By Ronald C. Tobin

During the Presidential primaries held on Super Tuesday, March 7th, the state of California (highest in population and in sheer idiocy in the United States) presented its electorate with a real laundry list of ballot propositions. Likely the most insidious of them that passed was Proposition 22. The proposition bans same sex marriages and says that California will not recognize as valid any same sex unions that may be recognized by other states. It passed by a significant margin, surprising those still foolish enough to believe that those who vote in California have liberal attitudes towards issues such as marriage.

Marriage as an institution poses an interesting situation for libertarians. Some are totally opposed to it, others will enter into committed relationships and design their own ceremony and rituals and not seek the sanction of the State -- the ubiquitous marriage license. Others will go ahead and have the state-sanctioned ceremony for legal reasons -- an obvious intrusion of the State into personal affairs. One point that I am certain that anarchists and minarchists can agree on is that the government has no business regulating relationships between consenting adults. That, and production of revenue for the State, is what a marriage license is really all about.

Unfortunately, we cannot dismantle the authoritarian State overnight and create a minarchist state or the even more desirable stateless society. In this society, people often need to be 'legally' married to obtain benefits, visitation rights and many other items. That being the case, what should be done right now? The answer is clear -- marriage in the legal sense should be available for any sort of committed relationship that consenting adults wish to enter into. This ban on same sex marriage never should have happened -- the electorate had no moral right to take such an action.

The United States is filled with people who still believe in puritanical virtues. Nothing else can really explain the bizarre attitude problems that abound in our society. Who can actually make any sense out of it? As far as I am concerned, if two men or two women are in love and want to get married and can find a church or some other entity willing to perform said ceremony, well that's perfectly acceptable to me. For that matter, so are polygamous relationships, group marriages, and the like. All that matters to me is that the people involved are consenting adults and thus the relationship is freely entered into. To add other qualifiers to this state of affairs is completely unacceptable to me. But then, I certainly do not expect anything that makes sense to ever come out of the government.

With right of free association always recognized by this libertarian anarchist, I do agree that if a certain group, a certain religion, or a certain individual did not care to perform same sex marriages, that is also fine by me. No one should be forced to do something that violates their sense of right and wrong. This, then, summarizes my position on this issue.

[This article originally appeared in the May/June 2000 issue of THE THOUGHT.]