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Sunstein: Marriage discriminates against singles

Cass Sunstein

TEL AVIV – Marriage discriminates against single people, bringing the latter “serious” disadvantages, argued Cass Sunstein, President Obama’s regulatory czar.

“Official marriage licenses also have the unfortunate consequence of dividing the world into the status of those who are ‘married’ and those who are ‘single,’ in a way that produces serious economic and material disadvantages, ” wrote Sunstein and co-author Richard Thaler in their 2008 book, “Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness.”

In the book – obtained and reviewed by WND – Sunstein explained he opposes state sanctioning of marriage in part because it discriminates against those who are not married.

“Many of these economic and material inequalities (brought about by marriage) are difficult to defend,” Sunstein wrote. “Private relationships, intimate and otherwise, might be structured in many different ways, and the simple dichotomy between ‘single’ and ‘married’ does not do justice to what people might choose.”

“Why not leave people’s relationships to their own choices, subject to the judgments of private organizations, religious and otherwise?” added Sunstein.

WND reported last week that in the same book, Sunstein strongly urged that the U.S. government abolish its sanctioning of marriage. Sunstein proposed the concept of marriage become privatized, with the state only granting civil-union contracts to couples wishing to enter into an agreement.

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Sunstein explained marriage licensing is unnecessary, pointing out people stay committed to organizations like country clubs and homeowner associations without any government interference.

“Under our proposal, the word marriage would no longer appear in any laws, and marriage licenses would no longer be offered or recognized by any level of government,” wrote Sunstein.

Sunstein explained his approach would ensure that “the only legal status states would confer on couples would be a civil union, which would be a domestic-partnership agreement between any two people.”

He proposed marriage not be recognized by the government. Marriages would instead be “strictly private matters, performed by religious and other private organizations,” he wrote.

“Governments would not be asked to endorse any particular relationships by conferring on them the term marriage,” added Sunstein.

Sunstein slammed current government recognition of marriage as “an official license scheme.”

“When the state grants marriage it gives both material and symbolic benefits to the couples it recognizes. But why combine the two functions? And what is added by the term marriage?” he asked.

Sunstein explained terminating the issuance of state marriage contracts would not affect the commitments of those in the “partnership.”

“People take their private commitments serious,” Sunstein wrote. “Members of religious organizations, homeowners’ associations and country clubs all feel bound, sometimes quite strongly, by the structures and rules of such organizations.”