June 29, 2015

RAND PAUL:  Government Should Get Out of Marriage Business:

While I disagree with Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage, I believe that all Americans have the right to contract.

The Constitution is silent on the question of marriage because marriage has always been a local issue. Our founding fathers went to the local courthouse to be married, not to Washington, D.C. . . .

The government should not prevent people from making contracts but that does not mean that the government must confer a special imprimatur upon a new definition of marriage.

Perhaps the time has come to examine whether or not governmental recognition of marriage is a good idea, for either party.

Since government has been involved in marriage, they have done what they always do — taxed it, regulated it, and now redefined it. It is hard to argue that government’s involvement in marriage has made it better, a fact also not surprising to those who believe government does little right.

So now, states such as Alabama are beginning to understand this as they begin to get out of the marriage licensing business altogether. Will others follow?

I have long agreed with the basic premise that marriage is a contract and should not be a “license” granted by government.  The contractual approach isn’t a panacea for societal division over the meaning of marriage, however, as presumably many would still like to prohibit practices such as (adult) incest and polygamy, which contract law, alone, would not do.  A contractual approach would also necessitate (presumably) temporal limitations on marriage contracts, such that a “marriage for 30 minutes”–prostitution–would not be legal, as it is in Islam.

So for better or for worse (pun intended), government will remain in the marriage business to some extent, either by limiting those eligible for a “license,” or limiting those eligible to “contract.” Dispensing with the license-based marriage in favor of contract-based marriage may not lessen government regulation, but it would likely eliminate government benefits, such as joint filing for income tax purposes.

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