Gov­ern­ment in­volve­ment in mar­riage vi­o­lates rights

Un­der­stand­ing Lib­erty

Serve Daily - - NEWS - Casey Beres

Given two re­cent court rul­ings con­cern­ing mar­riage in Utah, both declar­ing Utah mar­riage bans un­con­sti­tu­tional, I wish to dis­cuss the prob­lems of hav­ing gov­ern­ment in­volved in mar­riage.

The prob­lem with gov­ern­ment in­volve­ment in the mar­riage process is that it al­lows gov­ern­ment to vi­o­late a plethora of our rights as in­di­vid­u­als, or­ga­ni­za­tions and busi­nesses. Among those vi­o­lated is our right of as­so­ci­a­tion, our con­trac­tual rights, our right of con­science/re­li­gious rights - es­pe­cially our First Amend­ment re­li­gious rights - and our right to con­trol our hon­estly ac­quired prop­erty, in­clud­ing busi­nesses. I will high­light how our re­li­gious rights and our prop­erty rights are vi­o­lated when gov­ern­ment is in­volved in mar­riage in the afore­men­tioned ways.

Al­low­ing gov­ern­ment to de­cide what is and is not an “of­fi­cially rec­og­nized” mar­riage, or al­low­ing gov­ern­ment to de­fine “mar­riage,” is in ef­fect giv­ing the state the power to make laws re­spect­ing an es­tab­lish­ment of re­li­gion, which is con­sti­tu­tion­ally pro­hib­ited. Here’s how it breaks down: Mar­riage has al­ways been a re­li­gious in­sti­tu­tion first and fore­most and has only in­volved the civil power in coun­tries that have state re­li­gions or in coun­tries that have sep­a­ra­tion of church and state but have sought to for­bid mar­riages be­tween cer­tain in­di­vid­u­als, mostly upon un­just dis­crim­i­na­tory grounds. Today, there still re­mains a firm foun­da­tion of re­li­gion in the mar­riage equa­tion. In the eyes of the LDS re­li­gion, mar­riage pre­dates hu­man gov­ern­ment and is solely a thing be­tween the mar­ried man and woman and God. Mor­mons be­lieve any mar­riage not or­dained of God and per­formed in His way will not be bind­ing in the af­ter­life, no mat­ter how many hu­man gov­ern­ments sanc­tion it. Re­li­gion is still a part of the mar­riage is­sue. Upon re­li­gious mat­ters, gov­ern­ment may not speak nor act. But when gov­ern­ment can de­cide who may and may not “marry” by re­quir­ing of­fi­cial gov­ern­ment sanc­tion of mar­riage via re­quired gov­ern­ment “mar­riage li­censes,” gov­ern­ment is in ef­fect given power to de­fine what is and what is not an of­fi­cial “mar­riage,” re­li­giously, which means they are dic­tat­ing by law a re­li­gious be­lief, telling re­li­gions and re­li­gious in­di­vid­u­als what they must ac­cept and not ac­cept and be­lieve re­li­giously as per­tain­ing to “mar­riage.”

When gov­ern­ment says “mar­riage is A” but a cer­tain re­li­gion says, “To us, mar­riage is only B,” gov­ern­ment is in ef­fect say­ing to that re­li­gion that they must be­lieve mar­riage to be ei­ther BOTH A and B, or ONLY A if gov­ern­ment has banned “mar­riage B.” Such laws re­spect the es­tab­lish­ment of re­li­gion, cre­at­ing the scaf­fold­ing for a state re­li­gion in es­tab­lish­ing state re­li­gious tenets for ev­ery­one to be­lieve. We’ve started to see those gov­ern­ment re­li­gious tenets forced upon in­di­vid­u­als con­trary to their own re­li­gious be­liefs in both Colorado and New Mex­ico.

Gov­ern­ment in­volve­ment in mar­riage also gives the state the power to pro­hibit peo­ple and re­li­gious groups from prac­tic­ing their re­li­gion freely, mean­ing some are for­bid­den from “mar­ry­ing” in­di­vid­u­als ac­cord­ing to their re­li­gious be­liefs and/or hav­ing their con­trac­tual re­la­tion­ship rec­og­nized by the state as an of­fi­cial con­tract be­cause it doesn’t meet the gov­ern­ment def­i­ni­tion of a “mar­riage.” Gov­ern­ment even crim­i­nally pe­nal­izes those that prac­tice their re­li­gious def­i­ni­tion of “mar­riage” even when no one’s rights are vi­o­lated sim­ply be­cause it goes against gov­ern­ment’s def­i­ni­tion of “mar­riage.”

Gov­ern­ment in­volve­ment in mar­riage also de­stroys one’s right to con­trol his prop­erty, in­clud­ing busi­ness, via anti-dis- crim­i­na­tion laws that ex­tend to pri­vate busi­nesses. These anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion laws pre­vent busi­ness own­ers from dis­crim­i­nat­ing against cer­tain classes of peo­ple deemed “pro­tected” by gov­ern­ment, both in the hir­ing and fir­ing process and in ser­vice to­ward cus­tomers while al­low­ing other forms of dis­crim­i­na­tion. These laws were born out of the 20th cen­tury civil rights move­ment, the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Supreme Court case Heart of At­lanta Mo­tel vs. United States, which had good in­ten­tions in erad­i­cat­ing gov­ern­ment dis­crim­i­na­tion yet harmed prop­erty rights in ex­tend­ing to pri­vate prop­erty own­ers too.

What sup­port­ers of these laws are in ef­fect claim­ing is that they have a right ei­ther to the ser­vice of the owner or his busi­ness’s goods, which are both his prop­erty and his alone. One of course has a right to the owner’s goods/ser­vices if he has formed a vol­un­tary con­tract with the owner and pro­vides com­pen­sa­tion for the goods/ser­vice, but he has no right to a con­tract with the owner against the owner’s con­sent, re­gard­less of the rea­son, nor has he the right to force the owner into a con­tract via law. This is what cur­rent anti-dis­crim­i­na­tion laws do to pri­vate busi­nesses. If gov­ern­ment can step in and dic­tate to the owner of the busi­ness, which is his prop­erty and his alone (in the­ory at least), how he must con­trol his prop­erty, in­clud­ing to whom he must en­ter into busi­ness con­tracts with, no mat­ter the rea­son, it can­not be said that he truly owns and con­trols the prop­erty. In such a sit­u­a­tion, the gov­ern­ment has forced its way into his busi­ness as a dic­ta­to­rial part­ner with­out the owner’s con­sent. Such is our sit­u­a­tion in Amer­ica. We have no true pri­vate prop­erty; we only have quasi-so­cial­ized prop­erty in Amer­ica, joint own­er­ship be­tween pri­vate in­di­vid­u­als/groups and gov­ern­ment.

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