As an anarchist, my first question is the one that I feel like people should have been asking all along: Why do we need the government’s permission to marry anyone at all? Why don’t people see the supreme weirdness of the phrase “by the power invested in me by God and the state of Texas”? If the government had never gotten involved in marriage, this would be a non-issue. It matters to people because the government, on behalf of the American people, is affirming a lifestyle that a great many Americans regard as sinful. And that’s not the government’s place.
If marriage were not seen as some government established sacrament, would it matter? Gay people have been having ceremonies where they dedicate themselves to one another for a long time now, and while many Christians see the choice as sinful, no one (to my knowledge) was trying to put a stop to such ceremonies. I never heard of anyone trying to pass a single law against such ceremonies. Why? Because it’s no one’s business how others want to live. But when the government chooses to affirm a lifestyle, on behalf of the American people, this changes things. The better decision would have been for the Supreme Court to say that the government doesn’t have any business making decisions about marriage because it’s a private matter. We should not need their permission to get married, and we certainly should not need their permission to decide that we’re no longer married; the government does not need to be in charge of marriage itself in order for the courts to arbitrate when a couple separates.
Of course, that’s tricky area because of the tax code and other government benefits which are tied to marriage. Giving these to one group while denying them to another was a clear cut case of discrimination, and the GOVERNMENT is not, SHOULD NOT, be allowed to discriminate against anyone in this country, no matter how they choose to live, as long as they are not hurting others. But this, too, could have been handled in a way that left the government out of marriage. We already have established common law in this country which says that if you claim someone is your spouse, that person is your spouse. If the government did not issue marriage licenses (a LICENSE to get married–think about that for a moment, and tell yourself how free we are), then they could simply ACCEPT, without DISCRIMINATION, a person’s stated marital status without discussion on any government form.
It’s not for Christians to judge those outside the ecclesia (1 Cor 5:12). Individuals and churches, unlike the government, should be free to make decisions about our own behavior and our own beliefs.
And so THIS is my problem with the idea of SCOTUS ordained gay marriage. As Bastiat said, “When law and force keep a man within the bounds of justice, they impose nothing upon him but a mere negation. They only oblige him to abstain from doing harm. They violate neither his personality, his liberty, nor his property. They only guard the personality, the liberty, the property of others. They hold themselves on the defensive; they defend the equal right of all. They fulfill a mission whose harmlessness is evident, whose utility is palpable, and whose legitimacy is not to be disputed. This is so true that, as a friend of mine once remarked to me, to say that the aim of the law is to cause justice to reign, is to use an expression that is not rigorously exact. It ought to be said, the aim of the law is to prevent injustice from reigning. In fact, it is not justice that has an existence of its own, it is injustice. The one results from the absence of the other.
“But when the law, through the medium of its necessary agent—force—imposes a form of labor, a method or a subject of instruction, a creed, or a worship, it is no longer ne??gative; it acts? positively upon men. It substitutes the will of the legislator for their own will, the initiative of the legislator for their own initiative. They have no need to consult, to compare, or to foresee; the law does all that for them. The intellect is for them a useless encumbrance; they cease to be men; they lose their personality, their liberty, their property.”
It is the force to which I object, the force that other countries have already seen in action. It is the force that says that this person’s desires can FORCE another to do something, even if it goes against his conscience. It is the force of the government choosing to act “positively,” in the opinions of some, upon others, substituting the will of the legislator–or the Supreme Court Justice–over the will of individuals to act according to their own consciences.
What you do is your business, and none of mine, up until the point where you try to force me to accept or participate in your business. At that point, why would you be surprised and offended if I refuse to participate?
If the government had chosen to step out of marriage, then I could join in the celebration for the the government removing itself from something it never had a right to be involved in to begin with! But they didn’t.
I stand for freedom, even for the people with whom I disagree. There were two roads. One would have led to more freedom, for all Americans. The other will likely lead to more tyranny, for all Americans. We stood at another crossroads, and America stayed on the scary path to totalitarianism.