The Love Affair Between Mainstream Conservatives and Marriage Licenses Needs to End

In response to the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage, mainstream conservatives are left wondering what to do, now that their definition of marriage isn’t in vogue with our wise overlords.

Ryan Anderson at the Heritage Foundation provides some solutions in his article “After Supreme Court Gay Marriage Ruling, How We Can Protect Freedom for Everyone,” including another piece of federal legislation.

Sadly, not one of those he mentioned in the article involved abolishing state marriage licenses as well as discriminatory practices by governments in regards to people’s marital status. Nor does it center around the concept of private property rights and how people have the right to discriminate in regards to how they use it (he has written a book I have yet to read that might advocate these solutions, but it is unlikely; if it had, wouldn’t he have mentioned them in the column?). He operates within the very narrow range of political opinion that does not address the main causes, chief of which is state intervention into social institutions.

Conservatives need to realize that they are fighting a losing battle in the political arena; they are trying to protect their rights at the expense of other people’s freedom. Their zero-sum game approach is how they got to this point (among other things), because it is unjustifiable.  Their only hope to protect their rights is to reduce the power of the state for all parties involved, rather than try to harness it for their own ends.

It is without irony that Anderson advocates the passage of a proposed First Amendment Defense Act. If the courts and the feds won’t respect or adhere to the First Amendment right now, how is a law going to change that? They’ll ignore it, too, or the Supreme Court will interpret it to mean whatever allows them to do what they want.

The problem isn’t that the feds don’t have the proper tools to protect people’s rights. It’s that they have the power to violate it when they please. Giving them more presumed power, which they can use at their discretion, is only going to exacerbate the underlying issues.

One quote in particular caught my attention (bold emphasis added).

America is in a time of transition. The court has redefined marriage, and beliefs about human sexuality are changing. Will the right to dissent be protected? Will our right to speak and act in accord with what Americans had always believed about marriage—that it’s a union of husband and wife—be tolerated?

The courts are able to redefine marriage because Americans continue to believe the state has the authority to decide what it is. They do not want the state to lose this authority because it deprives them of the opportunity to dictate social policies, whether it be enforcing a liberal, progressive agenda or a social/traditional conservative one. The inevitable result of this paradigm of thinking will be continued conflict and political strife.

Proposals that have us tinkering with the requirements of government marriage licenses or fine-tuning the authority of the federal government is akin to rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

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8 Responses to The Love Affair Between Mainstream Conservatives and Marriage Licenses Needs to End

  1. mattwilson32 says:

    The irony is thick with this one. The marriage license was put in place by Christian conservatives (back then they were democrats) back in the 20’s as a way to outlaw interracial marriage. The same bible verses are used today by Christian conservatives (republicans), but the licenses are used to affirm gay marriage by the same govt. I just wrote a piece on the history of the marriage license. It was interesting to say the least

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The problem with conservatives is that they truly believe marriage should be monopolized by them, and their conception of what it is supposed to be. That is why they really prefer that the state is involved in it. Of course, the state can be used against you just as easily, something which neither rightists nor leftists ever seem to fully comprehend.
    Anyway, conservatives need to accept that whether it is through the state or through private agreements, marriage will be available to every adult regardless of sexual orientation. They only thing they can hope to achieve is to separate marriage from the state, so at least they can decide whom to marry, just as others can decide whether or not to marry straight and/or Christian couples.

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    • The Question says:

      “They only thing they can hope to achieve is to separate marriage from the state, so at least they can decide whom to marry, just as others can decide whether or not to marry straight and/or Christian couples.”

      Meanwhile, they continue to fight for control of marriage licensing as their businesses, churches, organizations, and schools will be sued, shut down, or lose their tax-exemption status for refusing to accept the government approved version of marriage. They are literally ensuring their inevitable loss of property rights. It has been a losing strategy for years and yet like drug addict they won’t quit the state. An intervention will be needed at some point.

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