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Is Gay Marriage Really a Libertarian Issue?

I’ll start off by saying, I’m not totally agnostic on gay marriage, but I’m pretty close. I think both sides argue the wrong points in turn, and since I’ve never really felt the need to appeal to the government for validation (let alone validation of my personal relationships), I say let the chips fall where they may.

In fact, the more libertarian I become (by the day, it seems), the less I care, frankly about gay marriage. My partner and I love each other and we don’t need a government stamp nor piece of paper to make it official. Heck, even if we didn’t have the support and acknowledgement of our family and friends (we, ftr, do), we’d be content just to “watch the world die”, so to speak, our love strong as it is.

Personal mushyness aside, however, Reason‘s Scott Shackford has me confused today. Fair enough, his post last week on the site’s Hit & Run blog (which I read habitually and I recommend to you as well) is after all entitled “The Libertarian Gay Marriage Paradox“. But it seems to me the paradox is misplaced.

He first suggests that the actual libertarian argument against gay marriage (that marriage as an institution itself isn’t any of the government’s business) “is indeed a conclusion, not an argument”, whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean. In fact, it’s the argument supporting basically all libertarian positions, isn’t it? It’s the one I use all the time on a wide range of issues.

Be that as it may, he goes on to build then knock down a strawman libertarian argument that doesn’t exist, to wit: “Opponents of gay marriage recognition are not arguing for smaller government; quite the opposite” because, he suggests opponents feel “we need government to make certain that humanity continues to procreate.” Sure, social conservatives are making that argument, but do you know of any libertarian who’s saying that? I sure wouldn’t. “Paradox”? I don’t see it.

What is paradoxical, however, is his approach to support for gay marriage:

He cites the HRC’s list of “1,138 federal benefits, rights, and protections granted on the basis of marital status.” This is a canard that has been used by the likes of HRC and other statist organizations to rile up anger in the gay community, vis-a-vis: Look how you’re being denied all these things that others are getting!

Correctly, he seems to be overwhelmed by the magnitude of the list (“That’s just the federal stuff. State policies add even more.”), and daunted by what that means with respect to overreach into our lives, and even concedes that “[g]etting the government out of marriage is not something that’s just going to happen someday…it’s going to take a lot of work.”

His solution to the hard work of eliminating this wrong-headed governmental meddling in the personal lives of Americans (a “conclusion” with which he seems to agree)? Expand this wrong-headed governmental meddling in the personal lives of Americans to include same-sex couples. Okay then.

What’s most rich about Mr. Shackford’s thesis is that he believes the expansion of the institution of government marriage to include gays and lesbians will somehow bring about an awareness of—and an opposition to—just this type of governmental interference:

Opening up marriage highlights how much regulation the government’s “stake” in overseeing our nation’s breeding habits has brought forth. How many federal employees are responsible for overseeing the application of all these family-based regulations? How much money could we save if the government abandoned its role in determining what constitutes a family and the various subsidies and socially engineered regulations it has wrought?

That should make the argument in favor of gay marriage recognition even more compelling to libertarians. If gay marriages end up damaging or breaking our labyrinthine tax code, we should be cheering it on. Choke on all those tax credits, Leviathan!

Um, yea. Because Lord knows that expanding Medicare to include drug benefits convinced all those enrolled that the overhead costs and intrusive inquisitions by the feds weren’t worth…free stuff. And of course President-Elect Mitt Romney will testify that back-breaking debt due to an unsustainable government trough will surely cause a backlash against run-away governmental interference in our lives.

While his aims are noble (and similar to mine), I’d say his belief that his approach would work is at best fanciful. Mr. Shackford and I, as gay libertarians both, have a shared ideal of blind justice and a small government. We both (it would appear) agree that extracting the government from marriage altogether would be preferable. But he can’t be serious in this argument, can he? I’d hope not, and he alludes in another piece today in USA Today that he gets it when he mentions (my emphasis added):

The case selected [against DOMA to be heard by the Supreme Court], Windsor v. United States, is about a woman unable to claim an estate tax deduction following the death of her female partner, with whom she was considered legally married in the State of New York. Technically the case could be reviewed without tackling the thorny issue of whether same-sex couples have a constitutional right to demand government recognition of their marriages.

The injustice of this couple being treated differently from their straight contemporaries is not lost on me. That said, imagine if gay-marriage supporters dedicated as much energy toward (and campaigned for and supported candidates who were dedicated to) righting the larger injustice here: That the federal government seems to think it’s entitled to half your shit when you die in the first place!

