Marriage, and families built on marriage, is essential to a stable and prosperous society. Government has a duty and a responsibility to uphold, protect, and encourage this institution. Failure to do so will unavoidably lead to the collapse of the society.
The five great lies of the
We can be Godless and free. • “Social justice” through forced redistribution of wealth. • Silencing religious opinions counts as “diversity”. • Freedom without moral and personal responsibility. • Civilization can survive the intentional undermining of the family.
Goshin feels that, ideally, it would be nice to have government out of the business of recognizing marriages, but that when you have things or children or a death enter into the arrangement it would be difficult to resolve without the involvement of the state -- unless mechanisms for handling these things are spelled out in advance.
Spelling these things out in advance would require participants in a contractual relationship to clearly define their expectations and to plan for the future. This way, when there is a fundamental disagreement to be settled or a dissolution involving property and/or children, the aforementioned mechanisms are in place and can be used to settle the issue.
I do not believe that the government defines the average person's expectations for marriage -- I believe the government tries to factor our these complications with law. Legally recognized marriage comes with a cookie-cutter set of privileges and responsibilities already spelled out. We could just as easily all be adults about it, figure out how we want the moving parts of our own marriages / relationships to go together, and draw up papers that set those preferences out in advance without the state's help.
The problem with having marriage as an entirely private contract is that it's only binding on the couple themselves. You loose the aspect of the spouse being legal next of kin, potentially impacting all sorts of things such as medical decisions, insurance, banking, immigration, legal rights, parental rights and responsibilities. It might not be an issue for most couples most of the time but it will come up in some cases. After all, it's something some gay couples have fallen foul of and a factor in their fight for full legal recognition.
The issue with same-sex couples wasn't so much the rights, responsibilities and protections -- civil unions could've covered that. It was about being truly equal and having that equality recognized by having their relationship sanctioned identically to opposite-sex couples. A nation in which the state does not license marriage would have seen no such inequality.