Creates New Inequalities
Part 4 of the
Libertarian Case for
Marriage equality does not and cannot exist. Same sex couples and opposite sex couples are different with respect to the essential public purpose of marriage, which is to attach mothers and fathers to their children and to one another.
Creating "marriage equality" will create new harms. The state will end up creating a whole new set of inequalities. We have already alluded to one such inequality in Part 3 of this series: a mother in a same sex relationship has fewer rights than every other mother. Let us spell it out in more detail.
Inequality #1 – Mothers who are lesbian have fewer rights as mothers
A perfectly fit lesbian mother can lose the right to control who her child sees and has a relationship with. She can be compelled to allow her former lover access to her child. Through her same sex union, she has made an implicit agreement to share the parenting of any children she gives birth to, with another woman. Mothers do not usually do this easily, even with other women whom they love very much.
No one else is required to do an "implicit" adoption such as this. Any frightened pregnant teenager who makes an adoption plan has the right to change her mind after her child is born. No court in America would enforce an adoption contract, where a mother promises in advance of the child’s birth to give it up for adoption. The law recognizes the unique status of motherhood, and does not expect a mother to predict how she will feel after her child is born.
It is only the lesbian mother who, in effect, promises to deliver her child up for adoption to her sex partner. Only she is required to share the care of her child with another woman, a woman who has no biological connection with the child. Straight women are legally "privileged" by the fact that they gave birth to the child; women in lesbian relationships are not.
This is not comparable to ordinary custody cases after a divorce. In these situations, the father has access to the child because he is the child's father. He has rights too, natural parental rights, to have a relationship with his own child because of the biological connection.
Thus, mothers in a lesbian relationships will not be treated equally with other mothers. Neither will fathers in those situations. If a man is the father of a child in a lesbian couple, he has fewer rights and responsibilities than other fathers. Courts around the world are trying to figure out how to handle these cases. They are concluding that there is no truly fair way to do it. Marriage equality will make this situation worse.
Inequality #2 – Children in same sex households lack the opposite sex as a role model
Treating same sex couples as if they were opposite sex couples creates inequalities among children. Some children have the opportunity to learn how members of the opposite sex treat one another by watching their parents: others live in a structure that is incapable of providing them with that experience. Some children have the opportunity to model their own sexual identity on a parent of their same gender; other children do not. Most importantly, some children are legally entitled to care and support from their fathers. Some children are entitled to know their own personal identity. The state actively prevents other children from this.
Biology is significant. Do we want the state to insist that that biology is NEVER allowed to matter to a child? Should the state have the power to insist that no child should ever wonder about their biological origins? Should the state demand that mothers in same sex relationships have no reluctance to share the care of their child with another woman? Does the state really have the right to create institutional structures that permanently separate children from their fathers?
These are the consequence of redefining marriage and parenthood as genderless institutions.
This is part 4 in our series, The Libertarian Case for Man/Woman Marriage. Other parts are located here:
Part 1: What is the definition of marriage?
Part 2: What is marriage and why do we need it?
Part 3: Gay Marriage Facts
Part 4: Marriage Equality Creates New Inequalities (you are here)
Part 5: Marriage Laws: How Should the State View Marriage?
Part 6: History of Marriage
Part 7: Gay Marriage means Genderless Marriage
Part 8: Government and Marriage
Return to the home page: Marriage Equality