That we live under a government which deigns to offer an exception to this confiscation for those who are married (or somehow otherwise participates in an activity that pleases it) should be an insult to all of us, not something we should strive to satisfy by expanding the definition of those who are ‘chosen’. Mother-may-I pleas of not being taxed into oblivion ‘because I’m-married-too‘ doesn’t echo of libertarian self-reliance to me. It sounds more like we’ve given up and just want what’s coming to us.

As I mentioned above, I’m mostly agnostic when it comes to gay marriage. It’s hard to argue that it’s not “illegal” anyway (knock yourself out, get married!), especially when the main rejoinder in favor of marriage is that anybody opposed must be full of “H8 (or in my case, “selfH8”). Either way, it’s more of a render-unto-Caesar-type issue for me. But I’d ask the Mr. Shackfords of the gay-libertarian community (a community of which demographically I likely belong, but with which—as any ‘group’—I’m reticent to identify) to stick to their convictions.

Lord knows how ideological libertarians are (I should know, I’m one of them…and if you doubt it, ask my partner what it’s like to listen to me argue with someone about policy). Mr. Shackford’s approach seems counter-intuitive. Republicans pull their hair out trying to convince libertarians (big “l” and small) to vote for their candidate instead of (as their argument goes) “throwing it away” on someone like Gary Johnson. Forget Mitt Romney, isn’t supporting gay marriage (and the expansion of government reach that goes with it) with the expectation somehow that it will finally bring an end to intrusion in our lives a little more like that same libertarian voting for Barack Obama?

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HHQ)

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80 Comments

  1. Actually, Levi, “progressives” and the Barack Obama Party endorse plural marriage and insist that bans on polygamy and plural marriage are unconstitutional.

    That is evidence. You lose.

    Comment by North Dallas Thirty — December 11, 2012 @ 7:37 pm - December 11, 2012

  2. Conservative firebrand Glenn Beck has joined a growing chorus of Republican commentators in defending gay marriage, laying out a strong case for ending government opposition to letting same-sex couples wed.
    “Let me take the pro-gay marriage people and the religious people — I believe that there is a connecting dot there that nobody is looking at, and that’s the Constitution,” Beck said during a recent segment of his online talk show. “The question is not whether gay people should be married or not. The question is why is the government involved in our marriage?”
    While Beck’s defense of gay marriage may seem surprising, given his far-right political views and audience, it is actually not new. Earlier this year, Beck said that he has the “same opinion on gay marriage as President Barack Obama” and does not see same-sex unions as a “threat to America.”
    Still, Beck’s public renewal of his support for gay marriage comes at a politically significant moment for the GOP, which is working to reshape its message to appeal to a changing electorate. A Gallup survey released last week found that 53 percent of Americans are in favor of legalizing gay marriage, a number that has been steadily growing for the past decade.
    Moreover, by couching his support for gay marriage in a libertarian framework, Beck makes the case for the right to look past differences on social issues in order to broaden their coalition to include all limited government conservatives.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/glenn-beck-defends-gay-marriage-video-2012-12#ixzz2EnI9dJ1g

    Comment by rusty — December 11, 2012 @ 7:45 pm - December 11, 2012

  3. Rusty, you bring up interesting information. Which will, of course, be ignored — except, very possibly, to attack you.

    Why should polygamists, polyamorists, lovers of dead people, buggers of small animals or people who want to marry their dining room sets be “recognized” or “not recognized?”

    Straight married couples are lining up at Santa’s magic throne, and they don’t want anybody else horning in.

    There should be NO line to Santa’s throne for tax breaks or other special benefits. (Remember “special rights?” Social conservatives supposedly don’t like them. Except, of course, when they do…)

    Get the straights out of line. Bust the line up. Then — guess what? — nobody else (including us awful, icky gays) will be there, either.

    Really, the hypocrisy and irrationality is nowhere more glaring than when the soc-cons put it on full display, during debates over gay marriage.

    I will not listen to another four years of bellyaching and soup grapes because Emperor O won reelection. If they soc-cons want to know why he did, they can stop bitching about “makers and takers” (the latter crowd being one to which many of them also belong) and take a long, good, hard gander in the nearest mirror.

