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L. Neil Smith's
Number 510, March 15, 2009

"The Missouri government wants you dead."

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Marriage (again)
by Ron Beatty
bearfreeliberty -+at+-

Attribute to the Libertarian Enterprise

I've written in the past about marriage and my view on it, and with the current controversy regarding Proposition 8 in the People's Republic of Kalifornia, I thought it was time to touch on the subject once more.

There are two major components of the problem, along with a host of minor ones. The first one is that marriage, as it exists today, has two roots, government and religion. Normally, government and religion get along pretty well, except where one or the other gets too powerful. Government relies on religion to encourage obedience, and religion relies on government to keep people feeling so helpless that they feel the need for divine help. Normally the two are symbionts, each needing the other to feed and survive. In fact, I could make a damned good case for the idea that one without the other is a recipe for disaster! (Don't EVEN try to come back to me with some specific exception, such as Asatruar, either! This only fits in with the basic concept that when one becomes too intolerable, the other evolves to resist it.)

The other major component is the FACT that most people have been so indoctrinated, both by religion and the 'educational' system, that they are not capable of rational thought. In this circumstance, hatred, bigotry and intolerance find fertile soil.

The root of the problem with marriage in this particular circumstance is that government is perceived as stepping on religion's toes, and vice-versa, since both have a stake in maintaining marriage as a tool of control, but each has a different set of priorities in their stance.

Without going into excessive detail, let's take a rational look at marriage, shall we?

When you reduce it to the very basics, marriage is no more than an agreement between consenting adults to live together for a specific purpose. That purpose might be emotional, such as an emotional need (love). That purpose might be to have (legally recognized) children (this one could fit in with both religion and government's purposes as well). That purpose might be financial, in that the conventional nuclear family finds it damned near impossible to survive in today's financial climate. Whatever the reason, and there are many more than these, the basic idea of marriage is an agreement between consenting adults to live together.

Now, this is the sticking point! Both government and religion have their own idea of what is legally, socially and/or morally acceptable, and in the case of homosexuality in particular, the two are very much at odds with each other.

How do we resolve this conflict? In the bounds of conventional society and morality, we don't! What religion finds acceptable is not the same thing as what government would find acceptable, and neither seems to meet the needs of the individuals involved in the controversy, at least in this particular circumstance.

The closest thing to a solution I've been able to come up with is totally unsatisfactory, as most compromises are. That would be for all the consenting adults involved to agree to a contract spelling out the rights and responsibilities of the people involved, including but not limited to inheritances for the children, exit clauses, etc. What would be acceptable to the persons involved might not be acceptable to government or religion, and what they would accept might not acceptable to the parties involved.

Notice that I said ALL the consenting adults involved, in the above paragraph. If we use this solution, marriage is no more or less than a private or social contract. It is religious only insofar as the contracting parties wish it to be. Taking it to it's logical conclusion, this could include ALL of the myriad ways that humans interact on an intimate, personal level, from one-night no strings stands to long term arrangements between two or more adults.

Now, I have no problems with this. If you have read any of my earlier articles on marriage and relationships, you know that I have no problem at all with contract, group or corporate marriages. Where the problem comes in is that neither religion or government would accept this as the standard for marriage, as it would remove all the elements that allow them to control the concept of marriage, if it should become socially acceptable on a wide-spread basis.

To reiterate:
Marriage is a private or social contract between two or more consenting adults. It is religious only insofar as the contracting parties wish it to be. Neither the number, gender or sexual orientation of the persons involved has any bearing on the eligibility of the persons involved to contract, or the legality of the marriage contract.

If you have any other solutions, please tell me about it/them. I don't claim to be an expert on people or the way they inter-act, nor do I claim to have any one, all-inclusive answer. Not all people are the same. They have different levels of emotional, mental, and physical maturity, and what one person finds acceptable, others won't. That is the nature of humanity, and it is the primary reason neither government or religion will ever agree on the various moral problems that abound in most modern societies, since both are a 'one-size fits all' mentality in action.


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