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July 1, 2015 / Congau

Gay Legality and Marital Confusion

I am not a conservative, and I have nothing against gay people, or any other people, choosing to live however they want, but I’m against gay marriage. Or rather, to be more exact, I’m against legalized gay marriage.

The problem we are dealing with here is actually quite confused, for what does it really mean to say that something is legal or illegal? Normally something is legal when the law allows you to do it with impunity, and illegal when there’s a threat of punishment. It is for example legal to eat apple pie, but illegal to steal someone’s pie and the law threatens to take action if there’s a violation of those principles. But in the case of marriage the situation is different, for how can marital law possibly be broken. If gay marriages are illegal, gay couples simply cannot marry, whereas if stealing is illegal, it is still very possible to steal. It is rather odd to have a law that regulates an action that wouldn’t have existed if the law itself had not existed. Without marital laws there would be no marriages.

But hold on, that doesn’t sound intuitively right. People have married in all kinds of societies in all periods of history without there being a government bureaucracy issuing formal licenses. Only in the modern nation state is marriage self-defined within the law. True, in former times the authorities may have pronounced certain liaisons illegal and then forcibly have broken them up, but that they could do because the institution of marriage existed independently of the state. So it must also be today. Marriage is in truth a social institution not one that comes into being by the word of an anonymous state. Therefore it should be irrelevant whether a government accepts gay marriages or not because as long as any couple is allowed to live together without the interference of the law, their conduct is already legal.

What more is being asked for? Social recognition? That doesn’t come from empty law paragraphs anyway.


Leave a Comment
  1. mirnaabdulaal / Jul 1 2015 1:50 pm

    The American government was only using it as a distraction from what was going on on the other side of the world. Sad how people are not realising this.

  2. Congau / Jul 2 2015 9:08 am

    To distract attention nothing is more effective than empty symbolism.

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