An Argument About Marriage
An Argument About Marriage
Recently the topic of gay marriage has been flared up again. This came after Vice President Biden gave his own personal views on the subject, which then served as motivation for President Obama to give his own personal views on the subject, which then caused everyone to freak out. This topic coming up again has served as an inspiration for many bloggers, opinionists, pundits, politicians, and many other kids of non-influential people to give their opinion on the subject. I am among them.
In listening and reading to the various arguments for or against gay marriage, I did not hear one that fell in line with my views. These are views that I have not just about gay marriage, but also about marriage in general. That argument is what follows.
As it currently stands in America, marriage is a part of religion. Many will give a long historical account of how it isn't, however that seeks to reeducate people about a concept that they have been aware of for their entire lives. As long as I, my parents, and my grandparents have been alive, marriage has been a religious institution. The tradition is that if you get married you get married in a place and in a way that has a religious connection to it. If you do not follow this tradition, you are generally looked down upon socially, even if that is not openly expressed. The fact is this: As we currently perceive marriage, marriage and religion are one.
When the controversy about the Obamacare Birth Control Mandate came up, the interaction between religion and government was brought up. Part of the argument against the mandate was made by Tim Dolan. Tim Dolan currently serves as the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. On an appearance on CBS This Morning, Bishop Dolan said the following:
DOLAN: ...[W]e just have to stick with principle here, and we're just- what we're very reluctant to do- and what I think wise voices are saying- is we can't have a government bureaucracy invading the privacy and the independence and autonomy and the integrity that our Constitution gives to religion.
While many disagree with the viewpoint Bishop Dolan has on birth control, the point that he makes about the interaction between government and religion is sound. Why should the government be invading the religious beliefs of any person? Why should the government be allowed to interpret what another person's religious beliefs are?
Imagine that you are in a house. You can move anywhere and in any way that you want, but you cannot move in a way that takes you out of that house. The very fact that there is a house, with walls a roof and presumably a front door, restricts your freedom to move. You may never move in a way that causes you to bump up against those restrictions, or want to move in a way that causes you to bump up against those restrictions, but the very fact that those restrictions are there restricts your freedom to move.
This can be applied to marriage. The government has rules about marriage. You can move in any way you wish to move within those rules of marriage. Sure, those rules may be something that you are comfortable with. Sure, those rules may be something that you may never challenge. Sure, those rules may fall within your religious beliefs, but those rules exist. Those rules exist and act upon an institution that is fundamental to your religion. Those rules pertaining to marriage restrict your religious liberty. Even if you never challenge those rules, those rules prevent you from expressing your religion in the way that you feel is right. Those rules mandate that you express your religion in a way that the government interprets as correct.
Why should the government be in a position where it has a viewpoint on religion? If marriage is suck an important part of a person's religious life, why should the government be allowed to place rules upon how that part of a person's life is lived? If we truly believe in religious liberty, shouldn't the government have no opinion on the institution of marriage?
My basic argument is this: As long as you are a free thinking adult, the government should have no opinion on who you marry. The only interaction that any government in America should have with marriage is to record the details of that marriage into the public record. That's it. This is not an argument for gay marriage. This is an argument against the government having a viewpoint on marriage. Unless the people involved are unable to make decisions for themselves, the government should not care is anybody wants to get married to anybody.