Gay Marriage: Increasing the Power of the State.
The debate about gay marriage in most Anglo-Western Nations rages with both traditional political forces, naturally, getting the essence of the issue wrong. On the right, conservatives argue that the government has a moral obligation to uphold tradition and so-called “natural law”. The Right argues that it is not God’s purpose for homosexuals to be allowed to marry, so therefore it is government’s job to ensure that the will of God remains inviolate. Of course, conservatives tell a grievous historical lie when they claim that this nation was founded on the principles of Christianity, and that it was the Fathers’ intent to allow for state and religion to have a symbiotic relationship. The supposedly anti-state conservatives also prove their foolishness if they think that a government given such power, while currently in their control, cannot someday be turned against them. Essentially, conservatives are creating Frankenstein’s Monster with their wholehearted embrace of the state; powerful, but they should hope that the Monster does not rebel against its Master and find a new one, one with a different agenda.
The Left gets the essence of the debate wrong, although less so, because that side continues to argue that the State has a place in marriage, and that place means re-defining what marriage means legally, so that homosexuals in monogamous relationships receive the same benefits that straights in marriage do.
So what’s good Objectivist, operating on libertarian principles, to do? At first, the answer, to me, at least, seemed blatantly obvious: support the right of homosexuals to enter into contracts, the same that others are allowed to do when the State christens something “marriage”. Recently, however, I inadvertently stumbled across my own counterargument: supporting gay marriage legitimizes the influence of the State on our personal affairs, and the only proper role for an Objectivist is to urge the government to get out of the marriage business altogether.
How, then, does supporting what seems to be an expansion of civil liberties actually run counter to freedom from government oppression? Unfortunately, when the State decides that something is a marriage, it entitles the parties that have entered into that contract to all kinds of discriminatory benefits, de facto stealing from singles (those who have rationally chosen not to enter the circus that is marriage) in order to subsidize the “right” choice. Privileges, such as adopting children, tax benefits and other State freebies means that marriage, as the United States currently treats it, is not a moral contract, instead, it is affirmative-action for straights, which the Left wants to extend to any two members of the same sex. (Note that the Left rarely, if ever, defends the rights of polygamists).
Therefore, I can only conclude that the proper role of an Objectivist is most certainly not to encourage the expansion of this immoral government-entitlement program, but instead, to discourage the government from the marriage business. While some may argue that we live in an imperfect world, and that supporting gay marriage is the “right thing to do”, I cannot in good conscience continue to further enslave singles because some of their brethren and sisters choose to participate in State-sanctioned discrimination. The proper and moral choice, then, is for all members of civilization to recognize the injustice being served to single people when they are forced to subsidize marriage, and therefore, to oppose any expansion of what is, essentially, a welfare program for those who make the State-sanctioned choice. We have to tell anyone in support of gay marriage: straights should not be entitled to the discriminatory benefits they receive on the backs of others, and we will not support that expansion to homosexuals, nor to anyone. This gives Objectivists, and libertarians, the delight of offering a different viewpoint: we are not anti-gay marriage, we’re anti state-controlled marriage. We will accept nothing less than complete deregulation of marriage, lest we continue to oppress singles.