Monday, July 11, 2011

New York's Same Sex Marriage Law and Libertarians

by guest blogger Andrew Roman


As the State of New York officially starts recognizing same-sex marriage - and as libertarians and liberals alike continued to sing the praises of the triumphs of liberty - I remain befuddled.

My general opposition to same-sex marriage aside, I cannot help but be puzzled at libertarian support for the redefinition of marriage as it came to pass here in New York.

A few weeks ago, the Mercatus Center - a libertarian think tank at George Mason University – ranked the state of New York dead last in its “Freedom in the 50 States” index. The authors of the report even used the phrase “by far” to show how deep into the cellar the once most-populous state in the nation has descended.

Its contentions were based principally on the Empire State’s sickening levels of taxation.

That higher taxes always mean increased levels of government spending cannot logically be disputed by anyone who claims to be on a first-name basis with their own brains. More government spending - and by natural extension, increased intrusion and control - definitionally means more government.


How can one deny it?

It's like denying the dampness of water, the uselessness of Keanu Reeves as an actor, or, if you're a liberal, the certainty that the planet is teetering on disaster because of man-induced climate change.

As talk-show host and author Dennis Prager often says, the bigger the government, the smaller the individual.

Indeed, bigger government means less liberty. Again, by definition. (I needn't explain this to conservatives or libertarians). It simply isn't possible for an ever-more intrusive, powerful governing body to spawn more freedom.

How would that work exactly? What model is there to base that fantasy on?

Among other qualifiers to New York’s dubious distinction is the fact that the state has "the strictest health-insurance community-rating regulations in the country.” New York is also an anti-smoking zealot’s Xanadu. The strictest tobacco laws anywhere exist in New York. (That tobacco use has not been found to be an outright act of violence here is still perplexing). Mix in such acts of nanny-statism as mandating what oils restaurants can cook with, barely constitutional anti-gun laws, painfully excessive home schooling regulations, usurping the will of the people on term limits, banning smoking in privately owned bars and public parks, ridiculously stringent motor vehicle laws, rampant "Eminent domain abuse," and the almost obsessive war on salt by the likes of Michael “New-York-City-Welcomes-All-Illegals-To-Come-And-Stay” Bloomberg, and you’ve got a recipe for an ever-growing soft tyranny, a phrase that talk show host Mark Levin has popularized (quite accurately).

Yes, there is a totalitarian tendency in modern liberalism.

To the left, government knows best how to spend your money, feed you, teach you, medicate you, make health decisions for you, and so on. It’s the leftist's impulse to exert more influence in the everyday lives of its citizenry, because, according to them, they know best. That totalitarian inclination instinctively feeds the human being’s native longing for power and control, and helps to exemplify his inherent inability to know when to curtail that power when given more of it.

The term slippery slope comes to mind.

In other words, people just don't know when to stop.

That's why we create laws.

When this report was released last month, co-author Jason Sorens, a University of Buffalo political-science professor, offered an opinion as to how the State of New York could begin the process of healing its freedom-stifling wounds.

Legalize same-sex marriage.

Said Sorens, “"The most liberal state in the country can surely find the political will to legalize same-sex partnerships of some kind," he said.

The passage of same-sex marriage here in New York continues to be touted as a win for not only supporters of redefining a millenia-old institution but of teeny-tiny-government libertarian types who equate allowing more people to get hitched with less government control.

Hail freedom!  Get out of our lives, you big ol' Government, you!

But this thinking is misguided and hardly libertarian.

New York's sanctioning of same-sex marriage has actually served as an expansion of the government's reach - something that is supposed to be an anethma to a libertarian. With the redefinition of marriage, government is now more involved in our lives.

And yet another powerful lobby has successfully buried its hooks into the soft, fleshy matter of the statehouse.

Where exactly do New York's elected representatives summon the arrogance to believe they can redefine the basic institution of society? What makes them competent enough to do so? Simply because they're elected? Because they say so? Because they want to? Because they feel like it? Beacuse someone has to? Because their collective wisdom exceeds all of the history of humanity that preceded them? Because a given special interest group knows how to bang their cans more loudly?

New York's elected officials have taken a page from Mayor Mike Bloomberg's totalitarian-light playbook. Remember when Mayor Mike decided one day that New York City's term limit law didn't suit him? So he said, in effect, "To hell with what the people want, New York needs me." Likewise, Albany is saying that because a group of people say life is unfair, it has the faculty and qualification to change - literally change - a millenia-old societal institution that transcends every culture and civilization.

Think about that.

That's not a recession of government power - that's a full-fledged expansion of its power.

What will government decide it has the power to change next? What will they decide they need to be involved in after this?

That the question is even being asked flies in the face of libertarian principles.

Twenty-five years ago, the very thought of two people of the same sex marrying was considered one of those, "Don't be ridiculous" notions. Today, proponents of keeping the definiton of traditional marriage in tact are called ridiculous and antiquated. Same-sex marriage is suddenly  - magically - an issue of equality, freedom and civil rights.

And where does it end?

Today, the thought of someone marrying, say, their goldfish or a cup of Snack Pack butterscoth pudding is one of those "Don't be ridiculous" notions.

But will it be in twenty-five years?

If you could go back in time a quarter of a century and tell the citizens of New York City that smoking would be banned in bars and taverns, or that the government would keep free citizens from using perfectly legal cooking oils in privately owned restaurants, they'd look at you as if you had a pulsating basketball-sized goiter growing out of your neck.

The fact is, the loss of liberty is incremental and often barely noticeable.

This is the slippery slope.

When does it end?

And because of the passage of same-sex marriage in New York without a referendum, how could a government ever say "no" in the future when some new special interest group with resonating garbage cans comes a-clanging, making a huge noise about wanting to marry their ink jet printers? Or a jar of pitted olives? Or a sister? Or a dog? Or whatever the hell he or she wants to join in matrimony?

On what basis could the government say "no?"

Is this what New York libertarians had in mind?

This is nothing but government-constructed relativism. That is supposed to be the antithesis of libertarianism.

Proponents of keeping the definition of traditional marriage as it has always been draw the line at one man and one woman. Proponents of same-sex marriage draw the line at two individuals, regardless of sex.

By definition, both discriminate. 

Same-sex marriage advocates scoff at the suggestion that this opens the door to allowing such things as multiple spouses or sibling marriage, but on what grounds? Same-sex marriage has its limitations and discriminations, too, doesn't it? Why then is so called "gay marriage" discrimination acceptable and traditional marriage discrimination not?

Why are the inequalities and prejudices of permitting same-sex marriage okay?

And on what do same-sex marriage advocates base their matrimonial line in the sand? On how they feel? On what sounds good? How could they logically argue against a polygamists' movement? Or sibling love?

But what do I know? I've already been told on numerous occassions that I hate gays.

I can only hope my sister knows I don't hate her because of my opposition to sibling marriage.



  1. "I can only hope my sister knows I don't hate her because of my opposition to sibling marriage."

    Ooh! That's going to leave a mark! Great work, Andrew.

  2. And to think the same people advocating these ridiculous liberty-stifling laws and regulations cast their eyes upon The Statue Of Liberty daily.

  3. Yeah, well some of them are undressing her with their eyes!


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