Should Gay Couples Be Allowed to Marry?

Michael Badnarik

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16 June 2004

Marriage partners, not government, should define the terms and spiritual orientation of their union in accordance with our nation’s guarantee of religious freedom.

— Michael Badnarik

Should gay marriage be permitted?  Is such marriage a basic human right or an abomination that should never be sanctioned?

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Establishment politicians are divided, much as their constituents are.  No matter what laws they enact or fail to enact, the division will remain and the fighting will continue.  Are we doomed to be a house divided?

Establishment politicians can’t solve this real world problem because they aren’t asking the tough question:  “Should lovers jointly decide what their marriage will be or should government dictate the terms of their most intimate union?”

Today, of course, government decides if a couple is even permitted to marry through a licensing process.  In other times and places, marriage licenses were denied to interracial or other politically incorrect couples, just as it can be denied to gay couples today.

When government permission is granted, the marriage constitutes a legal, binding contract, with terms that vary over time and with the location of residence.  Since these terms are not written down, but are simply a matter of case law and creative legal tactics, a couple rarely finds out what they are until faced with a divorce.  Men discover that their claim to custody can be prejudiced simply by their sex.  Women find that that their worth as a homemaker varies from state to state.  Prenuptial agreements are honored by some courts and heavily discounted by others.  The couples find themselves bound, not by what they themselves have agreed upon, but by what government officials dictate.

Like every partnership, marriage should fit the individuals it unites, rather than be a “one-size-fits all” proposition defined by those outside the relationship.  Each marriage should be what the partners want it to be—no more, no less.  Ideally, the terms of marriage should be defined ahead of time with procedures to modify them as necessary.

Just as anyone can engage in a business relationship, any individuals should be able to enter into a marriage.  Government’s role in a business partnership is to simply enforce, not dictate, its terms.  Government’s role in marriage should be the same.

When marriage is taken out of the legal realm, it is seen for what it has always been: a matter of heart and soul.  Just as the Catholic Church has historically disdained divorce among its congregation, so too will some religious groups refuse to bless gay unions.  Both those who support and those who condemn gay marriage will be free to practice their beliefs and persuade others to their way of thinking.  Each individual will be free to choose.  Isn’t that what America’s all about?

We know how to live and let live.  Our nation was founded—and prospered—on that principle.  Religious tolerance, the real issue in gay marriage, allows us to live peacefully even though our beliefs may radically differ.

Freedom is the one thing we cannot have unless we give it to others.  The blessings our nation enjoys today is built upon that expression of free will.  If you elect me as your president, marriage will no longer be a political football, but a matter for hearts and souls.

Copyright © 2004 Badnarik for President