In response to multiple bills filed this week in the Iowa legislature:
It is true that good people can have divergent positions regarding the government’s role in marriage. In our opinion, both sides of that false dichotomy lead to the same perilous conclusion: that government has some role in a relationship formed between consenting individuals. As Libertarians, we do not agree.
Marriage has an ancient and rich history throughout nearly all religions and cultures of the world. Even among the dominant Christian religions in Iowa there can be differences. Catholic and Protestant denominations can have nuanced and meaningful differences in how they approach the institution of marriage. Each party, with God as a witness, speaks vows stating their fidelity to the other for life.
The obvious question is, what does the state have to do with these vows before God?
It is interesting that it is the state’s blessing that seems to matter most in our society. This should be alarming to the faithful. To petition the state for their blessing places the state in an equal or superior position to God. We believe that those who truly hold marriage as sacred should want government as far away from their marriage as possible and should not require the state’s sanction for their agreement with God.
What does the state have to do with the concept of love?
To apply the same line of reasoning, those individuals who wish to enter a union that is not sanctioned by a church are free to do so by entering a marriage contract. If I have entered a contract that is signed, witnessed, and in some cases notarized, who can say that I have not?
As a consenting adult, why would anyone need permission?
Consenting adults should be allowed to make contractual obligations with each other like any other economic partnership. The advantage is that these contracts can be generic or tailor-made to suit any situation.
This simple approach will take away this political “football” from the politicians who use the outrage for their own virtue signaling, fundraising, and other political ends.
To argue that one wishes to receive the same legal benefits one gets when there is a state-sanctioned marriage may be failing to recognize the actual problem. It is not marriage that needs to be modified, it is the state’s role in it that causes the problem. If the state’s benefits do not fit the way that people choose to live, how are the benefits beneficial to anyone but the state?
It is a cudgel for a preferred behavior, and we reject this. Their recognition is irrelevant, and consenting adults should be able to enter relationships or associations without having to seek government approval.
We feel that state-free marriages accommodate everyone, while doing no harm to the institution, no matter one’s personal view of what that means. We may like or dislike one’s choice in marital arrangements, but we believe that this is ok. My approval should be as relevant as the state’s, which is to say not relevant at all. To attempt to impose one’s view of marriage on another using the state as a weapon is antithetical to freedom of speech, association, and religion.
With this in mind, we state our opposition to the bills put forth that would continue this disruptive cycle of virtue signaling and endless lawsuits that pit Iowan against Iowan, funded by the good people of this state, with no benefit to them, and call on our elected officials to put forth a bill that acknowledges what should be the state’s role, and that is enforcing the terms of an economic partnership between consenting adults.