Gay Marriage Facts
Part 3 of the
Libertarian Case for
Here are a few gay marriage facts Libertarians need to be aware of before deciding to support the privitization of marriage.
Redefining marriage to the union of any two persons abandons three principles we now take for granted:
- Children are entitled to a relationship with both parents.
- Legal parenthood ordinarily tracks biological parentage.
- The state recognizes parentage, but does not assign it.
Here's how it works. Let's start with the state's role toward marriage.
What is the proper posture of the state toward marriage?
The proper posture of the state toward marriage should be, and has historically been, to facilitate the attachment of mothers and fathers to their children and to one another. Attempting to create one legal institution that treats same sex couples identically with opposite sex couples is inconsistent with this posture. We can see this by looking at legal disputes between same sex partners over child custody, disputes that are already redefining parenthood.
Gay marriage facts #1: Same sex marriages separate children from one of their biological parents by design.
The typical legal case involves a lesbian couple, one of whom has a baby through artificial reproductive technology. Usually the father is an anonymous sperm donor. The sexual relationship between the two women breaks down. The mother no longer wants her former sex partner to have anything to do with her child. The former lover never legally adopted the child. The former lover goes to court to obtain parental rights. She is not related to the child, either by blood or adoption. The legal issue at stake is whether the court can assign parental rights to a non parent.
In response to these situations, the courts are defining "de facto parenthood" as a new category of parenthood. Determining whether someone qualifies as a "de facto parent" usually involves multi-part tests. The court inquires into things like how much care the non-parent provided and whether the child called her "mommy." The court scrutinizes family life to decide whether a non-parent counts as a parent.
Redefining marriage redefines parenthood. Redefining marriage expands the state into homes like never before seen. Furthermore, the natural mother in these situations undergoes a legal battle resulting in legal consequences and legal precedents not seen by mothers in straight custody cases. The reason why should be clear: it’s because mothers in straight custody cases can establish biological paternity quite easily.
Gay marriage facts #2: The state’s role should be to recognize the natural reality of biological parenthood.
The concepts of "mother" and "father" are pre-political concepts. Up until now, the state has seen its role as simply recording this natural reality. Custody disputes, bitter as they sometimes can be, do not typically involve the state deciding whether someone counts as a parent in the first place. Now parenthood is becoming the creation of the state.
Rather than attaching children to their biological parents as marriage does, the legal institution of "same sex marriage" separates children from a biological parent. More than that, the state is beginning to stand against the natural family. In the wake of marriage redefinition in other states, courts are saying things like, "the traditional notion that children need a mother and a father to be raised into healthy, well-adjusted adults is based more on stereotype than anything else." This statement made by the Iowa Supreme Court in Varnum v Brien is false. Mountains of data show that children do need their mothers and their fathers, and that children care deeply about biological connections.
Gay marriage facts #3: Same sex marriage marginalizes sex roles, which minimalizes fathers.
By legalizing same sex unions, the government declares that mothers and fathers are interchangeable. When mothers and fathers are interchangeable, it is fathers who will be pushed aside. In Canada, where same sex unions have been legal since 2005, the birth certificates reflect this. Each birth certificate in British Columbia has a place to mention the biological mother. The second parent is listed as "father or co-parent."
To complicate things, there's not even a check-off box to indicate which is being listed, the father or the co-parent! Check it out right here:
Birth Certificate of British Columbia
One might say that the birth certificates are purely symbolic, and that we could solve this problem by recording Parent A and Parent B instead. Suppose we do that. The state would record two individuals as parents, without taking note of which has a biological relationship to the child.
This suggestion makes plain how deeply redefining marriage alters our idea of parenthood. The biology of parenthood has to be suppressed and eventually replaced. Now the state decides who counts as a parent. Libertarians should be quite alarmed at this, since it takes the pre-political concepts of marriage and parenthood and places their definitions into the subjective hands of the state.
We hope you have learned some new gay marriage facts.
This is part 3 of our series, The Libertarian Case for Man/Woman Marriage. Other parts are located here:
Part 1: The Definition of Marriage
Part 2: What is Marriage and why do we need it?
Part 3: Gay Marriage Facts (you are here)
Part 4: Marriage equality creates new inequalities
Part 5: Marriage Laws: How Should the State View Marriage? (you are here)
Part 6: History of Marriage
Part 7: Gay Marriage means Genderless Marriage
Part 8: Government and Marriage
Return to the home page: Gay Marriage Facts