Kinsley on marriage and the state

Michael Kinsley agrees with what I've seen is a growing viewpoint in the blogosphere - that the debate about gay marriage should not be about gay vs. straight, but rather about society vs. state. [via Unqualified Offerings]

That solution is to end the institution of marriage. Or rather (he hastens to clarify, Dear) the solution is to end the institution of government-sanctioned marriage. Or, framed to appeal to conservatives: End the government monopoly on marriage. Wait, I've got it: Privatize marriage. These slogans all mean the same thing. Let churches and other religious institutions continue to offer marriage ceremonies. Let department stores and casinos get into the act if they want. Let each organization decide for itself what kinds of couples it wants to offer marriage to. Let couples celebrate their union in any way they choose and consider themselves married whenever they want. Let others be free to consider them not married, under rules these others may prefer. And, yes, if three people want to get married, or one person wants to marry herself, and someone else wants to conduct a ceremony and declare them married, let 'em. If you and your government aren't implicated, what do you care?

I wish he would extend this argument to other issues like school prayer and medicare coverage.

Share this

I agree the govt should stop

I agree the govt should stop enforcing broad rules concerning marriage. Basically, I think the govt should only maintain a database of who is married to whom, regardless of ceremony (i.e. church, Elvis)

the database would basically serve as a means to let insurance companies verify spouses for benefits and help administer legal battles for inheritance/custody/etc.

the database would basically

the database would basically serve as a means to let insurance companies verify spouses for benefits and help administer legal battles for inheritance/custody/etc.

Why can't insurance companies do this themselves?

And what if a married couple doesn't sign up for the database?

Gee, and I had to work it

Gee, and I had to work it out for myself! Actually, I had some help from my wife, and we wouldn't really have been happy unless we had figured it out ourselves.