Getting Rand-y, A Discussion On Marriage

Marriage is what brings us together today…. or,
rather, what keeps us apart from a good number of votes- at least
according to Rand Paul. I’m inclined to believe him.

In a recent interview with NRO, Rand characterized his position on Marriage as thus:

“I’m an old-fashioned traditionalist. I believe in
the historic and religious definition of marriage,” “That being said,
I’m not for eliminating contracts between adults. I think there are ways
to make the tax code more neutral, so it doesn’t mention marriage. Then
we don’t have to redefine what marriage is; we just don’t have marriage
in the tax code.”


Full disclosure here, I support Rand’s goal of getting Government out
of the marriage business. In fact, I’ve gotten into the weeds on this
issue more times than I care to count, and have even managed to change
some minds on it.  However, as with most good ideas, there are also
some serious pitfalls; pitfalls so deep and pointy, that I have
secretly been dreading writing this article, knowing I’d eventually have
to write it. Regardless, the time has come, so let’s get into it…

What Is Marriage?

To get to the crux of this debate, we have to think about some of the
different definitions of marriage.  To many religions, marriage is
not just an agreement between a man and a women, it is a sacred rite
where two people become inextricably linked to one another through God.
To people like me, marriage is a contract between two consenting adults
existing as a form of protection against affairs as well as to gain
access to “marital benefits” like shared medical plans, and to
facilitate raising children as a team.  Other cultures have broader
definitions of marriage, including some that condone polygyny, polygamy
and underage marriage; those are where we get into some sticky
situations. We’ll talk about that that in a bit.

Contractual Situations

One of my favorite parts of the “marriage as a contract” plan, is
that, in addition to not affecting religious ceremonies at all, it also
acts as a sort of super-customizable prenuptial agreement, creating
terms as strict or as lax as desired, even to the point of superseding
current law. This is extremely helpful, in my opinion, in cases where
one of the two contractually obligated parties decides to desert the
other or commit some other offense, effectively protecting the marital
bond much more than is currently done.  Going back to the religious
side of things, it’s actually incorrect of me to say to this change
would have no impact on religious ceremonies. In actuality, this shift
has the potential to bolster religion’s powers in marriage through
specialized contracts authorized by whatever church you want to be
married through. Having those kinds of pre-made contracts could very
well make the process of getting married through a church more
streamlined than needing to get a lawyer to draw up your marriage
contract, possibly creating more of an incentive to choose a church in
the process.


So, now to get to the weird outlier part of the show, where I try to
quell the cries of “But this allows polygamy and pedophilia!” that
always show up during this discussion. First off, pedophilia isn’t going
to become legal under this situation because entering to such contracts
as these would hinge on both parties being consenting adults, and, last
time I checked, that’s not what pedophiles are into. Secondly, while I
don’t think you’d see too many instances crop up, polygamy would have a
shot at being legalized….Until the 10th amendment kicks in
and the state decides to limit its protection of “marriage contracts”
down to only cover those with two parties, and in some states, possibly
only those between a man and a woman. That means legal action, voting,
court cases, etc. Free Association will probably come into play and the
whole thing might even go before the Supreme Court, but it would also
put a lot more pressure on the Dems than it would on us. Regardless of
any Mormon jokes, polyamory and polygamy are decidedly liberal issues,
ones I’d like to see them try to argue.

Marriage Is Good, Why Are You Messing With It?!?

While I agree that marriage is, as a concept, good, I think that
letting the Federal Government use it as a) a political football and b)
another way to extract money from taxpayers, aren’t good reasons to let
them hold on to THEIR ability to mess with it. Making this a State’s
rights issue would also allow a State to incentivize or diminish the
benefits of marriage on a much smaller level, while also giving an
additional reason to get people into politics as this IS something
people care about. Smaller government with increased participation, a
broadened republican base AND taking a monkey off of our backs? Sounds
pretty good to me.

In closing, I hope this article has helped to ease some concerns
about the idea of changing the way we approach marriage at the federal
level here in the States, and given you some fodder to use in
discussions about this regardless of what side of the issue you come
down on. I think Rand has a plan on how to make the Left look dumb on
this, and given his track record, I think the odds are good it succeeds,
we just need to continue discussing the issues from a smaller
government perspective and things should go our way.

Cya at CPAC (Tomorrow!!!!!)