    Comment by Lori Heine — December 11, 2012 @ 8:12 pm - December 11, 2012

  4. Or, they can spend another four years the way they did the last four — pontificating to Leftists about how government can supposedly do nothing right, then turning right around and expecting the same government to do their own bidding and give them treats.

    Worked really well the last time, didn’t it? So why not keep it up?

    Comment by Lori Heine — December 11, 2012 @ 8:39 pm - December 11, 2012

  5. Lori I very much enjoy it when you stop by GP. I do follow your blogging.
    Gives me much to think about. 🙂

    Comment by rusty — December 11, 2012 @ 8:53 pm - December 11, 2012

  6. You do a great job of proving “libertarians” to be cowards, Lori.

    Comment by Richard Bell — December 11, 2012 @ 9:21 pm - December 11, 2012

  7. #56 — The fake ones, maybe. Real libertarians never cease to be amused at how conservatives pretend to be libertarians — while they’re out of power. And how, as soon as they get a Republican back into the White House, they turn into toadies and lickspittles again. It didn’t even take an election to do it, this time. The grovelling and hagiography directed at Mitt Romney was going full-barrel a long time before November rolled around.

    Once they no longer need us, they go back to calling libertarians dope-smoking hippies, pervert-lovers and every other dirty name in the book. Until the next time they need to convince the public that the abuse of power by big government is evil — which is to say, the next time they don’t have it, and want it back for themselves.

    Then they cozy up to libertarians again. We’re a cheap date.

    Comment by Lori Heine — December 11, 2012 @ 10:01 pm - December 11, 2012

  8. Romney? Please don’t make me have to go back in history on this blog to pull up posts by Conservatives mocking the establishment republicans here and predicting Romney would lose.

    I do admit to being attracted to the prospects of a cheap date in my earlier years and who could turn away from one with an enticing vocabulary but at least we Conservatives are not afraid to make judgements about what policies should specifically be instead of blurting it’s none of the gubmints business and running off into the sunset.

    Comment by Richard Bell — December 11, 2012 @ 10:27 pm - December 11, 2012

  9. But that’s not really true, since the entire point of your argument is to continue government recognition of straight marriages while denying government recognition of gay marriages.

    Levi just for the record what do you think my position on the issue happens to be?

    Comment by Just Me — December 11, 2012 @ 10:32 pm - December 11, 2012

  10. Running off into the sunset, Richard? Really!

    Ask me about any specific policy, and I’ll tell you exactly what I think the government’s should do about it. Go ahead. Make my day.

    If you’re going to strut around and play tough guy, bring it.

    All you’ve got, evidently, are more vague indictments of what *ALL* libertarians supposedly do. How convenient, that such an independent lot can be neatly stuck together like that.

    Comment by Lori Heine — December 11, 2012 @ 10:37 pm - December 11, 2012

  11. Also amusing is that those who voted for Romney are now all “establishment” Republicans. They can be blamed, while social cons get off scot-free.

    He may not have pandered to you as much as you’d have liked him to. And some of you thought he’d lose because of it, I’m sure. But come on…

    Comment by Lori Heine — December 11, 2012 @ 10:39 pm - December 11, 2012

  12. #60 – “If you’re going to strut around and play tough guy, bring it.”

    Projecting much?

    Comment by Richard Bell — December 11, 2012 @ 10:55 pm - December 11, 2012

  13. You know what’s interesting is that Glenn Beck has the same position as Nick and both the HuffingtonPost and Business Insider claim he is pro same-sex marriage.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/11/glenn-beck-gay-marriage_n_2277885.html?utm_hp_ref=fb&src=sp&comm_ref=false
    http://www.businessinsider.com/glenn-beck-defends-gay-marriage-video-2012-12

    Comment by MV — December 11, 2012 @ 10:55 pm - December 11, 2012

  14. #62 — Richard, you’re so sweet. Thanks for the psychoanalysis. Your evasions, in general, are so charming.

    Now you’ve managed to steer the conversation to (A) who liked Romney and who didn’t, and (B) my psychological state.

    For the record, however, let’s reiterate. Those shells on the table are being shifted again, but I still know where the pea is.

    You believe in what essentially amounts to armed robbery, under a legal fiction. As long as only heterosexual married couples are permitted to practice it. Once gays get into the act, then — and in your opinion only then — it becomes morally objectionable.

