27 Jun 2011

Libertarianism and Gay Marriage


George Weigel explains that there is nothing libertarian about a state modifying the definition of marriage.

That what the New York state legislature approved has to be described, not as marriage, but as “gay marriage” or “same-sex marriage” is itself a verbal indicator that what is being done here is counterintuitive. We all know, or thought we knew, what marriage is, and to add the qualifier “gay” or “same-sex” is a tacit admission by the proponents of the practice that it requires an appeal to authority to enforce what seems strange, odd, not right. The verbal tic of “gay marriage” or “same-sex” marriage is thus itself a rhetorical warning sign that what was done in Albany was an exercise in raw state power, the state’s asserting that it can do X simply because it claims that it has the power to do so.

And that is an exercise of power that libertarians ought, in theory, to resist, not support.

New York State notwithstanding, the argument over marriage will and must continue, because it touches first principles of democratic governance — and because resistance to the agenda of the gay-marriage lobby is a necessary act of resistance against the dictatorship of relativism, in which coercive state power is used to impose on all of society a relativistic ethic of personal willfulness. In conducting that argument in the months and years ahead, it would be helpful if the proponents of marriage rightly understood would challenge the usurpation by the proponents of gay marriage of the civil-rights trump card.

That usurpation is at the heart of the gay lobby’s emotional, cultural, and political success — the moral mantle of those Freedom Riders whose golden anniversary we mark this year has, so to speak, been successfully claimed by the Stonewall Democratic Club and its epigones. And because the classic civil-rights movement and its righteous demand for equality before the law remains one of the few agreed-upon moral touchstones in 21st-century American culture (another being the Holocaust as an icon of evil), to seize that mantle and wear it is to have won a large part of the battle — as one sees when trying to discuss these questions with otherwise sensible young people.

But the analogy simply doesn’t work. Legally enforced segregation involved the same kind of coercive state power that the proponents of gay marriage now wish to deploy on behalf of their cause.

Read the whole thing.

The action of the New York legislature is as revolutionary a gesture as the alteration of the calendar and the names of the months by the French Convention. What distinguishes this example of revolutionary action from those of the past, however, is the fact that the Revolution is being conducted by the ruling class against the people.

The establishment of Gay Marriage is another of a series of symbolic aggressions and assaults by the privileged, well-educated, and influential against the culture, values, and beliefs of ordinary Americans. The American elite has simply chosen to exercise the contemporary equivalent of le droit du seigneur with the sacrament of marriage as its victim. Our rulers are once again demonstrating in the most dramatic possible manner the power of the establishment community of fashion to violate the most cherished cultural institutions and traditions of the plebians at will.

One Feedback on "Libertarianism and Gay Marriage"


The gov should be out of the marriage biz. The Gay marriage issue just exposes the stupidity and abuse of having the State involved in personal decisions in the first place.


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