View Poll Results: What should be the government's involvement in marriage?

Voters
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  • Okay as it is/make only minor changes

    7 25.00%
  • Take away all government financial incentives

    1 3.57%
  • Make some specific changes only

    0 0%
  • Take government out of marriage completely

    13 46.43%
  • Other

    7 25.00%
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Thread: What should be the government's involvement in marriage?

  1. #51
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    Re: What should be the government's involvement in marriage?

    Marriage is a contract, and government oversees contract law, enforces contract, and settles disputes when a contract is broken or invalid... Many philosophers believe that one of the reasons humans need government and why government is useful to humans and government needs to exist in human society is to maintain social order by enforcing contracts between parties and settling disputes when contracts are broken.

    I tend to find the argument that government should get out of marriage interesting for a few reasons.

    1. As long as people value the meaning of marriage and want to marry, there will be a divorce rate (or breaking of the marriage contract). I really don't think it's feasible the believe that everybody in this country could settle a divorce dispute without lawyers or a court system. The government will get involved eventually, because as Locke, Hume, and other philosophers say, settling disputes between people and maintaining order is one of the most basic and fundamental roles of government.

    2. If you eliminate marriage laws and benefits of marriage, it's radically changing our concept of a family in the eyes of the law. We would no longer have rights to our partner.. their property is separate, their retirement.. although our assets would really be tangled.

    If my husband suddenly dies, I wouldn't inherit his property or military benefits, or be covered under any of his employer benefit programs? I mean, if I could... then anybody could, right? .. since I wouldn't be viewed as family in the eyes of the law.

    Eliminating legal marriage wouldn't simplify property rights, survivor benefits, or inheritance laws, it will make them super complicated.

    3. If you don't believe the government actually plays a role in maintaining order and people can do that themselves without government, then why aren't you an anarchist?
    Last edited by SheWolf; 05-31-11 at 01:03 AM.

  2. #52
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    Re: What should be the government's involvement in marriage?

    Quote Originally Posted by SheWolf View Post
    Snip
    That would be all handled by personal contracts. The only role the gov would have is as an arbiter.

  3. #53
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    Re: What should be the government's involvement in marriage?

    Quote Originally Posted by SheWolf View Post
    Marriage is a contract, and government oversees contract law, enforces contract, and settles disputes when a contract is broken or invalid... Many philosophers believe that one of the reasons humans need government and why government is useful to humans and government needs to exist in human society is to maintain social order by enforcing contracts between parties and settling disputes when contracts are broken.

    I tend to find the argument that government should get out of marriage interesting for a few reasons.

    1. As long as people value the meaning of marriage and want to marry, there will be a divorce rate (or breaking of the marriage contract). I really don't think it's feasible the believe that everybody in this country could settle a divorce dispute without lawyers or a court system. The government will get involved eventually, because as Locke, Hume, and other philosophers say, settling disputes between people and maintaining order is one of the most basic and fundamental roles of government.

    2. If you eliminate marriage laws and benefits of marriage, it's radically changing our concept of a family in the eyes of the law. We would no longer have rights to our partner.. their property is separate, their retirement.. although our assets would really be tangled.

    If my husband suddenly dies, I wouldn't inherit his property or military benefits, or be covered under any of his employer benefit programs? I mean, if I could... then anybody could, right? .. since I wouldn't be viewed as family in the eyes of the law.

    Eliminating legal marriage wouldn't simplify property rights, survivor benefits, or inheritance laws, it will make them super complicated.

    3. If you don't believe the government actually plays a role in maintaining order and people can do that themselves without government, then why aren't you an anarchist?
    Those are really good questions. I think more of the answers, though, lie from the other end - what it gives people in terms of choice.

    1. I think the entire problem here is the expectation people have about relationships, which is totally contrary to the reality of human relationships. The longer we are living, the more obvious this contradiction becomes. We only have this problem because people have a false idea of what they know about the future, propagated by the idea of marriage.