    I, on the other hand, do not believe the tax code should be rigged in favor of some people and against others for the purposes of social engineering and wealth-redistribution. Not for the sake of “protecting marriage” — which I do not believe needs to be done by bribing straight couples to stay together (a strategy that certainly hasn’t worked very well) — or for any other reason. And not in ways that benefit any particular group, be they straight, gay or whatever.

    If you would like my libertarian opinion on any other issue, just ask. I have no intention of running off into the sunset.

    And I hope that’s plain enough for you.

    Comment by Lori Heine — December 12, 2012 @ 2:19 am - December 12, 2012

  15. “The best appeal here is to basic human decency and fairness”
     
     
     
    Decency and fairness would be extending survival benefits to children rather than the spouse. There is no greater love than the one from a parent to his child.
     
     
    If you don’t believe that you are a low life hater.

    Comment by susan — December 12, 2012 @ 3:36 am - December 12, 2012

  16. Lori has the right idea about how the gays are being discriminated against, I just don’t like her pure libertarian approach. She keeps calling the beneifts that married couples get handouts from the government, which isn’t true. The pension plans and Social Security benefits that I mentioned in #25 are paid for throughout someones career. If they are not alive to collect those benefits that they have been contributing to for their entire working life, and are straight, then the government gives them the option to pass the benefits to their spouse. But only if they are straight. This is not collecting government handouts, it’s being able to draw from your dead spouses savings account.

    In order to not discriminate against people, you have to either do what Lori wants which is to revoke those privelages for everyone, or extend them to everyone, including gays and polygamists and whatever other weird group that wants them. With polygamy it becomes a little awkward because the benefits are structured to be given to one spouse, not several, but whatever, I’m sure they can work something out. It is BS that polygamy isn’t legal. If a group of adult women all want to marry the same man, the government should let them! Or if a bunch of men all want to marry the same woman, go ahead. It doesn’t matter. The government needs to quit formally recognizing the majority (straight couples), rejecting the minorities (gay couples), and outlawing the margins (polygamy).

    Comment by Aaron — December 12, 2012 @ 9:37 am - December 12, 2012

  17. Lori @ #64,

    I have strong libertarian beliefs, but I am put off by the recurring problem that the self identified libertarians (who knows if they actually are?) tend to get into Star Wars bar scene fights over who is the most virgin libertarian of them all.

    Lets assume that the state walks away from marriage and the tax benefits bestowed on the married folks and anything resembling state approval or disapproval of marriage. Marriage is entirely a private act which is of no interest to the state. What happens to the body of law dealing with property and inheritance?

    From the strict libertarian view, does a child have any standing with the state to be protected by the state from abuse by adults? Or is the strict libertarian picture something more like the views we see in Hogarth’s London?

    I favor traditional marriage and oppose gay marriage, but believe that civil union contracts are both necessary and proper. Be that as it may, I also know that all government is repressive and that the least little law of government takes away and restricts freedom. By law, you can not ride your motorcycle on the sidewalk.

    My other question about being a true-blue libertarian is how does that person separate the libertarian belief from anarchy?

    As a conservative, I want government to be as small as practical and get out of my life as much as possible. However, I also believe that a small town can agree to spend some of its tax resources on helping out with shelters for battered women because of a general, moral sense that women should not be battered. I suppose there are libertarians who would say “screw the battered women” it is no skin off my nose.

    Therein lies my confusion. Where are the limits to being libertarian and who defines them? Each individual libertarian? Hence the reference to the Star Wars bar scene.

    Comment by heliotrope — December 12, 2012 @ 9:55 am - December 12, 2012

  18. Aaron,

    You write: In order to not discriminate against people,…..

    The modern world has taught you something very confusing to you and I believe you think on it a bit. It is just fine to discriminate. It is a very good thing.

    You have been taught that to discriminate is to “show prejudice” in a way that makes you a “bigot” or a “segregationist” or a “biased judge” or a “hater.” It can be that.

    But to discriminate is also to perceive, to discover, to determine, to separate, to “get the picture,” to discern, to recognize, to diagnose, to appreciate, to comprehend, to learn, and much more.

    You step off the bus in NYC and a person approaches you and reaches for your luggage. He has a “furtive” countenance. You can not discern whether he is an employee of the terminal or some sort of hustler. You act on instinct. You discriminate. And you should.

    Perhaps you oppose NAMBLA and you do not want men to be able to love and marry little boys. Your discrimination is based on some sort of internalized “yuck” and “ice” factor. It is personal. It keeps you from hanging out with militant NAMBLA members.

