Separation of State and Marriage II
After the November elections, I posted some observations on the outcome of California's Proposition 8 determining how marriage should be defined. I reasoned that because society has chosen to use government to define marriage, that Proposition 8's passage was fair. Now, having government define marriage begs the question on why. I gave reason for that as well. None of this is to say, however, that I agree that government should define marriage. In fact, I lean heavily towards marriage being defined privately, with government taking a limited, judicial role in enforcing the rules of private contracts. To understand this point of view, read this article from 1997 by Cato Institute's David Boaz. An excerpt:
So why not privatize marriage? Make it a private contract between two individuals. If they wanted to contract for a traditional breadwinner/homemaker setup, with specified rules for property and alimony in the event of divorce, they could do so. Less traditional couples could keep their assets separate and agree to share specified expenses. Those with assets to protect could sign prenuptial agreements that courts would respect. Marriage contracts could be as individually tailored as other contracts are in our diverse capitalist world. For those who wanted a standard one-size-fits-all contract, that would still be easy to obtain. Wal-Mart could sell books of marriage forms next to the standard rental forms. Couples would then be spared the surprise discovery that outsiders had changed their contract without warning. Individual churches, synagogues, and temples could make their own rules about which marriages they would bless.