Sunday, December 14, 2008

Libertarian lunacy

The Web is filled with an extraordinary level of rationalizations when it comes to finding ways to justify support for gays without support for marriage rights. And this one at Code Monkey Ramblings is truly ingenious in its self-deception.

In this classic libertarian thinking, the idea is that government involvement in marriage is abhorrent to begin with, so any further expansion of this involvement should be stopped. Allowing gays to marry is not the issue with “classic” libertarians; it’s the mere fact that the government is involved that upsets them.

The problem with this is that an entire class of people is denied equal rights in this area through active support of a ballot measure (voting yes on Prop 8) while efforts to dismantle the objectionable government involvement (civil recognition of marriage) are nonexistent. These libertarians do absolutely nothing to get government out of marriage except write convoluted treatises on why it should, but they will step forward and vote for discriminatory measures like Prop 8 because “government just shouldn’t be involved in marriage.” This is lunacy!

“As it currently stands, there is nothing short of the problem of finding a pastor, priest or rabbi who is willing to perform the marriage rite that is stopping most gay couples from getting married,” writes the blogger at Code Monkey. “This issue is really about other legal topics such as power of attorney and employer benefits than marriage itself, at least on the legal front.”

No kidding! This is also a truly overused setup for injecting classic Orwellian doublespeak into the debate, and Code Monkey does this when he writes: “The fact is, proponents of state licensing of gay marriages are generally in favor of using the power of the state to force society to accept homosexuality and gay marriage.”

First, he interjects the notions that we are trying to force society to accept homosexuality, yet does not explain how that can be. And second, he creates the moniker “gay marriage,” which creates the notion that a marriage involving two people of the same sex is somehow different from a marriage that involves a man and a woman.

At the heart of the argument that allowing gays to marry would force others to accept homosexuality is fear and animus. It is also a completely fallacious notion. I do not accept in any way the beliefs of those people who align themselves with Christian Identity, yet such people are legally able to marry. The mere fact that they can marry in no way requires me to accept the ideology’s anti-Semitic thesis as legitimate. I do not accept Christian Identity theology, nor do I have to just because people of that ilk are allowed to marry. So anyone who is a homophobe, whether admittedly or unconsciously, is in no way forced to accept homosexuality as legitimate merely because gays are allowed to marry. This would extend to clergy as well, because the clergy is not required by law to perform any marriage that comes along; rather, those in the clergy are allowed to do so if it involves a union that meets his or her requirements. Marriages, after all, can be performed by judges (even ship captains), who have no vested interest in who the parties are in the marriage.

And regarding the term “gay marriage,” it is a spurious term that we need to correct every time it is mentioned. There is no such thing as a “gay” marriage. There is only marriage, and what we are striving for is expansion of marriage to include same-sex couples as well as different-sex couples.

I’ll continue on this later.

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