    We all have quirks in our belief and value systems. But, there are many times when they come together and a majority of people decide to unite their common perceptions and make an act illegal. Is it discrimination? Yes. Is it therefore an act of evil? No.

    Think about it. The word was high-jacked in the 60’s by demagoguing it in a way that has left many starved of the richness of the language and much that underlies the complexity of critical thinking. One can not take bumper sticker definitions and philosophy and be very articulate.

    Comment by heliotrope — December 12, 2012 @ 10:14 am - December 12, 2012

  19. Decency and fairness would be extending survival benefits to children rather than the spouse. There is no greater love than the one from a parent to his child.

    If you don’t believe that you are a low life hater.

    Well that just seems to make all sorts of invalid assumptions. Like the spouse isn’t fit to decide how to raise the kids and use the benefits. Taken to it’s logical conclusion, this assertion would also mean a parent shouldn’t be able to leave any inheritance to his or her spouse. That whole argument just assumes one should choose children over spouse for survivorship issues, as if the two are totally independent of one another.

    Shouldn’t the default be an assumption that the children are those of the surviving spouse? That’s the way the law is structured now. That current paradigm further assumes that the surviving parent is the best person to decide how to raise those children. Otherwise the benefits go to the children, and then who is responsible? Must a trust be set up? It would seem so for minor children. And who decides whether the trustee (who we would normally assume would be the surviving parent) is acting in the best interests of those children? The State? Would DYFS / CPS / insert-child-services-acronym-here have that power? God I hope not.

    Comment by Neptune — December 12, 2012 @ 11:10 am - December 12, 2012

  20. Two excellent posts by Heliotrope summing up my feelings much better than I can.

    Comment by The_Livewire — December 12, 2012 @ 11:30 am - December 12, 2012

  21. #64 – Lori “You believe in what essentially amounts to armed robbery, under a legal fiction. As long as only heterosexual married couples are permitted to practice it. Once gays get into the act, then — and in your opinion only then — it becomes morally objectionable.

    I, on the other hand, do not believe the tax code should be rigged in favor of some people and against others for the purposes of social engineering and wealth-redistribution. Not for the sake of “protecting marriage” — which I do not believe needs to be done by bribing straight couples to stay together (a strategy that certainly hasn’t worked very well) — or for any other reason. And not in ways that benefit any particular group, be they straight, gay or whatever.

    I think you’ve confused me with another poster, dear. What I did post was, “#6 – I supported the same “domestic partnership” for the LGBT community in my state that heterosexuals who aren’t religious and don’t give a wit about marriage find satisfactory. The finacials that were still lacking in this arraingement could have easilly been strengthened and would have garnered much support from heterosexuals with a mostly casual exposure to the LGBT community.”

    Comment by Richard Bell — December 12, 2012 @ 12:41 pm - December 12, 2012

  22. Heliotrope, your wonderful Star Wars imagery aside, puh-leeze. Enough of the distortions of those dastardly pure libertarians.

    Protecting children’s interests does NOT need to involve the government confiscation, at gunpoint, of their parents’ money. It does not necessitate the State’s choosing who it likes and who it doesn’t and arrogating for itself the private property of the citizens it has decided it does not like.

    Taxation — punitive, with regard to those of whom the State has chosen to disapprove, so it may reward those it likes — is at the heart of my opinions about the government picking winners and losers WITH OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY.

    If you truly knew anything about libertarianism at all, you would know that. It isn’t that hard to find out what libertarians believe, or to clear up misconceptions about what we don’t. Come one. This is the information age.

    You are generally a gentle and very kind person, and I appreciate your ongoing presence on this blog. I really do. But advocates of this let’s-pick-winners-and-losers, nanny-government approach to marriage law have so befogged the public debate that even intelligent people like you are falling for their propaganda.

    Of course laws must be in place to protect the safety and interests of children. This need not be done by giving the government power to confiscate their parents’ money, willy-nilly, according to political whim. I would welcome an honest discussion, here, of how that might constructively be accomplished. What I find most unwelcome is a perpetuation of propaganda that — Islamist terrorist-style — holds up children like a human shield.

    Comment by Lori Heine — December 12, 2012 @ 12:43 pm - December 12, 2012

  23. And Richard, I have no problem with the positive aspects of what you support. I am still talking about the same thing, which is taxation. I object to the State’s taxation of different groups of people at different rates, based upon politicians’ whims. I reject the notion of a spoils system, administered by the State, in its ongoing attempts to meddle in its citizens’ lives.

