NOM BLOG

Haun: The Limited Government Case Against Gay Marriage

 

William Haun, a lawyer in DC, makes the limited government case against gay marriage:

"...A society where marriage is divorced from its procreative purpose within a stable union is a society that neuters its ability to prevent predatory men from impregnating women and abandoning them and to ensure that men take responsibility for their offspring. And it denies the child an incontrovertible social benefit: a present mother and father.

In such an alternative society—where marriage is divorced from procreation—the government steps in to look after children and relationships. And why not? If same-sex advocates view government validation of relationships as the means to achieve their social legitimacy, why not also look to government to solve the social failings of relationships?

Ultimately, the argument for same-sex marriage attempts to appeal to the personal promises we husbands and wives make to each other. But it only uses this course of reasoning because it cannot appeal to society’s reasons for establishing marriage laws in the first place. Yet when debating whether or not to license something, we cannot let our emotions determine the extent of government power. Government power that lacks a logical limiting principle—as the argument for same-sex marriage does—is inconsistent with limited government. To support limited government is to support traditional marriage." -- First Things

23 Comments

  1. Stephen
    Posted November 28, 2012 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    This organization's alliance with the extreme rightwing of the Republican party becomes more apparent every day. You might stop to consider why the Republicans lost so heavily in the last election: because most of the country hates their policies.

  2. OldKingBlog
    Posted November 28, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Earth to Stephen:
    All the election results show is that, given the fact that we conservatives have logic, common sense and tradition on our side, not to mention a very truthful world-view, that leftpeople like you see the world through a combination of naive idealism ("freedom and equality mean anything goes, especially in the area of sex") and just plain emotionalism ('we can be intolerant as long as we do so in the name of tolerance").
    In plainer English, YOUR side has revealed its utter incapacity for self-government (I won't even mention) your side's lack of civility), and therefore are no longer entitled to self-government. Move on to Moveon!

  3. Zack
    Posted November 28, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    @Stephen

    The republicans do a sucky job of of conveying their message. It's easier to cozy up to the idea that the government can provide for your every want and need rather than to hear you have to earn your way through life.

    I implore everyone on this blog to look up the video "Why we Suck" by Conservative TEA Party Activist Bill Whittle.

  4. Son of Adam
    Posted November 28, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    Then why do Republicans still hold the majority in congress, Stephen?

    In fact, official U.S. government figures show that the country has experienced decisive turning points that shifted the fiscal fate of the nation when voters in midterm elections rejected the party holding the presidency. In Clinton's case, the republican election victories in the house and senate in 1994 saved his floundering presidency and brought about his reputation for savvy financial management. For George W. Bush, however, the 2006 triumph of Pelosi's Democrats based on Iraq war disillusionment led to a severe economic downturn.

    Following the 1994 GOP congressional takeover, business conditions dramatically improved, with the unemployment rate declining from 6.5 percent to an average of 4.77 percent. In contrast, after Bush’s first six years with Republican majorities, the unemployment rate went from an average of 5.29 percent to 6.57 percent after the Democrats came to power -- and then to an excruciating 9.4 percent during the first 18 months of Obama and democratic majorities.

    A change of power on Capitol Hill can influence the direction of the nation far more decisively than a shift of control in the White House. After all, it's Congress, not the president, that makes the final decisions on spending and taxes.

  5. lhf
    Posted November 28, 2012 at 8:16 pm | Permalink

    More than the above - weak family structure leads to a more powerful state. Libertarians and others who support limited government should be very concerned about all efforts to weaken the two parent, one man/one woman family. When families are too strong, you get Afghanistan, which is run by clans; when families are too weak, you get the state telling you what size soda you can buy.

  6. David in Houston
    Posted November 28, 2012 at 8:33 pm | Permalink

    "A society where marriage is divorced from its procreative purpose..."

    I hate to break it to the author, but procreation has never been a requirement nor an obligation for opposite-sex couples in order to get married. Having children has always been optional, and generally speaking, when opposite-sex couples get married they are childless. You also don't have to be married in order to procreate.

    I'd be interested to know why the author is applying special rules to gay citizens that have never been applied to straight senior citizens, infertile couples and those straight couples not wanting children?

    To support limited government is to support... the liberty and freedom to be able to marry the adult of your choice without government interference.

  7. Zack
    Posted November 28, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    @David

    "I hate to break it to the author, but procreation has never been a requirement nor an obligation for opposite-sex couples in order to get married."

    You have missed the point of the article.

    "To support limited government is to support... the liberty and freedom to be able to marry the adult of your choice without government interference."

