is true whether you’re talking about a gay couple or a straight couple, children raised in a gay household are just as well adjusted as children in a straight household.
2. Those who have legally entangled their financial lives and share expenses have more disposable income. This means that a married couple can contribute more to the economy than two single people, a community of married couples is more financially valuable than a community of single couples, all other things being equal.
3. Married couples tend to be more stable, they tend to buy houses at a higher rate, stay in the same place for longer and build stronger communities. Often, this is because of children but not always.
There are many other reasons, this is just a couple to make people think. Of course, this is not particularly widespread among libertarians and it certainly isn’t the official party platform of the Libertarian Party, it’s just the grumblings of some vocal, but misguided libertarians in the trenches.
There are plenty of single libertarians who either want the same benefits that married people get without being married, or preferably, getting rid of all of these benefits for everyone. In reality, these libertarians are saying “we want ours and if we can’t have ours, we don’t want you to have yours either.” That’s kind of a dick thing to say IMO. Effectively, they’re saying they want all the up-sides without any of the potential down-sides. They want the benefits without having to give anything back to the community like married couples in general do.
In fact, lots of libertarians point out that marriage is just a civil contract, which indeed it is. It isn’t anything magical. You can, in theory, do everything you get in marriage on your own, you can go to court with the proper paperwork, a wad of cash and enough time, get most of the benefits you automatically get when you are married. But why in the world would you want to do that? Marriage is a one-stop shop, all of the most desired interpersonal contracts are already included when you sign your name on the dotted line. What they essentially want to do is end marriage and then… recreate marriage! It’s really foolish.
Let’s be honest, this isn’t an American thing, it’s a human thing. Humans have pair-bonded since the beginning of time, it’s been legally recognized in pretty much every culture on the planet since time immemorial. The idea that America ought to do things differently is bizarre. Marriage isn’t a religious thing, it’s a human thing and humans, almost without exception, through the political arm of their society, the government, give preferential treatment to marriage because it is beneficial to the society as a whole. Since libertarians have such a twisted view of government, that it’s an alien entity imposed on society that must be fought against at every turn, it’s no surprise they can’t comprehend this. When you have unrealistic views of the world around you, it’s no wonder your political views are so messed up.
Can we please just take a step back and look at the world rationally? Ending marriage is simply not a realistic request, I don’t give a damn what the Constitution says or doesn’t say, what it supports or doesn’t support. No government on the face of the planet is going to deny marriage benefits because it is the desire of the people that they be there. For good or ill, this is what the people want and this is what they’re going to get. To think otherwise is to be delusional.
And for you libertarians who are married and still think this is so, get a divorce and do things the “right” way, you hypocrites. Stop accepting those evil government benefits, go out and form your perfect “civil contract”, whatever time and money it costs you. Show us how it’s done. Of course, they won’t, this is all a load of nonsense.