Blogs > Liberty and Power > The Non-Issue Issue that Won't Die

Mar 4, 2004 2:24 pm

The Non-Issue Issue that Won't Die

Without sounding particularly new or original I have a few random thoughts about gay marriage (as if my Slate blog of last week wasn't enough). First off, there is clearly no role for the state in this entire debate AT ALL. Anyone who says it is the business of the state to regulate personal relationships is someone I don't understand and certainly no friend of liberty.

Second, even if we relax that assumption it's bizarre how afraid conservatives are of letting states make these choices for them. I actually agree that courts should not be creating these rights out of thin air like Thomas Sowell's column in the"Moonie" Times. But clearly if a state wants to pass a law legalizing it that's federalism folks.

Third, I think we need put this all in an international perspective. For those of us who complain about the decline of freedom in the U.S., it's important to remember that these debates just can't happen in some countries, a fact that Christopher Hitchens reminds us of in this sort of mushy but otherwise good column from yesterday's Opinion Journal.

Finally, let's assume that the Constitutional amendment on gay marriage fails, which seems like a safe bet. What states are most likely to move towards legalizing civil unions? I'd spectulate it's those with the most to gain from even a small scale gay migration from nearby states, like Oregon, Wisconsin, and of course the only state with a truly legal union Vermont. It's a sort of interesting variation on welfare politics in my mind.

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