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Libertarian shows why privatizing marriage is a bad idea

Bryan Fischer



The last place you’d expect to find a strong argument on behalf of government’s involvement in marriage is from a libertarian. But that’s exactly what we find in a piece written by Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia.

Rand Paul and other libertarian-ish folks have argued that the state should get out of the marriage business, as have uberleftists such as Naomi Wolf. A number of Christians agree, arguing that marriage ought to become an exclusively religious institution with no state licensing whatsoever.

As Dalmia puts it, this theory is that marriage should be left “to churches and temples, regardless of how these institutions define marriage, and let consenting adults of all sexual proclivities write their own civil union contracts.”

While the idea sounds attractive in theory, Dalmia points out the numerous problems with this approach. One quite pragmatic problem is that this approach is guaranteed to INCREASE the involvement of the state in domestic affairs, not reduce it.

The state would still have to register these private partnerships or marriages, or whatever they would be called, for them to have any legal validity, just as the state does with entirely private transactions regarding property purchases and titles and deeds. Thus government would still have to set the standards for what would count “as a legitimate marriage ‘deed.’”

The state could not simply accept any “marriage” created by any private party, whether by a church or by individuals. For instance, what if a group of polygamists turn in a marriage “deed” involving one husband and six wives? Or what about a yogi who performs “a group wedding uniting 19 people?”

Or what about “a church wedding…between a consenting mother and her adult son,” hardly an outlandish proposition any longer with the leftward drift of mainline denominations. No, the state would be obligated to set some kind of parameters around the kind of unions it is willing to recognize. The bottom line here is that it is impossible to get the state out of the marriage business.

The only way to do it would be to turn the matter entirely over to religious communities. So the Mormons would set their own rules, possible governed by historic LDS teaching and practice regarding multiple marriages, and the Muslims would have their own, likewise involving polygamy and divorce procedures.

In practice, allowing Muslims to set their own rules would mean that a wife could be left penniless and out in the cold anytime her husband decided to say to her “I divorce you” three times. She would have no legal recourse and no legal protection whatsoever. This hardly represents an advance for marriage and the rights of women.

And if someone decided he didn’t want to go the religious route at all, he wouldn’t be able to go to a justice of the peace, because the whole idea is the complete separation of state and marriage.

According to Dalmia, even libertarians recognize that marriage, just like private property, is a “pre-political right” that government “doesn’t grant, it guarantees.” As Christians, we entirely agree with the sentiment that marriage is “pre-political.” It was designed and defined by God at the dawn of time as the union of one man and one woman. The writer’s point is that you can’t free marriage from government any more than you can abolish property rights hoping to free them from government authority.

It is the state’s sanction of marriage that protects the right of a married couple to keep and raise their own children, which means neither the state nor disaffected in-laws can simply take their children away because they don’t like the way they are being raised. The state’s sanction of marriage protects the right to make medical decisions for a sick spouse, inheritance rights, and parental rights in case one of the parents dies.

Privatizing marriage, as Dalmia points out, would create utter havoc in the case of divorce. Says one libertarian writer, “[You’d] get a deluge of claims and counterclaims about child custody and paternity, as parents fought either to establish or relinquish custody without any clear advance guidance from the government about how they will be treated. It is hard to imagine the state being more in a private family’s business than this.” The state would be dragged right into the middle of domestic affairs whether it wanted to be there or not.

No, it is not possible to get the state out of the marriage licensing business. That alternative would be bad for adults (think of the Muslim wife) and absolutely horrible for children.

The Bible has had it right all along. Marriage is the union of one man and one woman, and the state has a proper role as a “servant of God” (Romans 13:4) to recognize and protect the institution of God-ordained marriage using the authority that God himself has delegated to it. As Peter says, the proper role of government is to “praise those who do good” (1 Peter 2:14).

Privatizing marriage is a bad idea, for adults (think of the precarious position of the Muslim wife) and fraught with risk for children. Life is unstable enough for modern children without removing the protections that God has designed the state to provide. If hard-core libertarians can recognize the fatal problems with the privatizing of marriage, Bible-believing Christians ought to be able to recognize them too.