    And Aaron, you and I will simply have to agree to disagree on the idea that letting even more people onto the government-driven gravy train is a good idea. I object to the notion that the government — whose job it is to protect EVERYBODY from armed robbery — has elected to participate in it. I don’t aspire to partake of the spoils.

    People have repeatedly (on other posts) attempted to mischaracterize my opinions on this issue. They are accustomed to tossing about terms like “gay marriage” without being specific in how they define what it means. I have defined it here according to my actual convictions on the matter.

    I don’t expect that more distortions will not occur, but there it is.

    Comment by Lori Heine — December 12, 2012 @ 12:51 pm - December 12, 2012

  24. Lori,

    Thanks for the response. I am thinking that you are not too eager to deal with nonsense that defies common sense. But separating nonsense from common sense is the conundrum that leads to ulcers and silly stuff from the Peanut Gallery.

    I have tried to get a handle on the motivations and aspirations of the Ron Paulians, the old Roger McBride crowd, the Bob Barr followers, those who attempt to distill the writings of Eric Hoffer to a schemata, the Ayn Rand acolytes, the remnants of the Lyndon LaRouche efforts, and the Ludwig von Mises Institute in particular.

    I would love to see a true Libertarian Party, but every time one begins to gel, we are treated to some moon bat crazy stuff that is the equivalent of Fred Phelps and the Westboro crowd challenging Pope Benedict to a doxology duel.

    I am not attempting to demean the libertarian concept. I am trying to get a handle on how to encapsulate it in a manageable form from which others can become informed and the movement can grow.

    My problem is that I do not want to tolerate idiots roaming around with meth addicted minds and the concomitant actions of such a mind. It they want to stay in their houses or trailers or up in their trees and burn brain cells, I can live with that. But when they clutter up my life, I lose all sense of caring about them.

    That is an example, not the core of my frustration. I just can not get a firm grasp on what constitutes “reasonable” state power in a libertarian world.

    Comment by heliotrope — December 12, 2012 @ 1:23 pm - December 12, 2012

  25. Heliotrope, there are definitely a lot of nuts out there. Anybody can use a word without understanding what it means, even to define themselves, and nuts will (perhaps naturally, since they’re nuts) use words without understanding what they mean, or try to make them mean what, to reasonable people, they do not mean.

    A Google search of “libertarian” will likely bring up all sorts of crazy crap. There are lots of people out there, saying lots and lots of things.

    A libertarian concept of the role of the State is one in which it protects its citizens from force or fraud. Period. It does not do a whole lot else. I know that may be a very general definition, but it’s the best one of actual libertarian theory on the matter.

    We do not believe this means that nothing else worth doing will get done. It only means we don’t believe it is the government’s proper job to do it. We believe that citizens are capable of doing anything else that needs to be done, and in ways far more efficiently (and probably less expensively) than the government would do it.

    There’s a common misconception here (I think of people like Seane Anna) that if someone like me says the government shouldn’t do it, we mean it is not important and that NOBODY should do it. This raises the State the cult-like status of divinity. Things are only real, to such people, if the government does them.

    Then they accuse gays of hungering after validation from the government. Which is rather like the pot calling the kettle black, or an ice cube calling snow cold.

    An interesting side-note is the way many people here (I think of Richard) blithely persist in believing that all gays, and all straight people supportive of gay rights, are non-religious. In fact, a great many of us are indeed people of religious faith. We simply interpret Scripture differently than do people like Richard. It seems to me that a secure sense of one’s own convictions need not necessitate a denial that those who disagree with those convictions even exist. To wish us out of existence seems, to me, a sign of insecurity.

    Aaron is absolutely right that the law should treat all its citizens equally. But if it taxes different people at different rates according to political whim, there is no justice in that. Nor has it any business playing pick-and-choose with whose interpretation of holy writ is valid and whose is not.

