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Equal Rights and the Roll of Government in Marriage

rainbow brain

Brainbow

If there’s one principle I hold dear, it’s the freedom of the individual. Every adult human being should have the right to do whatever they please, so long as they aren’t hurting anyone else, or infringing on anyone else’s right to do the same. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like it, or if your faith disagrees with it. It doesn’t matter if you’re offended. It isn’t your business. We should be ashamed that it required a supreme court decision to give equal rights to other human beings, as this is something all sensible people should innately embrace. Marriage is, and has always been, a commitment between individuals. Some choose to include their church, their god or gods, or their family. Some don’t. Regardless, another person’s marriage isn’t yours to define or limit, and it certainly isn’t the government’s to define or limit. The supreme court made the right decision today, and hopefully, one more step toward true equality and personal freedom. If you know me, you know that I believe in the full de-legislation of marriage, but under the current system, this was the correct decision, and I applaud it.

In regard to whether or not the ruling was unconstitutional, I’ll quote my friend Jeremy, a scholar and educator:

“I’ve also heard people argue marriage equality is unconstitutional for SCOTUS to impose this on the states. Section 1 of the 14th Amendment clearly states “…no state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property…”. I’m pretty sure SCOTUS upheld the constitution yesterday.” – Jeremy Raby

Again, I’m of the opinion that the only thing the federal government usually does well is overreach in its power, but hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day – and this time, they were right. Let me reiterate that the concept of marriage is NOT the property of any government, and no human beings should require another’s permission to practice it, but since we currently do (which is unjust), at least we can now all suffer this injustice together, as equals. It’s a step in the right direction… that right direction, in my opinion, leading to the de-legislation of marriage.

Really, the only non-religious argument against same-sex marriage was the complication of marriage benefits. I don’t think there should be any legal benefit to marriage – it only served to complicate the legal landscape and make it harder for same sex couples to have the same benefits. Along with believing that government should have no say in marriage, and thereby de-legislate it, I also believe it stands to reason that there should be no legal benefits to marriage from the state (private companies should be able to offer them if they want). The tax benefit came about in the early to mid century in order to close a loophole where married couple were splitting income. There are already rules against misreporting income, so just make everyone file individually and simplify the tax code. Wills are already legally binding, so if you leave everything to your partner in your will, great, the state shouldn’t automatically assume your spouse is the correct heir – it should follow next-of-kin hierarchy unless your will stipulates otherwise. Don’t have a will? Write one. Insurance companies already charge extra to cover your spouse and kids, so they should have a blanket charge to cover a certain number of “other dependents”, regardless of their gender or relationship to you. Since insurance companies are private, let them figure it out and compete amongst themselves. As for custody, is the kid biologically part of you? Is your name on the adoption papers? Are you legally one of the child’s guardians? There are plenty of ways to establish custody rights without marriage.

But what about property rights and the legal protections marriage offers? The next-of-kin hierarchy is already in place in many facets. If you want your belongings to go to your spouse, put them in your will. When I sign up for life insurance, I’m already obligated to name a beneficiary – why not require me to do the same with my house, car, and bank account? That would cover the majority of Americans, just in case they never got around to writing said will, but come on, this is a personal responsibility. Using marriage as a legal protection is taking a very unnecessarily long way around to a solution. If the demand is high enough, the government can put out a simple standardized form that one could fill out to “register” their marriage with the government, and which would contain the legal language necessary to make the partner the legal beneficiary in all matters, but again, this is a personal responsibility, and not something you should rely on the state for. It’s not their job, and shouldn’t be. Their job should simply be to enforce the legal protections you put in place for yourself. And honestly, if I had no spouse and no next of kin, I’d prefer my assets go to a good charity upon my death before going to the state. However, it’s MY responsibility to put that in writing.

Also, with de-legislated marriage, three or more people COULD engage in a group marriage, because why not? They’re adults. They can do what they want. However, you’d have to either choose one of them to be your NoK, or divide your assets among them. If a hospital allows certain special visitation rights for a single NoK, you’d have to choose one, or stagger visitation times. Again, this should be your call, and no business of the state, other than to enforce the legal language you set up for yourself. Want to marry a sibling? Fine. The court of public opinion may judge you, and the churches may judge you, but the state should have no say, whatsoever, in the personal relationships of consenting adults, so long as no one is being physically hurt, acted upon against their will, or is having their rights infringed upon. People engage in group and incestuous relationships already – preventing them from signing a marriage license doesn’t stop that, it only keeps them from obtaining legal marriage benefits – benefits which don’t require state sponsored marriage to exist in the first place, and which can be legally established independently, outside the context of said state-sponsored marriage. Other than your responsibility to your children, there should be no legal responsibility pre-established between any two people (in this context) other than what they outline for themselves.

…In my personal vision of an ideal marriage, marital union signifies a promise to share everything without bounds, which implies honesty and collaborative decision-making. Sharing implies a desire to give and do and be. Free will without input from the state may encourage individuals to keep their promises and to love more deeply. Paper and politics breed selfishness, not collaboration. If marriage were de-legislated, prenuptial agreements would consist of careful communication and a lack of leverage. Individuals would plan for the kind of marriage they desire, which may look nothing like the sort I described– and that would be wonderful, too- since self-government is the most reliable sort. I, too, am for individual choice (so long as it does not harm others). Marriage without legislative influence would consist of individuals choosing how they live and what they give. We are essentially talking about the politics of love. Whether two (or more) individuals choose a union of tyranny, an oligarchy, communism, or democracy, the lawmakers and the goverment of said union only needs to include those who are married. – Christa Krasson

In regard to the religious argument against same sex marriage, religious law applies to those that follow that religion, and should never be passed at a state or federal level or forced upon a populous at large. You are granted the right to practice your religion, not practice it on others. No freedoms of religious are being infringed here. Furthermore, federal and state law should only ever facilitate the safety and interaction of its citizens – not limit them in their personal lives. In regard to the “states rights” argument, I believe this transcends law, at both state and federal levels, and the federal government is doing its job, not in granting privilege to a group of people, but in protecting their inalienable human rights from being infringed. If a person finds it just for us to invade another country and violate their sovereignty based on human rights violations, I find it hard to believe they wouldn’t see a parallel here.

I apologize for the lengthy, semi-rambling post, but there are a lot of ideas I wanted to try to express, and maybe, someday, I’ll spend some time putting them in a more coherent order. 🙂

 

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