The task before us is not to remove civil government from marriage altogether, which is impossible as well as unscriptural, but to redouble our efforts to undo the damage the Supreme Court has done and to restore the proper definition of marriage, both culturally and legally. Let’s get to work.

Bryan Fischer is a senior columnist for Cowger Nation, and the radio host of Focal Point, where he provides expertise on a wide range of public policy topics.

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  1. John Mills

    July 22, 2015 6:45 pm at 6:45 pm

    “The state would still have to register these private partnerships or marriages, or whatever they would be called, for them to have any legal validity, just as the state does with entirely private transactions regarding property purchases and titles and deeds.”

    Actually, the state doesn’t register deeds to make them valid. Unrecorded Deeds still have validity, but unrecorded deeds generally create an inferior right to property as against a recorded deed. The whole idea of recording deeds was to alter the common law principle of “first in time, first in right” so that it became a “first recorded, first in right” principle. But, even that change in principle could be altered with the simple expedient of a private registration process. Certainly nothing about deeds requires state involvement except, of course, to resolve disputes about property rights.

    In all events, most people don’t buy and sell titles to property per se, they buy and sell title insurance. That means, if your title is defective, you may lose the property, but you get your damage compensated by the title insurance company.

    “It is the state’s sanction of marriage that protects the right of a married couple to keep and raise their own children.” That too is inaccurate, and most people raise children without any state involvement at all. Moreover, your children can be snatched up by others – it’s just called “kidnapping,” or children can be taken by the state’s child protective services. Most generally, and certainly most commonly, children are raised by parents, step-parents, or non-parents by general consent without any state knowledge of who is raising the children. All the state does is to step in and settle disputes – if any arise.

    The state would have to decide disputes involving contracts for plural marriage, or for other non-conforming marriage contracts, but it already does that with the general proviso that such contracts are void as against public policy unless they involve (well used to be) one man-one woman, but now unless they involve only two people. These contract disputes are decided case-by-case and if the state got out of the business of licensing marriages before they happen, that would really do nothing to affect the state’s involvement in deciding issues brought by people who disputed the significance of their private marital contracts.

    The state doesn’t even have to resolve disputes about marital contracts, but then that’s a decision to leave such disputes to “alternative dispute resolution” – a process that sometimes involves guns and premature death, which is sort of a bad public policy. Accordingly, the state almost certainly will have to resolve disputes . . . as it resolves disputes in all other kinds of contract cases and other forms of civill disputes.

  2. Ash

    October 15, 2015 9:52 pm at 9:52 pm

    Register means owned by the Crown. Why would anyone do that? Under stand means stand under.

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THE MOST STUPID THING IN SPORTS/ATHLETICS TODAY: Transgender-women vs. actual women.

Jimmy Zulz



I think that women are starting to react and push back a bit. Finally. This is easily the most stupid thing in sports, and it boggles my mind that the people running these events haven’t put a stop to it already. And that thing is: transgender women are competing with God-made women.

I will guarantee you that there are going to be some male athletes (not all and probably not most), who are unable to compete and win in male competition, so they think hey, this is a great way to be more successful in (fill in the blank).  So, they go through the surgeries and whatever is necessary to compete as a woman and… voila! Now, they are up at the top in competition.

I heard a possibly transitioning-man on sports talk radio (I’m sorry they’re even talking about this) call in and he said, “If the man is going to go through the hardship and painful surgery to become a woman, women in that sport are just going to have to suck it up and realize she’s every bit as much a woman as they all are.”

And that’s the problem: he-now-she is much more than the God-made women in that sport, so he-now-she has an enormous advantage. Strength and ability will likely be more than most women can compete with. It’s absolute bull-crap.

The fact that some women athletes are speaking up is why they were talking about it on the radio. At some point, these God-made women are going to have to DEMAND that trans-she-males will have to have their own division, because putting men in competition with women is flat out unfair. I can’t imagine why this wasn’t done immediately.

