Posted tagged ‘Gay Rights’

Marriage, Same Sex Couples, And The Supreme Court.

June 30, 2015

The Supreme Court’s job is to apply the law to the case in front of them, not make law from that case. The Supreme Court’s ruling last week on same sex marriage was similar to the Roe vs. Wade decision from this stand point. It struck down the laws of all 50 states and replaced them with a one size fits all law.

The clear meaning of words is important if our goal is to communicate clearly with one another. If our goal is to fool people for political purposes, the clear meaning of words isn’t that important. If one thing is by definition different from another thing, are they the same? And can they be made the same by judicial decree? The answers are no and no.

The definition of marriage is a union of one man and one women. A man and a man being a couple or a woman and a woman being a couple is not by definition marriage no matter how much it is wished to be. Same sex unions are their own unique entity just as the union of a man and a woman is it’s own unique entity.

The same sex marriage debate was presented with only two options. 1) Same sex partners should be considered the same as married couples, or 2) They shouldn’t (and that is “discriminatory”). Civil unions were never really considered because how a debate is framed is most important if everything is fought in the political arena. Even the Court, which is supposed to be blindfolded when it comes to politics, has taken the blindfold off and has become a political entity. It is essentially a nine seat legislature that creates law when certain cases come before it.

I don’t understand why gay people want the Government to be involved in their relationship decisions. When the Government makes a law it is a one size fits all decision and it limits what you are free to do. It does not expand your freedom like so many think it does. Same sex couples should be allowed to make a contract concerning their obligations with each other however they mutually agree to do so. Each, (we’ll call it a civil union), would be unique to the two people involved in the decision and wouldn’t apply to any other couple. There would conceivably be as many civil union contracts as there are civil unions. When the Government decides what the rules are, it trumps all the possible decisions couples could make in a civil union.

I’m disappointed in the shallow thinking on both sides of the issue. It’s like both sides have their banners planted on their particular hill of truth, and as long as their rhetoric is flying high, they won’t try to analyze the issue any deeper than their rhetoric.

Marriage, Why Is It Protected By The Law?

I wrote a post titled, “We’re All Born In The Middle Of The Story“, in which I quote Thomas Sowell who said, “results observed at a given point in time may be part of a process that stretches far back in time.” This quote is the first thing everyone should think about when they are trying to understand any issue that is being discussed. Most people think history started the day they were born. They give little thought, or have no understanding of how the world that existed the day they were born came to exist as it did. Being born in the middle of the story automatically makes us ignorant, sometimes blissfully ignorant, about the beginning of the story. When it comes to the issue of marriage, we are all born in the middle of the story.

The issue of same sex marriage is not a question of understanding why gays don’t  have the “right to marry”, it is an issue of understanding why marriage, defined as a union between one man and one woman, was legally acknowledged in the first place. This issue doesn’t seem that complicated if you look at it logically and not emotionally, but that’s the problem in today’s society, emotions and feelings trump logic and reason in our therapeutic world.

MARRIAGE PREDATES GOVERNMENT

Marriage existed as a private institution before Governments acknowledged it as a legally protected public institution. Just because Government acknowledged it as a legally protected public institution, doesn’t mean it is no longer a private institution. Government didn’t create the institution of marriage, as we who were born in the middle of the story might think, Government tried to intentionally protect marriage long after it had evolved spontaneously as a private institution. F.A. Hayek talks about spontaneous order in his three-volume book, “Law, Legislation, and Liberty.” In it he lists law, liberty, language, markets, morals, and money as social institutions that were not created by an individual or a Government, but evolved through the process of humans freely interacting with each other. If we understand how language was created, it will be easier to understand how these other institutions, especially law was created. Were the rules of English written down and then everybody started speaking it? No. People started to communicate with each other, and long after the fact discernible patterns of English language started to emerge, and these rules were written down. Children follow the rules of English long before they are taught the rules of English in school. Just as speaking English predated the rules of English, general rules of order and conduct existed long before they were codified into laws by a Government (the people).