    Only that in states where it happens to be recognized, the size and scope of government has expanded beyond it's constitutional means.

  8. Ash
    Posted November 28, 2012 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

    As expected, SSMers challenge the view of marriage espoused by Haun, without offering a substantive counter-theory. They can't explain why the government would recognize--much less regulate--a relationship between two people. They use anomalies to challenge the sound basis for marriage that has stood across times and cultures, but can never give a plausible alternative explanation for marriage.

    They think they are arguing against arbitrary restrictions on marriage, when they are really arguing that marriage serves no societal purpose and should be abolished as a legal category.

  9. M. jones
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 7:59 am | Permalink

    The institution of marriage as between a man and a woman, uniquely involving the procreation of children within a family, is as old as the book of Genesis.

  10. bman
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

    Author-> A society where marriage is divorced from its procreative purpose...

    David in Houston ->I hate to break it to the author, but procreation has never been a requirement nor an obligation for opposite-sex couples in order to get married.

    Well, catching fish has never been a requirement or obligation to obtain a fishing license, either.

    Does that prove the purpose of a fishing license is not for catching fish?

  11. Spunky
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Permalink

    @ bman

    Well, catching fish has never been a requirement or obligation to obtain a fishing license, either.

    Does that prove the purpose of a fishing license is not for catching fish?

    This is just a terrible analogy regarding marriage equality, namely because it doesn't work. Anyone is allowed to purchase a fishing license, regardless of whether or not the person is allowed to catch fish. Under this logic, couples should be allowed to marry even if they cannot procreate.

    You can infer whatever purpose you want from buying a fishing license or getting married, but you cannot then use it to enforce a ban on certain people from doing either.

  12. Spunky...
    Posted November 29, 2012 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    @ bman

    Well, catching fish has never been a requirement or obligation to obtain a fishing license, either.

    Does that prove the purpose of a fishing license is not for catching fish?

    This is just a terrible analogy regarding marriage equality, namely because it doesn't work. Anyone is allowed to purchase a fishing license, regardless of whether or not the person is allowed to catch fish. Under this logic, couples should be allowed to marry even if they cannot procreate.

    You can infer whatever purpose you want from buying a fishing license or getting married, but you cannot then use it to enforce a ban on certain people from doing either.

  13. Spunky...
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Ugh. My posts are a mess. Let me try again...

    @ bman

    Well, catching fish has never been a requirement or obligation to obtain a fishing license, either.

    Does that prove the purpose of a fishing license is not for catching fish?

    This is just a terrible analogy regarding marriage equality, namely because it doesn't work. Anyone is allowed to purchase a fishing license, regardless of whether or not the person is able to catch fish. Under this logic, couples should be allowed to marry even if they cannot procreate.

    You can infer whatever purpose you want from buying a fishing license or getting married, but you cannot then use it to enforce a ban on certain people from doing either.

  14. bman
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Permalink

    Spunky->You can infer whatever purpose you want from buying a fishing license or getting married, but you cannot then use it to enforce a ban on certain people from doing either.

    Your comment seems to say the public purpose of marriage cannot be used to ban certain people from marriage.

    And I reply, of course it can limit who can marry.

    The ball is back in your court.

  15. Spunky...
    Posted November 30, 2012 at 11:28 pm | Permalink

    @ bman

    Got another in the queue--it fixes some of the earlier typos and is a little clearer.

    My point was that your analogy works against you--if you applied the same logic to obtaining marriage licenses as you did to obtaining fishing licenses, then everyone would be allowed to marry because

    1) their purposes don't matter (anyone can legally buy a fishing license for whatever reason he wants),

    2) the "purpose of catching fish," as you say, is anything but public, so it hardly makes sense to restrict it in the first place and definitely makes no sense to compare it to any sort of public purpose of anything, and

    3) for that matter, fishing licenses don't have a single purpose. For example, my purpose for buying a fishing license might not be to fish, but rather to demonstrate the diversity of purposes of obtaining a fishing license. If you want to talk about the public purpose of marriage (the existence of which I disagree with, but that's a separate debate), then fine. But don't compare this to the purpose of buying fishing licenses, which, again, varies based on the buyer.

  16. bman
    Posted December 1, 2012 at 12:44 am | Permalink

    bman->Well, catching fish has never been a requirement or obligation to obtain a fishing license, either. Does that prove the purpose of a fishing license is not for catching fish?