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MAKING KIDS GAY? Disney to begin indoctrinating and exposing children to homosexuality.

Caiden Cowger



Tonight, Disney Channel is airing an episode of Andi Mack, featuring its “first gay coming-out story.” This episode will mark the primer of the show’s second season, and is directed at children ages 10 and up.

Andi’s friend Cyrus Goodman (played by Joshua Rush) will begin his coming-out journey as a homosexual. Disney is using a 15-year-old boy, Joshua Rush, as an instrument to promote the homosexual lifestyle, while also exposing Rush to homosexual behavior in the process. Disney Channel is actively participating in the corruption of a minor.

It is expected that this plot-line could potentially lead to underage, teenage boys participating in same-sex kissing. This perversion will broadcast to millions of teenagers and children across America, exposing them to homosexual behavior. Such programming can cause confusion in minors, leading them to question their sexual preference, starting at the young age of just 10 years old.

“‘Andi Mack’ is a story about ‘tweens’ figuring out who they are,” Disney Channel expressed in a statement earlier this week. “Everyone involved in the show takes great care in ensuring that it’s appropriate for all audiences and sends a powerful message about inclusion and respect for humanity.”

The story line also gained praise from the GLAAD LGBT advocacy organization.

“With more and more young people coming out as LGBTQ, Andi Mack is reflecting the lives and lived experiences of so many LGBTQ youth around the country,” the organization’s president and CEO, Sarah Kate Ellis, released in a statement. “Television reflects the real life world and today that includes LGBTQ youth who deserve to see their lives depicted on their favorite shows. Disney has been a leader in LGBTQ inclusion and there are so many young people who will be excited to see Cyrus’ story unfold.”

The first episode airs October 27, 2017, at 8:00p | ET.

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George Lujack



On October 11, 2017, the Boy Scouts of America’s board of directors unanimously agreed to allow girls to join the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, giving girls the opportunity to earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.

“I’m saying that the Boy Scouts have a standard. You must be a biological boy to be a Boy Scout. You have to be a boy to be a Boy Scout.”

“Where is that written though?”

“In the name, ‘Boy’ Scouts.”
– Ben Shapiro

Not anymore, Ben. This is 2017 and this is the new progressive Boy Scouts of America, who announced that they will begin to allow girls to join their ranks.

What Ben Shapiro said however, is nonetheless true, “You must be a biological boy to be a Boy Scout. You have to be a boy to be a Boy Scout.” If the ‘Boy’ Scouts do not change the name of their organization to “The Scouts,” or something similar, the organization will be taking a stand in the cultural war on the side of liberal progressives over the issue of gender neutrality. Any girl who states, “I am a ‘Boy’ Scout,” will be unwittingly stating that she is a boy, even if she is a genuine scout, the type of girl who likes the scouting activities that the Boy Scouts provide and are involved in.

Although the Boy Scouts’ board of directors voted to allow girls to join their ranks, they were within their First Amendment Constitutionally protected right of freedom of association to deny them entry.

The Girl Scouts of America could wind up being a casualty of the Boy Scouts’ decision to recruit girls into their membership rolls. Back in August, the head of the Girl Scouts accused the Boy Scouts organization of a “covert campaign to recruit girls,” as a way to boost declining membership. If girls across America decide to join the Boy Scouts, en masse, it could mean the end of the Girl Scouts as a viable organization.

Other than the issue of a girl calling herself a “‘Boy’ Scout,” conservatives should not be overly concerned with co-ed scouting. Boys and girls have enjoyed a long history of sharing summer camp activities together in America, without becoming gender neutral. Boys will still be boys and girls will still be girls (most of the time).

“Girls will be boys and boys will be girls it’s a mixed up muddled up shook up world…”
– The Kinks, “Lola

However, the gender-neutral minded cultural elites would like to redefine the gender roles of boys and girls in society and confuse the gender identity of boys and girls, when possible, which is the real issue that is rightfully alarming to most Americans. Progressives have long sought to corrupt and neuter the Boy Scouts through social engineering, as they have likewise done in other institutions, and have now succeeded in doing so.

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