MARRIAGE DEFINED

Marriage is the union of one man and one woman. It has evolved this way in every culture and religion, and in every place across time. This is the beginning of the story, and the fact that it has been this way for thousands of years seems to put the burden of proof on the proponents of gay marriage as to why marriage, defined as the union of one man and one woman, should be redefined. But lets look at why marriage evolved as it did, and why Governments acknowledge and protect it.

WHY GOVERNMENTS ACKNOWLEDGE AND PROTECT MARRIAGE

The propagation of the human species and the maintenance of a civil society rests on the institution of marriage. These became apparent only after marriage came into existence. The fact that a child is produced by a man and a woman is the starting point of why marriage became a private institution in the first place. Men have a propensity to run around and spread their seed unless they are constrained somehow. The familial bond between man, woman, and child, which is based on love and responsibility, creates a strong incentive for men to stay with the woman and child. Men staying with their family came to be accepted as a general rule of conduct and order. Even with all of these incentives, men would still leave the families they created. A woman is at a disadvantage in a marriage for one simple reason, she gives birth to the child. She gives up part of her ability to earn a living because pregnancy, birth, and early child rearing takes time, time she can never make up. She has a right to be made whole if the man leaves the marriage because a tort has been committed against her. A tort is a legal term that means, ‘loss or harm suffered because of the actions of another’. The law allows the harmed party to recover their loss. This is another incentive for men to accept the responsibility of creating a family. Let’s review the reasons that Governments acknowledged and protected the union of one man and one woman. 1) It is how the maintenance of a civil society can be brought about with the least psychic, and monetary cost. General rules of conduct and order are passed on to the next generation through the family structure. This cuts down on the cost of dealing with the havoc uncivilized young adults can inflict on society after the fact. The monetary cost of raising a child is born by the parents and not by society in general. 2) Because the woman gives birth to the child, she is at a disadvantage in the marriage, and needs to be legally protected. Dowry, bride price, and alimony are examples of attempts to make the woman whole if the man leaves her.

MARRIAGE VS. SAME SEX MARRIAGE

The union of a man and a man or a woman and a woman doesn’t produce a situation where either party is at a disadvantage and needs protection. Each person is equal in these relationships. The union of two men can’t produce a child, and the union of two women can’t produce a child. If they decide to adopt a child, or in the case of the women, one decides to give birth to a child, they are free to make these arrangements.  The reason being, they are both equal parties before they make a decision. You can call the union of two men or two women whatever you want to call it, but you can’t call it marriage, because marriage is the union of a man and a woman. This relationship creates the definition, the definition doesn’t create the relationship, therefore marriage can’t be redefined as anything but what it actually is.

WHERE DOES THIS LEAVE US?

Same sex couples should be allowed to make any arrangement they want to make. Why would they want to be limited by a Government definition of marriage? Each gay couple can make their own unique contract, which can be added to, or subtracted from, as their personal situation changes. Why aren’t gay couples upset at Government? It’s Government that restricts their ability to order their partnership as they see fit. Gays are also upset that they are denied Government benefits that married couples get. If you look at the mountain of benefits the Government extends to married couples, my observation would be, Government is too big. Why has Government strayed so far away from the basic protection of marriage as a private institution? The answer, power and votes. Government always expands its power once it gets a foot in the door. Gay’s shouldn’t want Government anywhere near their decision-making about their relationships.

GAY RIGHTS BEING USED FOR POLITICAL PURPOSES

Marriage wasn’t created in order to discriminate against gays, but this fallacy of “marriage discrimination” is being used as a rallying cry to tear down the very institution that has maintained society for thousands of years. President Clinton signed the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996, now he and Hillary are against it. President Obama was against gay marriage during his first term, not now. Republicans are trying to walk the political tight rope between both camps. Playing political games with the institution of marriage is a dangerous play. We never ask where the road we are about to take leads us. If we do not understand why marriage was protected in the first place, we will be swayed by emotional pleas for “fairness” and “equality”, that all issues turn into, when they are played out on the political stage.

