[ExI] Same Sex Marriage (was Re: Call To Libertarians)

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Wed Feb 23 07:51:13 UTC 2011

Hi... My name is Kelly... and I'm a libertarian...

I think it was Fred who said that he would not expect anyone on the
list to have a problem with same sex marriage. Sounds like an
interesting topic.

I don't have any problems whatsoever with adults living in whatever
sexual arrangement works for them. The government doesn't belong in
the bedroom. I have polygamists in my family tree. Most polygamists
that get a bad name today are marrying minors, which I don't think is
proper. Some people do believe minors should get to participate in
these kinds of relationships, NAMBLA, for example. I don't go to that
extreme, but acknowledge that it has been normal in past civilizations
(the ancient Greeks, for example) and that it could become normal
again in our civilization. Seems unlikely, but today's zeitgeist
towards gay couples would have seemed very unlikely in 1955.

I also think prostitution should be legalized (and maybe regulated
just a little regarding the spread of disease), but that perhaps is
going far afield of my main point. I only mention it to show that I'm
open minded on the subject.

Living together is not marriage. Marriage is a government defined and
sanctioned institution that comes with a huge number of both benefits
and liabilities. In a more purely libertarian environment, the number
of these benefits and liabilities would be smaller and it wouldn't
matter so much if marriage were extended to any group of people (or
whatever) who wanted to have a recognized relationship. But in our
socialist leaning (from my point of view) governmental system, there
are a lot of areas where there is a leak from the private relationship
into both public interest and liability.

If we opened up marriage to couples, that would allow for traditional
marriage, homosexual marriages, but not polygamist or polyandrous
unions. That doesn't seem very fair. Why extend rights to couples, but
not to larger groups? Once you extent the rights to groups, it gets a
bit more complicated to deal with divorce, child custody and the like.
What is the standard visitation schedule for the fellow who leaves a
union of 5 men and 7 women? Do you have to prove genetic relationship
to the child? In a gay male union, if they have a child where their
sperm is intermingled and a surrogate womb is used, then you have to
do a DNA test when they are divorced to figure out where the child
goes. Why should that matter? What if their DNA is somehow co-mingled
using as yet uninvented technology?

In the longer term, if I am allowed to marry an artificial cyborg,
does that grant the cyborg citizenship? Status as an "individual" or

If I as an employer extend health insurance to the family of the
employee, do I have to then pay for insurance for his ten "spouses"?
Is that really fair? Will it be required by government edict?

Don't even get me started on what this would do to our current tax
code. Will virtual people get to marry or just physical cyborgs? It
gets messy. Even with a constitutional amendment stating that marriage
is between a man and a woman, in the future what constitutes a man and
what constitutes a woman will get fuzzy. Just think Bicentennial Man
for one interesting example.

The point is that extending the definition of marriage leads to a very
large number of very messy legal issues. Particularly when you get
into relationships involving more than two people. All by itself, that
isn't a terrific argument against opening up marriage, but it does
give me reason to doubt whether it is a good idea for society.

If you say you're OK with gay people being married, but have a problem
with polygamous or polyandrous relationships, I think you've got some
'splainin ta do. That doesn't seem like a tenable position to me.

I totally get the emotional issue of "these two guys LOVE each other
and should be allowed to declare that to the world just like that
couple over there." My heart reaches out to those folks, it really
does. But I'm not quite ready to say that gay marriage is a good thing
for society, even if they think it is a good thing for them. Convince


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