Saturday, December 15, 2012

Washington Post offers a couple of letters on gay marriage: tribal, v. libertarian arguments

The Washington Post offers a couple of letters to the editor today on gay marriage, following an op-ed Dec. 12 by Dana Milbank on Justice Scalia’s behavior on gay issues.  The link is here.  

One of the writers mentions the idea that the purpose of marriage used to be, to advance the future interests of the “tribe” or “family”.  Therefore, no society would seriously give legal recognition to a union that has not potential to bear children, even in form.  (Actually, that’s not completely correct historically; go back and read Boswell, or note the reader's comments below, as about Native Americans). 

The writer notes that modern individualism finds some aspects of traditional marriage law discriminatory.  To put it bluntly, the law winds up asking some people who don’t procreate to help support the sexual passions of those who do, making them feel like second-class citizens.  That’s no longer acceptable in modern thinking about individual rights.

We can get into discussions here about what it means to “live in a community”, etc.  That’s for another day.  But it does get back to the idea of “differential sacrifice” that some churches are starting to talk about.
The writer returns us to the libertarian idea that marriage should be a private contract, and need not have any interaction with the state.  That is simpler than creating different kinds of marriage or civil union in the law – but even gay activists have been saying there is only “Marriage”.  (Remember, “Piddle, twiddle, resolve!” – Chris Crain in the Washington Blade in 2004).  All of this calls to mind Gene Cisweski’s op-ed “License Expired” in GLIL (Gays and Lesbians for Individual Liberty) newsletter “The Quill”, which I at one time edited, back in 1996.  

Wipedia attribution link of Scottsbluff, NE.  I visited the area in  August, 1994, on the very day that I decided to write my  first “Do Ask Do Tell” book. I actually met a gay Marine officer that evening in the motel in Cheyenne, WY. 

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