CONCLUSION

Marriage is a union between a man and a women, and should be acknowledged and protected legally as such, it should not be redefined. Same sex couples should be able to make their own contract about how they want to order their relationship, and this contract should be protected, like any other contract that people voluntarily enter into. That should be the  extent of Government’s involvement in this issue. When Government gets involved in any issue, there will be guaranteed conflict between competing factions, because Government leads to a one size fits all decision. When individuals are allowed to freely  make decisions, cooperation, not competition, will be the result. We will be swayed by political wordsmiths who have the power to take our freedoms away, unless we get everyone educated about the whole story. If we don’t, we will be stuck in the middle of the story, which guarantees we will be making decisions in a state of ignorance. If both sides had quit fighting each other, and teamed up to battle the true enemy of their individual freedom, which is the Government, a much more equitable and less contentious outcome could have been realized.

Individual Liberty Is The Least Contentious Way Of Settling Differences.

April 2, 2015

Is there a perfect system in which human beings interact with no conflict? Since nothing human is perfect the answer is obviously no. But politicians and demagogues have for decades held up the standard of perfection as the straw man to compare any perceived flaw produced by our free market capitalist economic system and our constitutional republic. When results created by individuals voluntarily cooperating don’t meet what our betters deem acceptable, they want to pass laws correcting this perceived injustice, or “fundamentally change” the system.

They are never asked: 1) Why is what they value, better than what results from decisions made by individuals cooperating voluntarily? 2) Does the decision-making process they desire (usually some form central planning) produce more satisfaction for more people than the process of voluntary cooperation by individuals under the rule of law? 3) Who decides what is the better outcome?

INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY vs. GOVERNMENT DECISION MAKING

It is not possible to come up with a single decision that satisfies everyone. It is sometimes difficult for me to decide what flavor of ice cream I want. Many times I am not happy with my decision the second I take the first bite. If picking just one flavor for myself is difficult, how much more difficult would it be for two people to choose one flavor? As more people become involved in deciding one flavor, it becomes exponentially more difficult for people to be pleased with the choice. How many people would be satisfied if one person was chosen to pick a flavor for everybody? What would be the difference if everybody voted, and people had to eat the flavor receiving that most votes?

One person choosing between many flavors for himself is voluntary cooperation in a market between him and the person producing the ice cream. If no one produced the flavor he liked, he could produce it for himself if he thought it was worth his time.

One individual choosing a flavor that everyone is forced to eat is a dictatorship. Even if this person is democratically elected by a majority.

Every person voting on a single flavor, and the flavor receiving the majority of the votes has to be eaten is democracy in action.

Are any of these systems perfect? No. But that’s not the question that should be asked. The question should be: which system would produce the most satisfied individuals, and which system would produce the most contention among individuals? It is obvious that the system that produces the most satisfaction is voluntary cooperation under the rule of law. Unfortunately over the last century we have elected leaders, in both parties, who are taking incremental decisions away from individuals, and making categorical decisions for all of us. They are acting like tyrants, but unfortunately they just reflect the tyrannical attitudes of the people who vote them into power.

We lose more freedom as more laws get passed. When people say “there should be a law for…” they are really saying I want to force what I value on people who don’t agree. Even a law against murder forces a particular value on certain individuals who don’t share that value. Fortunately most people agree that murder is not acceptable behaviour. But what happens when there isn’t an overwhelming majority of people who agree. How do you reconcile each persons values?

PROPERTY RIGHTS AND VOLUNTARY EXCHANGE

Our system was founded on property rights and voluntary exchange (contract). Each person owns himself and what he produces, and no one is allowed to take another persons life, take what he produces, or take what he receives in exchange for what he has produced. If he doesn’t want to make an exchange with another person, that person doesn’t have a right to force him into making the exchange.

This all seems very simple, and it is, until petty tyrants in the form of politicians, bureaucrats, thieves, do gooders, thought police, political correctness advocates, or the average citizen try to steal from, or force their values on, other individuals. The more laws that are passed, the more contention there is between people who would otherwise have no reason to be contentious.

RELIGIOUS FREEDOM RESTORATION ACT

The recent conflict in Indiana between a State version of the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which was signed into law by President Clinton in 1993, and gay rights activists who say this is legalizing discrimination, is an example of what happens when people won’t follow the simple rules of property rights and voluntary exchange.

