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Thoughts on Marriage Licenses

While I admit that I used to be opposed to LGBT marriages, I deeply regret it and my views have dramatically changed.

To appeal to the Bible for a precedent on marriage is to go back to polygamy, and worse, concubines. Jacob had 2 wives, and 2 concubines, who were in turn, essentially his wives' slaves.  There was bitter fighting among two sisters for years.  Is that what we want?  Because that's definitely in the bible!  My children's ancestors practiced polygamy in Utah for up to 3 generations, 20 different grandpas, all appealing to the bible.  It wasn't a happy time for women, many of whom didn't have any choice but to become a polygamous wife when they reached Utah. They were poor, they had been assured in Europe that rumors of polygamy were false, only to arrive as single women who couldn't get a job anywhere.  They had to marry for survival. So, I really don't think we should use the Bible if monogamous male-female marriages are what people really want. Not to mention some of the other weird arrangements in 19th century America that appealed to the Bible. Oneida colony, anyone? The Bible cannot be the gold standard for marriage without cherry-picking examples and ignoring the fact that it never says that is what God wanted for all his children.

I believe that when consenting adults love each other, that's what makes the best marriages. I know many gay couples (my husband's co-worker among them) who are raising fine families. I don't personally know any lesbian families, but that's a nuance.

I have also been following the stories of the persecution of polygamous families here in Utah, and they're heartbreaking. Making it persecutable didn't change their religious convictions.  It didn't stop polygamy outside of the mainstream LDS church.  Obviously I'm against underage marriages, and the horrors that go along with it, but the FLDS community gets a lot of news time relative to the vast and varied polygamous communities in Utah.  Most are among consenting adults.

The LDS church has a long history of illegal and secret marriages, all the way up to 1912. The only reason "legally and lawfully wedded husband/wife" made it into the temple ceremony was because that was what they had to do and enforce marriages the goverment approved of so they could keep their property.  The 1890 manifesto references this.  The government forced them to stop polygamy.

This is to say nothing of the primary nefarious reason marriage licenses became a thing: Stopping interracial marriages. There is an incredibly racist history behind the marriage license and its use by the government to intervene into personal lives.

As a libertarian, I am opposed to the government interfering in the personal lives of individuals. The government should not be setting a precedent on what kinds of marriage relationships are ideal.  It should not rewarding certain kinds of marriages over others. For that matter, it should not reward women for being single moms by withdrawing benefits when they marry and their income goes up. Women can receive more money from the government if they get support from their children's fathers "off the book", and that is what many are doing. A welfare state has had (hopefully unintended) devastating consequences for the poor, especially in the south, hitting black families the worst.

I think the ideal solution would be to get the government out of the bedroom entirely by eliminating marriage licenses alltogether. It would give religions their religious freedom.  It would stop making LGBT families have to jump through hoops to be legitimized.  It would stop the persecution of polygamous families where everything is between consenting adults, thus allowing polygamous families to come out of the closet and be free to report where the actual abuse is happening without fear of being jailed for their own relationships. Underage marriages is my biggest concern here, and it thrives in some polygamous cults because of anti-polygamy laws. And yes, it would even open the door for other unique family units like polyamory. That's what freedom looks like.

As a Pagan, I'm not necessarily a Wiccan, but I do identify with the Wiccan Rede, "if it harm none do what you will". This especially applies to my desire for the government to get it's ugly nose out of the bedroom.

But as long as they do think it's their business to be issuing marriage licenses, there should be no discrimination against how they are issued. I am for LGBT rights in this manner. I am for non-monogamous rights.

Before closing, I want to say that the inspiration for this post was my Facebook newsfeed being flooded with concerns over Amy Barrett's potential seat as Supreme Court Justice.  Right now there's a lot of speculation about whether the Marriage Equality Act could be reversed if she were appointed.  I don't pretent to know all the ins and outs of that complicated question, but it does strike me as wild specualtion at this point.  Barrett has stated that she would strive to enforce existing laws in the constitution regardless of her personal moral convictions.  So that's comforting, but I really don't know enough about the issue to comment.  I'm sure I'll be learning more about it in coming days.  This post was inspired by this issue, but is more of a side note on my personal views, rather than a political commentary on current events specifically.


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