L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 259, February 15, 2004
Marriage, Nipples, and Sheep
Exclusive to TLE
With the actions of various state courts, legislatures, and politicians recently, I thought it might be time revisit marriage, what it is, and why anything that government does about marriage is wrong, no matter what pretense is used.
First off, what is marriage? Marriage is a social contract between consenting adults, no more, no less. Government, to some degree, has even recognized this, by allowing civil marriages performed by a judge, JP, etc.
If marriage was solely religious, then civil marriages would be illegal.
If marriage is solely religous, then anything government does to codify marriage is a violation of the First Amendment (not that government really gives a damn about that!). If marriage is solely religious, then religious tradition should apply? Depending on which count you believe, there are well over two to five thousand different religions. Many of them have wildly different marriage customs and traditions. who decides?
The state of Ohio, where I live, has recently enacted the "Defense of Marriage Act", codifying marriage as consisting of one man and one woman. This law will take effect in 90 days. I believe that this is totally wrong, that government has absolutely no business interfering in or regulating the private lives of individuals. I believe that no one has the right to decide how anyone else should live, believe, or behave, as long as the individual does not harm anyone else.
Do I understand homo-sexuality? No, I don't. Does this give me the right to decide that just because I don't like or understand something, it should be illegal? Absolutely not!
Most of my adult life, in one form or another, I worked to defend the status quo, working as an investigator, security officer, police officer, and even working on a nuclear power plant security response team. It was the last that finally completed my political growth, by the way. Every year, we had to re-train, and part of that re-training was the study of the Bill of Rights. Seeing just how government was violating the same rules it was training us to follow finally finished the education that was begun at the age of eight by Robert A. Heinlein.
So now, what can I, as an individual, do? I am too old, fat, and crippled to make a good infantry fighter. Besides, it has not come to the point of armed resistance yet, and I really hope it never does. I am just one man, with no particular skills in oratory or debate, no political influence, and no money to buy politicians or newspaper editors. It would be easy to just give up and say, "Well, I'm just one man. No one cares about what I think. Besides, one man can't make a difference." Well, that attitude is what has put us all in this mess!
What we all have to do is think outside the box. Use guerrilla tactics, in effect, to get around the law. This is what I propose to do.
We can't avoid the fact that the law outlaws gay marriage. What we can do is to set up a forum where some body accepts that a marriage exists, even though it is illegal, and use that as a starting point. To that end, this is what I propose to do.
I am an ordained minister, licensed to perform marriages in Ohio. With this law, I cannot perform marriages for gay and lesbian couples. What I can do is to perform a 'handfasting'. or 'affirmation of love' ceremony. I will do this with as much ceremony and publicity as the persons wishing to join together want, or as little. In addition, I propose that at least once a year, and preferably once a month, all those who have chosen to take this route will join together for a public gathering, celebrating the lives they have chosen to live together. In this way, the public can see that those who are different are not necessarily evil, and over time, perhaps it will be possible to get the law changed.
In effect, I am proposing that we take this route to un-demonize a segment of our population. It may even work in other matters, too. Perhaps gun-owners can have a public party once a month, or once a quarter, to show that just because you own a gun, you are not a mad murderer. This would be a tremendous opportunity to educate those who are 'on the fence' on a number of matters.
Will this solve all problems? Not at all. There are those who 'know what they know' and no amount of reasoned debate or persuasion will sway them. But for those moderates, who are just uninformed, it may be possible to undermine the socialistic reporting done by most of the media.
Can one man or woman make a difference? Probably not. But dammit, I am tired of no one trying. Free people are only free as long as they fight for that freedom! Not necessarily with a weapon, so much as with an attitude, an attitude of freedom. If each of us starts doing just that one little bit that we can do, perhaps the cumulative total will be enough to make a difference. Who knows, maybe freedom is contagious!