    Spunky->This is just a terrible analogy regarding marriage equality, namely because it doesn't work. Anyone is allowed to purchase a fishing license, regardless of whether or not the person is allowed to catch fish. Under this logic, couples should be allowed to marry even if they cannot procreate.

    Under my logic, fishing licenses are granted to all who have a rational right [to catch fish], and marriage is granted to all who have a rational right [to sexually reproduce].

    When a same sex couple applies for marriage, for example, their individual inability to reproduce is not why they are rejected.

    Rather, they are rejected because same sex couples do not have a rational right to sexually reproduce.

    If we view fishing licenses and marriages as being granted according to natural human need [to catch fish or to sexually reproduce] the two are analogous to each other in principle..

  17. bman
    Posted December 3, 2012 at 8:04 pm | Permalink

    @Spunky

    1) their purposes don't matter (anyone can legally buy a fishing license for whatever reason he wants),

    Even if a buyer has no intent to catch fish and never does catch a fish, he was still issued a license to catch fish, just the same.

    2) the "purpose of catching fish," as you say, is anything but public, so it hardly makes sense to restrict it in the first place and definitely makes no sense to compare it to any sort of public purpose of anything,

    The public purpose of a fishing license is to regulate the catching of fish, to manage the right to catch fish in an orderly manner.

    3) for that matter, fishing licenses don't have a single purpose. For example, my purpose for buying a fishing license might not be to fish, but rather to demonstrate the diversity of purposes of obtaining a fishing license.

    A license can have more than one public purpose, but its public purpose is not defined by your private purpose for obtaining it.

    For example, if you take a license plate off your car and put it on your boat, its still a license plate for a car.

    The public purpose remains unchanged by private purposes or personal intentions.

  18. Spunky...
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 1:15 am | Permalink

    @ bman

    By stating the public purpose of fishing licenses (the regulation of catching fish), you have correctly identified the public purpose of fishing licenses as far as I understand them. But your earlier ascribed purpose of "catching fish" was not necessarily true because "catching fish" is a private purpose and not a public one. Therefore, I stand by my original statement that fishing licenses are not necessarily for "catching fish." It seems you agree.

    Your analogy does hold in the sense that there is a public purpose to catching fish and a single public purpose to issuing marriage licenses (again, I dispute the latter, but let's assume it for now). The new problem now is that I'm not sure how it applies to gay couples reproducing. I know you say "[gay couples] are rejected because same sex couples do not have a rational right to sexually reproduce," but I have no idea what this means. Would you mind explaining the meaning of "rational right"? This will also make clear what it is you believe the public purpose of marriage to be.

  19. Spunky...
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 1:16 am | Permalink

    @ bman

    By stating the public purpose of fishing licenses (the regulation of catching fish), you have correctly identified the public purpose of fishing licenses as far as I understand them. But your earlier ascribed purpose of "catching fish" was not necessarily true because "catching fish" is a private purpose and not a public one. Therefore, I stand by my original statement that fishing licenses are not necessarily for "catching fish." It seems you agree.

  20. Spunky...
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 1:16 am | Permalink
      @ bman (part 2)

      Your analogy does hold in the sense that there is a public purpose to catching fish and a single public purpose to issuing marriage licenses (again, I dispute the latter, but let's assume it for now). The new problem now is that I'm not sure how it applies to gay couples reproducing. I know you say "[gay couples] are rejected because same sex couples do not have a rational right to sexually reproduce," but I have no idea what this means. Would you mind explaining the meaning of "rational right"? This will also make clear what it is you believe the public purpose of marriage to be.

  21. Spunky...
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 1:17 am | Permalink

    Your analogy does hold in the sense that there is a public purpose to catching fish and a single public purpose to issuing marriage licenses (again, I dispute the latter, but let's assume it for now). The new problem now is that I'm not sure how it applies to gay couples reproducing. I know you say "[gay couples] are rejected because same sex couples do not have a rational right to sexually reproduce," but I have no idea what this means. Would you mind explaining the meaning of "rational right"?

  22. Spunky...
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    I am not sure how it applies to gay couples reproducing. I know you say "[gay couples] are rejected because same sex couples do not have a rational right to sexually reproduce," but I have no idea what this means. Would you mind explaining the meaning of "rational right"? This will also make clear what it is you believe the public purpose of marriage to be.

  23. Chairm
    Posted December 4, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Permalink

    bman, it is an apt analogy.

    Fishing licenses are for fishing, not for, say, hunting bears in the zoo.

    Marriage licenses are for marriage, not for non-marriage. No one-sexed scenario is marital, as the logic offered by SSMers has demonstrated time and again.