Here's How to Defend Marriage

by Harry Browne

February 18, 2004    

Marriage is under attack!

Man the ramparts! The barbarians are at the gates!

We must defend traditional marriage against so-called "same-sex marriage." If we allow two men or two women to get married, terrible things will happen. Here's the danger . . . 

Er, uh, um, hmmm, well, uh . . . 

Come to think of it, I can't come up with a single way that same-sex marriage threatens traditional marriage.

If John and Bill get married, does that mean you and your spouse must part company?

If Nancy and Amber say "I do," will your marriage crumble?

If you see Tom and Roscoe holding hands, will you have to get a divorce?

Political NewSpeak

Politicians continually misuse words in order to point with pride or view with alarm.

They pass "safe streets" bills that impose regulations on local police forces making the streets less safe. They enact a "No Child Left Behind" law that's guaranteed to make all children fall further behind.

And now they're trying to say that the outlawing of same-sex marriages is a "defense" of marriage.

But what needs to be defended?

Apparently, a quarter to a third of all U.S. adults have been divorced. That would seem to indicate a much bigger threat to marriage than same-sex couples.

Whose Marriage Is It?

Marriage is a noble institution; it signifies to one and all that two people regard each other in much higher esteem and intention than was the case in previous relationships.

Only the individual can evaluate that esteem and that intention.

So why in the world would we want government defining what marriage is?

What's next? Will government . . . 

Define what constitutes love?

Define what a man is and what a woman is?

Tell us how to raise our children?

Oops, sorry. I forgot. George Bush is already proposing a plan to raise our children for us.

Love & Marriage

For many people, life can be very difficult.

But love offsets many ills. It is one of the most rewarding and consoling feelings available, and it can make even the most difficult life bearable. Love is simply the most satisfying emotion in the world.

I believe that everyone should be free to pursue love wherever he can find it with whoever makes him happy.

Anyone who presumes to interfere with that love is unworthy of our respect. And for government to deny someone the full enjoyment of love is a mark of a totalitarian state.

Social Security

The only argument offered for outlawing same-sex marriage that makes any sense is that this will give Social Security death benefits to people who aren't now eligible to receive them increasing the cost of government and the federal deficit.

But that's a problem with Social Security, not marriage.

If you buy a life insurance policy from Equitable, Prudential, State Farm, or any other private insurer, you can designate anyone in the world to be the beneficiary. You can name your spouse, your children, your mistress, your live-in boyfriend, your favorite cat, Saddam Hussein, or the Chicago Cubs baseball team anyone.

And if you don't like any of the conditions of the policy, you don't have to buy it.

Only the government confiscates your money and coerces you into taking its life insurance. And only the government forces its choice of beneficiary on you.

This means that people who are single by choice or who aren't legally "married" are forced to pay for life insurance that's useless to them. Is this what's meant by "defending marriage" forcing unmarried people to subsidize married couples?

The solution, of course, is to let everyone out of Social Security not impose the government's definition of marriage on people who don't agree with it.


I've also heard arguments that there is a long, long tradition that marriage is defined as a union of one man and one woman and that this tradition should be maintained.

I guess that means that we should outlaw inter-racial marriage, since for centuries tradition defined marriage as a union of one man and one woman of the same race.

Come to think of it, I guess we should reinstate slavery on the grounds that it has thousands of years of tradition behind it.

But maybe we should not be bound by tradition. Instead, we should be willing to do anything that gets government out of our lives. And recognizing that government should not define marriage, love, or anything else is a step in the right direction tradition or no tradition.

Defending Marriage

If you really think marriage must be defended, here are some much more practical suggestions. . . . 

Recognize why you married your spouse and what that person means to you.

Remember that the next time you're inclined to criticize or argue with your spouse.

Take a moment every day to recognize the blessings of your relationship, and keep those blessings in mind.

Tell your spouse how glad you are to be married, and what it means to you and do that often.

Make sure that your spouse's needs are being met.

If you do these things, your marriage will be well defended and you shouldn't have to worry over who else is getting married (unless you're simply a busybody).