Under our simple rules, if a gay couple went to a bakery and ask the baker to bake a cake for their gay wedding, and the baker said no, the couple would go to another bakery. Just as a gay person could go to a bakery and ask the baker if he was a christian, and if the baker said yes, he could walk out without purchasing anything. These are simply different sides of the same transaction. In the first the baker refuses to exchange what he produces (his property), with the other person. In the second case the gay person refuses to exchange money (which represents what he produces, aka his property) with the baker. Does it really matter why each person refused the exchange? It only matters when force, especially the monopoly of Government force, is introduced into the equation.

The first amendment of our constitution protects an individual’s freedom of religion, and the supreme court has previously ruled that, racial discrimination in the operation of public accommodations, such as restaurants and lodgings, affects interstate commerce by impeding interstate travel and is prohibited….”  at thefreedictionary.com.

How do you reconcile these competing rules, rights, or laws. The problem with having growing numbers of rules and laws, is that each person, or group, tries to use the force of government to impose their values on other people. It’s a never-ending battle of court cases that creates competing factions that continue to fight because nothing really gets solved. This was the result of the Roe vs. Wade decision. Instead of allowing each State to have its own abortion law, no matter how restrictive or permissive it was, five justices on the court imposed their view of abortion on the whole country. Actually the pro abortion activists brought the Roe case to court because they wanted to impose their view of abortion on the rest of the country. That decision has made the abortion issue more contentious over the years, not less.

If decisions are allowed to be made at the point of decision-making, there is less contention and conflict. Most laws take the decision away from the point where the decision should actually be made. Petty tyrants in or out of government, want to use government force to impose their values on others. Gay activists have come a long way from just wanting people and government out of their bedrooms, or was that just a straw man to get government to force people to accept their values. I don’t care what a person does, as long as they don’t “pick my pocket, break my arm“, or have government do it for them.

CONCLUSION

In a free society you have a right to associate with whom ever you want. When you choose your friends, you are discriminating against those who aren’t your friends. When you choose a wife, you are discriminating against other woman. When you make any choice, you are discriminating.

Since every decision is discriminatory, should government be more involved in individual decision making? Many people think it should. Why are individuals and groups seemingly in constant conflict with each other? Because over the last fifty years, government has taken over many of the decisions that individuals used to be free to make. I hope we are at the point where most of us can agree that Government encroachment into every aspect of our lives has to be rolled back, if our civil society is to survive.

If you want to know my thoughts on gay marriage read, Marriage Laws Don’t Expand Rights They Limit Rights.

Related ArticleMeet 10 Americans Helped By Religious Freedom Bills Like Indiana’s, by Mollie Hemingway, at the federalist.com.

Related ArticleGay Marriage Isn’t About Justice, It’s About Selma Envy, by Hans Fiene, at the federalist.com.

 

 

 

Marriage, Why Is It Protected By The Law?

March 18, 2013
Marriage Day

Marriage Day (Photo credit: Fikra)

I wrote a post titled, “We’re All Born In The Middle Of The Story“, in which I quote Thomas Sowell who said, “results observed at a given point in time may be part of a process that stretches far back in time.” This quote is the first thing everyone should think about when they are trying to understand any particular issue that is being discussed. Most people think history started the day they were born. They give little thought, or have no understanding of how the world that existed the day they were born came to exist as it did. Being born in the middle of the story automatically makes us ignorant, sometimes blissfully ignorant, about the beginning of the story. When it comes to the issue of marriage vs. gay marriage, we are all born in the middle of the story.

The issue of gay marriage is not a question of understanding why gays don’t  have the “right to marry”, it is an issue of understanding why marriage, defined as a union between one man and one woman, was legally acknowledged in the first place. This issue doesn’t seem that complicated if you look at it logically and not emotionally, but that’s the problem in today’s society, emotions and feelings trump logic and reason in our therapeutic world.

MARRIAGE PREDATES GOVERNMENT

Marriage existed as a private institution before Governments acknowledged it as a legally protected public institution. Just because (more…)