DOMA and Prop 8 - What's Next?
With the recent repeal of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) and California's Prop 8 (elimination of same-sex couples right to marry) there has been a lot of celebration among the LGBT community, libertarians, and other groups and persons who consider individuals' inalienable rights of self-determination, expression, and equal protection derived from nature and the United States Constitution cannot be abridged.
Even before the celebrations died down questions are starting to being asked about what comes next in the fight for equality among LGBTIQ individuals and all individuals under the law.
From a Libertarian point of view marriage should never have been institutionalized by government in the first place. The following excerpt is from the latest amended Libertarian Party of California Platform (April 7, 2013)
13. Marriage We support the rights of individuals to form private relationships as they see fit, either by contract or by mutual agreement. We regard marriage as one such private relationship. The State of California should not dictate, prohibit, control, or encourage any such private relationship. To implement this principle, we advocate:
A. The repeal of all marriage and marriage dissolution laws and their replacement by contracts where desired by the parties.
B. Property not specified as "community property" not being presumed as such.
C. The repeal of all alimony laws.
D. The recognition in law of marriage contracts as an addition to, or replacement for, marriage and marriage dissolution laws.
E. The right of all consenting adults to form marriage contracts without regard to gender, sexual preference, degree of consanguinity, or number of parties to said contracts.
F. Until such time as the state of California ends its involvement in marriage, we call upon the state to issue marriage licenses to any adults without regard to gender
Government required sanction of marriage and establishing special benefits and rights for those married in of itself is a form of discrimination. It creates a separate class of people enabled with privileges and benefits denied to those who do not want their interpersonal and private relationships defined by a "one size fits all" definition.
The responsibilities between two individuals can be codified in an enforceable contract determined by themselves, perhaps with the consultation of a lawyer or other qualified professional. Let's not even get into the pitfalls of government licensing of professions and trades.
Originally our government and society became involved in marriage to proactively encourage pre-defined family structures for marginalizing of inter-racial relationships, growing the population, and assuring children for their military, farms, and factories through subsidization via the tax code and other benefits. The ultimate benefit came to governments and religious entities to also maintain their hierarchical control of their citizens and members.
I will not argue that it is possible in the past many of these controls and persuasions might have been necessary in an unenlightened and under educated society to maintain some control of natures chaos. Nor will I argue that we, as individuals, are all enlightened, thinking, and rational.
However I will maintain that we have progressed to a point where, as individuals, we are capable of creating agreements outside a class instituted in one part to maintain a societal norm.
Understanding that all that has been done cannot be undone overnight and that what sometimes appear to be major jumps in the advancement of human growth are many times fraught with the labor of many to make small incremental steps such as brought the repeal of DOMA and Proposition 8 it is my belief that the course is clear.
- Continue to support efforts to allow all individuals in all States to marry the person of their choice.
- Advocate for the ultimate removal of government definition and participation in marriage.
- Advocate for children's rights instead of parents' rights.