    In addition, there are other ways to deal with this in a more flexible, customizable way. To desire a legal contract for any joint endeavor makes sense, but separating it from the connotation of marriage both allows it to be a more honest discussion, and creates flexibility in what sort of agreement the people want to enter into.

    Many problems you present with non-married couples are currently addressed with commonwealth law, which I think needs to be tightened up and slimmed down.

    2. Why do you need to have a right to your partner? Again, there's a philosophical component to this.

    On the practical side, again, it's a similar matter to #1. It just requires the couple to spend a bit more time looking at what they're signing, which can't do anything but help. I also think people should be allowed to assign their inheritance, benefits, property, etc, to whomever they please or no one at all, regardless of what their specific connection is.

    3. I think marriage is a false concept. And some societies are already abandoning it in large numbers. It clearly doesn't prevent people from being in relationships or having kids. It just allows them to start from a more honest framework.

    EDIT: xpiher said it in far fewer words and without the philosophy wank.
    Last edited by SmokeAndMirrors; 05-31-11 at 01:15 AM.

  4. #54
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    Re: What should be the government's involvement in marriage?

    Quote Originally Posted by xpiher View Post
    That would be all handled by personal contracts. The only role the gov would have is as an arbiter.
    What's the difference between marriage now and a personal contract? We get married and agree to marriage based on our personal reasons, and we expect different things from our marriages. We get a divorce for different reasons, and when that happens... the court system may have to step in and settle a dispute, if we can't. The thinking behind allowing the court in as a third party, is that they are there to be unbiased and to protect us.

    We don't write personal contracts and tell the government how to do their job... You can't tell the government to send your military pay, veterans pay, SS, or medicare benefits to xyz when you're dead. If the federal government doesn't recognize marriage, then military spouses would lose all their rights, even when their spouse is in a war zone. There would be no more military benefits for being married either.

    The entire concept of a step parent or step guardian will be void and null... so this entire proposal is going to hit the family court system as well and radically change that too.

    So are you anarchist?

  5. #55
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    Re: What should be the government's involvement in marriage?

    Quote Originally Posted by SheWolf View Post
    What's the difference between marriage now and a personal contract? We get married and agree to marriage based on our personal reasons, and we expect different things from our marriages. We get a divorce for different reasons, and when that happens... the court system may have to step in and settle a dispute, if we can't. The thinking behind allowing the court in as a third party, is that they are there to be unbiased and to protect us.

    We don't write personal contracts and tell the government how to do their job... You can't tell the government to send your military pay, veterans pay, SS, or medicare benefits to xyz when you're dead. If the federal government doesn't recognize marriage, then military spouses would lose all their rights, even when their spouse is in a war zone. There would be no more military benefits for being married either.

    The entire concept of a step parent or step guardian will be void and null... so this entire proposal is going to hit the family court system as well and radically change that too.

    So are you anarchist?
    You're still thinking of this as though people wouldn't be able to choose to assign those rights to their partner if they want to. That's the entire point of getting rid of the institution, to me. It gets rid of all the pitfalls and allows people to allocate rights as they wish. Because obviously they still need to be able to - taking it out of the context of the marriage instiution allows it to be done better and more in accordance to the person whose resources they originally are.

  6. #56
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    Re: What should be the government's involvement in marriage?

    Quote Originally Posted by SheWolf View Post
    You can't tell the government to send your military pay, veterans pay, SS, or medicare benefits to xyz when you're dead. If the federal government doesn't recognize marriage, then military spouses would lose all their rights, even when their spouse is in a war zone. There would be no more military benefits for being married either.
    Why would all these "benefits" go away with the government stepping out of the marriage realm? Even if I'm not married, I can leave my life insurance policy to whoever I want. Why can't the same thing happen in other cases?

  7. #57
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    Re: What should be the government's involvement in marriage?

    Quote Originally Posted by xpiher View Post
    Why would all these "benefits" go away with the government stepping out of the marriage realm? Even if I'm not married, I can leave my life insurance policy to whoever I want. Why can't the same thing happen in other cases?
    Who handles military benefits?? The government or Farmers Insurance??

