Same Sex Marriage
Why I support Same Sex Marriage
I didn’t used to support same sex marriage, on the basis that it made no sense in a historical sense and marriage is a bit of an archaic institution that people who are very progressive with their sexuality should have no need to partake in. The important thing seemed to be that people could have the protection of the law when making a commitment to one another and therefore the civil union thing seemed to be enough.
However I am persuaded that on basically libertarian grounds same sex marriage should be legal. The reason being that one of the main roles of the state is to enforce contracts, and a good principle to have is that there should be no discrimination on the basis of sex allowed for such contracts. For instance when a woman had to have permission from her husband in order to buy property in New Zealand most people would think that wrong. So on that basis it makes no sense for a person to not have access to such a contract based on their sex.
Aside from this same sex marriage has nothing to do with homosexuality (which is not a natural kind). There is no requirement for two people to be romantically involved for them to get married. The relationship between the gay rights movement and same sex marriage is actually only incidental.
Marriage does not indicate the blessing of the state upon a person or a person’s relationship, but rather recognition of a contractual arrangement. For instance two murderer may get married and it doesn’t mean that the state approves of murder.
Marriage no longer regulates the sexual behaviour of the affected parties, therefore it makes no sense for a type of sexual behaviour to be prohibited grounds for marriage.
What people aren’t concerned about
In New Zealand The Marriage Act 1955 sets out the rules for marriage and it’s utterly discriminatory in ways not compatible with other legislation, such as the human rights legislation’s prohibited grounds of discrimination, one being “family status” which means:
• iii) being married to, or being in a civil union or de facto relationship with, a particular person; or
• (iv) being a relative of a particular person:
Schedule 2 Prohibited degrees of marriage
• (1) A person may not marry the person's—
◦ (a) grandparent:
◦ (b) parent:
◦ (c) child:
◦ (d) grandchild:
◦ (e) sibling:
◦ (f) parent's sibling:
◦ (g) sibling's child:
◦ (h) grandparent's spouse or civil union partner:
◦ (i) parent's spouse or civil union partner:
◦ (j) spouse's or civil union partner's parent:
◦ (k) spouse's or civil union partner's grandparent:
◦ (l) spouse's or civil union partner's child:
◦ (m) child's spouse or civil union partner:
◦ (n) grandchild's spouse or civil union partner:
◦ (o) spouse's or civil union partner's grandchild.
• (2) The prohibited degrees of marriage apply whether the relationships described are by the whole blood or by the half blood. (3) In this schedule, spouse and civil union partner include a former spouse or former civil union partner, whether alive or deceased, and whether the marriage or civil union was terminated by death, dissolution, or otherwise.
What this means, for instance, is that if your parent or child marries someone and then that parent dies or gets divorced you can’t marry that person. You can marry your great grandchild; that’s not a problem under the law, but you potentially can’t marry someone based on their former relationship status.
In Australia (as I understand) it the situation is quite different; You can’t marry your great grandchild, but you can marry the former partner of a parent or child. It all seems to be completely random and have nothing to do with anything.
The thing is that no one is in the streets protesting against this. Perhaps if someone who identifies as gay was affected by such rules then it might become an issue, but right now it is not an issue because there is not a political movement of people who want to marry their mum, dad, aunty or whatever banned familial relation exists in the marriage laws. If there was then I suppose they would have to change it.
Since the marriage laws, and who can get married under them were never based on logic, but rather on whatever was fashionable at the time and complacency, then the simplest thing to do is to let anyone who wants to get married to get married.