This post was written by Jack Detiveaux, a senior student at Houston Christian. Jack was a student in my AP US History course during his junior year, and is currently a senior enrolled in my AP US Government & Politics course. Jack will most likely be attending some New England university next fall. This blog post emerged from a class discussion regarding the extent to which government should regulate marriage. Jack, being a Libertarian, presented an interesting argument during one of our class discussions. I must state that I too agree with the notion that marriage should go unregulated except for contractual elements.
When looking at the issue of marriage inequality in the United States, it seems clear that under the Civil Rights Act, there is no basis for any legislation prohibiting homosexual marriage. As a conservative libertarian and Christian, even I realize this and understand that in the current system of marriage legislation, marriage equality is a must. However, the current system of marriage legislation by way of state-by-state regulation is completely unjustified upon closer inspection. Marriage is a cultural institution for which the only real justification provided for governmental recognition is taxation and census taking. To assert that it should be regulated violates the separation of church and state. This changes the question from ‘should marriage equality exist under the government?’ to ‘should marriage recognition (hetero- or homosexual) exist under the government’. The answer to the latter question is a firm no. However, one cannot honestly go about thinking that the idea of the unification of two individuals can or should be abolished, even in the eyes of the government. The answer to this lies within the system that many states have been passing off as a weak form of ‘marriage equality’ for years: Civil Unions.
When looking at marriage as an institution and its relationship to the government, one realizes a couple things. To start, it is rooted very strongly in religious precedent. The concept of marriage itself implies a spiritual union rather than just the physical. On this basis alone, the regulation of marriage should be deemed unconstitutional as a clear violation of church and state. However another thing one might realize is that the crimes of a marriage are not punishable in the United States. For instance, adultery is not illegal by any means although it clearly violates the implied cultural laws of a marriage. The enforcement of marriage should mean the enforcement of marriage laws but since one doesn’t exist, neither should the other. Lastly, one can see that the only real reason for recognizing the unity of two individuals in the government is for tax and census reasons, which is certainly not reason to violate church and state separation. Taking all of this into account, one really must ask the question of what is constitutional.
The answer to this lies within the Civil Union. Under ideal legislation, a civil union would only be used to identify those who are living together and are eligible for joint taxes as well as for census purposes. The key here however is that this would be the governmental representation of couples both hetero- and homosexual and each “couple” would be treated exactly the same under the law. From here, couples could be ‘married’ under whatever cultural institution they choose whether it be the Christian church or otherwise without government intervention or licensing. As far as this writer is concerned, this should eliminate all problems caused by marriage inequality today. Union-equality would be achieved. Theists shouldn’t be angry as the only true validation of a marriage they need is through their God. No more confusion regarding the definition of marriage. No more violation of church and state law. The civil union based society is truly the most constitutional answer to the current situation regarding marriage inequality.