    Comment by Lori Heine — December 12, 2012 @ 1:45 pm - December 12, 2012

  26. Just for fun Lori

    http://i1124.photobucket.com/albums/l569/rusty98119/6dde1e0ad9fcd3a8c960ca3a4a49d2f1.jpg

    Comment by rusty — December 12, 2012 @ 3:14 pm - December 12, 2012

  27. Rusty, a “get-along” shirt does seem like a good idea.

    Comment by Lori Heine — December 12, 2012 @ 3:31 pm - December 12, 2012

  28. That current paradigm further assumes that the surviving parent is the best person to decide how to raise those children. Otherwise the benefits go to the children, and then who is responsible? Must a trust be set up? It would seem so for minor children. And who decides whether the trustee (who we would normally assume would be the surviving parent) is acting in the best interests of those children? The State? Would DYFS / CPS / insert-child-services-acronym-here have that power? God I hope not.

    Ever hear of a guardian ad litem? They already exist to protect the child/ren in cases where no competent parental guardian is evident. It could be said that that safety valve would be better extended to other situations. And, it need not even be a ward of the state, but someone who is not in direct legal succession—but cares deeply enough—to automatically assume the role.

    True story: an acquaintance of mine had a brother and a wife with two birth children, born almost a decade apart. Both salt-of-the-earth types who got along great with their kids and close relatives. Brother’s wife contracts cancer, and dies, leaving younger child as a surviving minor. Brother becomes despondent after her death, makes stupid decisions, and connects with a drug-abusing user whom he takes to be his second wife. Not too long thereafter, brother contracts another form of fatal disease and also dies, leaving his younger child in the ‘care’ of the drug-abusing stepmom. She can barely take care of herself, yet claims to want to parent youngest surviving child ‘Drew’. My acquaintance and his wife (uncle and aunt-by-marriage) want to adopt Drew and take him into their loving home, but stepmom wants nothing of it, since that means her gravy-train-by-legal-succession will come to an end. According to the law of the state brother & wives lived in, the best interests of the child are the overriding concern, and it only takes a state social worker or two to say that, well, of course it is in the surviving minor child’s best interest to stay in the only physical home he has ever known, even if it is with a stepmother he barely knows.

    Long story shorter, uncle & wife expend close to $100,000 in expenses in order to legally adopt Drew, get loser stepmom out of the picture, and have him become their de facto second son and live with them in a neighboring state with family who love him—where he is today a successful high school junior.

    So here is a perfect case where marriage law actually does more to harm a family than help. If benefits would pass automatically from surviving parent to child upon death, then a good many of the children would be better off and there would be less golddiggers to leech off of unsuspecting marks.

    Comment by RSG — December 13, 2012 @ 2:30 am - December 13, 2012

  29. Levi just for the record what do you think my position on the issue happens to be?

    You said you didn’t care.

    But then, you accused gays of only wanting goodies, then you accused them of not respecting the institution of marriage, then you accused them of only wanting to poke Christians in the eye. Which means you care enough to let some absurd propaganda creep into your thinking, at the very least.

    You said that gays were whining about the government being mean to them…. isn’t that something that a truly conservative individual should get upset about?Aren’t you guys supposed to just hate how the government is always getting in people’s way and giving them special rules? But here you are dismissing the gays’ complaints as childish and overly sensitive. Well then, so much for consistency, I guess?

    Comment by Levi — December 13, 2012 @ 9:59 am - December 13, 2012

  30. The little fascist does it again (for the 4,387th time):

    You said that gays were whining about the government being mean to them…. isn’t that something that a truly conservative individual should get upset about?

    Anyone who whines about the government being “mean” to them, according to the little fascist ……. is something that a truly conservative individual should be upset about!

    What? (1.) Be upset because somebody is whining? Or, (2.) upset because the government is being mean?

    As to (1.) we conservative support the freedom of speech and the right to petition the government for a redress of grievances. So, it can’t be #1.

    But, in the case of #2, we miss the part where was the adjudication settled that the government was actually being “mean” to the whiner. Why should a truly conservative or libertarian or liberal individual get upset about somebody claiming the government is being “mean” to him. Let him have his day in court and we will all hear him out and a decision will be rendered. No truly conservative person or liberal person or libertarian person is required to get upset about anything that is on track to be adjudicated.

    So the premise is a conclusion and once again the little fascist goes skipping off down Diatribe and Dribble lane doing his imbecile rant.

    The poor little fascist loves to pretend that he has logic and common sense on his side. He is just like the wino bashing his grocery cart into a parking meter and demanding it move out of his way. There is a certain similarity to logic in his reasoning, except there really isn’t.

    Comment by heliotrope — December 13, 2012 @ 1:28 pm - December 13, 2012

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