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    Re: What should be the government's involvement in marriage?

    I voted other because there was no option to simply say no changes should be made..

  9. #59
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    Re: What should be the government's involvement in marriage?

    Quote Originally Posted by DemonMyst View Post
    Who handles military benefits?? The government or Farmers Insurance??
    The government, but I was talking about my military life insurance. My point was, there isn't any reason why these "benefits" wouldn't still exist without the government defining marriage.

  10. #60
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    Re: What should be the government's involvement in marriage?

    Quote Originally Posted by MistressNomad View Post
    Those are really good questions. I think more of the answers, though, lie from the other end - what it gives people in terms of choice.

    1. I think the entire problem here is the expectation people have about relationships, which is totally contrary to the reality of human relationships. The longer we are living, the more obvious this contradiction becomes. We only have this problem because people have a false idea of what they know about the future, propagated by the idea of marriage.

    In addition, there are other ways to deal with this in a more flexible, customizable way. To desire a legal contract for any joint endeavor makes sense, but separating it from the connotation of marriage both allows it to be a more honest discussion, and creates flexibility in what sort of agreement the people want to enter into.

    Many problems you present with non-married couples are currently addressed with commonwealth law, which I think needs to be tightened up and slimmed down.

    2. Why do you need to have a right to your partner? Again, there's a philosophical component to this.

    On the practical side, again, it's a similar matter to #1. It just requires the couple to spend a bit more time looking at what they're signing, which can't do anything but help. I also think people should be allowed to assign their inheritance, benefits, property, etc, to whomever they please or no one at all, regardless of what their specific connection is.

    3. I think marriage is a false concept. And some societies are already abandoning it in large numbers. It clearly doesn't prevent people from being in relationships or having kids. It just allows them to start from a more honest framework.

    EDIT: xpiher said it in far fewer words and without the philosophy wank.

    I know you're advocating smaller government. My real issue is that I don't think it makes reasonable sense to advocate for small government in this sense, unless you want to eliminate it altogether. It only makes sense to me... because as I say, most people argue that government is need to keep order and philosophers argue that we need order because we form contracts. Philosophers such as Locke and Hume argue that government itself is a social contract.

    Essentially you are agreeing to be governed by the government, but you're not agreeing with the government, in theory, as to why you need the government to exist and govern you.

    So that begs the question, why does government need to exist at all? What need of yours does government serve you?

    1. Not to be rude, but if you are advocating smaller government then why must tell individuals what to expect and not expect from marriage? We generally think that the government getting out makes life simpler and gives us more freedom... but in the case of marriage, stripping away all the federal benefits and leaving individual couples to worry about writing wills, signing over power of attorney to each other, worrying about if a job in the market will recognize their marriage and offer joint insurance and benefits, etc. is not simplifying. It's making it more complicated and more costly than simply going to the statehouse and signing a marriage cert.

    A lot of times when advocating smaller government and more freedom, it involves challenging tradition and traditional thinking. The real obstacle here is that federal marriage laws are not coercive, so it's backwards. Anarchists tend to attack coercive institutions in the government and advocate freedom, but while tearing down the government, they will be tearing down the social institutions embedded in federal marriage protections.

    However, federal marriage protections are not harmful to society. The only actual problem marriage laws are causing society is that they are restrictive to same sex couples. The real problem is homophobia and the traditionalists in society who are causing inequality, conflict, and coercion. Removing marriage laws won't solve the problem, as these people and institutions will still exist in society.

    2. I think people who marry desire and want a right to their partner, or something extra. People want and expect a marriage to feel special. It's a life long commitment, it has meaning to people... asking somebody to marry you is symbolic. If people want to marry and have access to their spouses benefits, retirement, etc. then why shouldn't they? That isn't harmful to society... We all want different things in life.

    3. There is no doubt that people show their love in different ways... it's partly culture and partly tradition. If two people want to show their love and desire to be together with a ring and wedding or matching tattoos, it's fine with me. As long as nobody is hurt in the process.

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