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May 9, 2012


For the record I'm making no claims that Gary Johnson has multiple wives.  I doubt he wants multiple wives. In fact I suspect that, if you were to ask, he would highly recommend against having more than one wife (at a time).

Johnson is the Libertarian candidate for president. As such he is abiding by a tradition started by the previous Libertarian candidate, Bob Barr: He's launching his presidential campaign by caving in to militant gay activists.

I call it Type-2 Homophobia, the irrational fear of militant gays.

Within hours of clinching the Libertarian nomination, Johnson promptly published a white paper declaring his support for "marriage equality."

Why that? Of all the issues Johnson could tout as the harbinger of  his campaign -- free markets, less government, sane tax code, school choice, the Federal Reserve, war -- he opted for gay marriage!

What's that? Do I hear protests? Did someone say its not about gay rights? It's about equal rights?

That's my point. The argument used by Johnson and most other "marriage equality" advocates must also be applied to other marital configurations. Failing to use the broad brush would constitute both hypocrisy and dishonesty.

If Johnson honestly believes government-issued marriage licenses should be equally distributed, he necessarily must include polygamists; men who have multiple wives or wives who have multiple husbands. He must also include incestuous marriages and group marriages. The "marriage equality" license, if truly equal, could be issued to any match up imaginable.

Common sense conservatives oppose gay marriage licensing for the same reason they oppose polygamous marriage licensing. 

Common sense libertarians (there are a few) oppose gay marriage licensing for the same reason they oppose any government licensing. 

It is here we hitch our horse. 

• Consider that George and Martha Washington had no marriage license. Were they legally married?

George and Martha entered into a verbal contract, each making a vow to the other. The contract was made before witnesses. It was sealed with a kiss (somehow a handshake didn't seem appropriate). In ancient Rome a kiss was considered to be a common legal bond; something akin to a joint signature. 

Were George and Martha marriages the norm today as they have been for centuries -- excuse me; millenia -- the question of gay marriage would be moot. 

Any two people could enter into a legally binding verbal contract. Any two people could invite witnesses to hear their vows. Any two people could do whatever they wanted, including indulging in a wedding cake. 

The advantage of the George and Martha marriage over a marriage license is that the contract was limited to George and Martha. While the contract between the pair was indisputable and legally binding, no one else was party to it. 

More things to consider:

• Throughout most of Western history, marriage was considered a private matter between families. 

• Marriages were validated by a couple's declaration. The Catholic Church, for example, recognized marriages even when no one witnessed the marriage vows. 

• Marriage licenses were not required in the United States until after the "Civil War." That requirement, considered routine and normal today, violated thousands of years of tradition.

• The purpose of marriage licensing was to prohibit, not permit, certain marriages. Post war states could prohibit inter-racial marriages, for example, by refusing to license such marriages. Gay marriage bans could not exist if marriage licenses did not exist.

• Marriages were legitimized by proclamations called banns published prior to wedding ceremonies. Banns were recognized by both Catholics and Protestants, The Church of England in particular. Banns required an interim time before the marriage took place. This allowed those who objected to the marriage to speak their mind or forever hold their piece. Licenses were only issued on rare occasions when circumstances pressed for immediate marriages.  

• The earliest known marriage licenses in Western culture were issued in the 14th century by the church, not by the government. 

• In Scotland a public promise or commitment constituted a valid marriage, even without a ceremony, until 1940. 

• Hardwicke's Marriage Act 1753 made ecclesiastical law civil law in England and Wales. Marriages were legal only if they followed the prescription set forth by the banns (proclamation), were licensed, or were exempted by Jewish or Quaker traditions. 

Efforts by governments to resolve difficulties through licensing often compounds the difficulties. While marriage licensing helped sort out who was and was not married, it also created a the national debate and subsequent furor over gay marriages.

Mr. Johnson would be well advised to offer a simple solution to the gay marriage debate: Make marriages a matter of verbal (vows) or written contracts between individuals. Leave the rest of us -- and the state -- out of it. It worked for George and Martha, and it will work for us.

The irrational fear of militant gay activists is not unique to libertarians. It sometimes affects conservatives as well.

Apparently Type-2 Homophobia has seeped through the cracks at Mediaite.

At issue is a column published by the normally responsible Mediaite web site.

Obama is portrayed as the candidate "who opposed to using the government to impose his views . . . onto everyone else."

The writer seems convinced that Obama opposes gay marriage for convenience, while Mitt Romney is a hard-core opponent. Romney, after all, signed the National Organization for Marriage pledge.

What's up with that? Obama is the good guy because he's merely pretending to oppose gay marriage?

[Ed. note: Obama has since publicly endorsed gay marriage.]

Social conservatives welcome the debate where marriage is defined to their liking. They also find it repulsive where gay marriage is legalized. As the nation moves further to the left, a federal mandate will be forthcoming, I predict, that will force states to recognize all marriages legally performed in all other states. 

The simple solution isn't to bash Romney for appeasing his base and affirming his personal convictions. 

Rather, marriage licenses should be replaced with George and Martha marriages in which only those party to the contract are bound to uphold and recognize its provisions; not the rest of us.


  1. That's just plain dumb, without a public ceremony or formal declaration there is no institution of marriage, its just open hedonism with bastard children everywhere like in the ghettos which you claim to care about in other blogs... and when did the Catholic church recognize marriages without witnesses? Oh did you actually mean they recognized them as civil marriages, but still considered them as invalid sacramental marriages? Because it sure didn't seem like you were trying to portray the whole truth or make that distinction, rather just trying to lather the perception of credence to your silly ideas... seriously, the more I consider your George and Martha marriage I feel like you must be joking. With domestic disputes being so common now and throughout history you want to just look the other way if a spouse abandons a family - "hey, that's just between you two" LMAO

  2. Verbal agreements between two individuals constitutes a legally binding contract. The license forces the rest of us to be party to it whether we like it or not.

    Actually, divorce (domestic disputes) became more common since licensing was mandated.