Jeff Neal for C.U.R.E. - Certain Unalienable Rights Endowment

Posts Tagged ‘social norms’

Marriage is a Contract, not a “Right”

In Opinion on March 26, 2013 at 5:51 pm

According to the WSJ editorial board (link here  The Wall Street Journal) if the Supreme Court finds a right to gay marriage in the Constitution, “[i}t will inflame [debates Americans are conducting] and ensure they never end, prematurely aborting the give-and-take on contentious moral and social issues the Constitution is designed to encourage.”


The Constitution does not encourage such give-and-take.  No, the Constitution puts such matters beyond the reach of political bickering and the law.  The Constitution neither proscribed nor prescribed debates about social norms – its authors were intentionally silent on that question – they didn’t leave it out by accident.  The Constitution enumerates the powers the people were willing to grant to their government.  The power to affect ‘moral and social issues’ by encouraging (or discouraging) debate (or any other means) was not among the powers granted to the government.

According to the Constitution, political and legal debates – free speech – may never be outlawed, PERIOD.  Since the Constitution pertains only to legal matters, regarding all other debates the Constitution is silent.  The effect that silence may have on ‘debates Americans are conducting’ is not properly a matter of political or legal discussion, so any mention of the Constitution is not germane.

The federal government (and the states, too?) should exit the debate about marriage, since it is a ‘moral and social’ issue.  Any and all laws about marriage should be stricken from the books immediately, if not sooner.  Tax preferences, any special or preferred legal status of a spouse, the mere mention of the word marriage should be expunged.  Marriage, as legal matter, should represent nothing more than a contract between consenting adults, and in that regard, the state’s sole purpose is to enforce the contract.  To confer special status upon parties of only a certain type of such contracts is, well, unConstitutional.

So, as far as the federal government should have any concern, we’re all bachelor(ette)s.  Properly understood, American Constitutional law has nothing to do with ‘an evolving social consensus‘ (WSJ’s words) about marriage (or gun ownership or video game content, or . . .)  It’s high time the left AND the right, the governing class in general, abandon their efforts to use government force to coerce certain social norms and outcomes.

(1) No theft.  (2) No murder.  (3) Every person is free to live life subject only to those two prohibitions.  That is the only just, moral code of laws.  It follows that whom I marry is no one’s business, so certainly it is not subject to Uncle Sam’s approval.