As the carousel buffet of political issues continues to turn – Benghazi-gate, gun control, immigration “reform,” women in combat – the hottest dish in D.C. right now is the Supreme Court’s hearing of arguments over same-sex marriage issues.
While anything is possible from a court that ruled Obamacare to be constitutional, one would like to believe it will rule that gay people do not need special protection from discrimination. It is not the government’s business to provide special protection to anyone – not gays, not women, not the elderly, not any racial or ethnic group. On the contrary, it’s the government’s job to provide equal protection for everyone, regardless of race, creed, religious beliefs, sexual preference, or other.
Thus, the whole premise of gays needing special protection is false. When 21-year-old Matthew Shepard, a gay University of Wyoming student, was tortured to death by two thugs in 1998, it was a horrific crime that shocked the nation. It immediately led to a national debate about “hate crimes,” which ultimately led to Congress’s passing the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
The whole notion of special punishment for crimes involving the emotion of hate is, of course, absurd. Just as outlawing guns doesn’t stop criminals from acquiring and using them, neither do hate-crime laws prevent hateful people from hating – and from turning that hate into violence.
Matthew Shepard did not deserve to die, regardless of whether he was gay or straight. But it’s hard to imagine how a hate-crime law would have thwarted his murderers from brutally killing him. The fact is that most homicides involve hate.
Gay couples already have the same rights as everyone else in our society – the right to pursue their own happiness, the right to their life and property, the right to self-defense, and so on.
A more likely point of attack for the Supreme Court would be for it to rule that the federal government must provide gay married couples with the same benefits it gives to heterosexual married couples. Again, however, this argument is based on a false premise – the premise that the current tax code, with its mountains of exceptions and special deductions, is morally or legally valid. It is not.
If all citizens were treated equally – in the case of taxation, treated as equal slaves – the same percentage of every person’s income would be taken by the government, regardless of their income or marital status. Ten percent would be a nice round figure. You make a million dollars a year, you pay $100,000. You make $30,000 a year, you pay $3,000.
Ditto with all other special privileges for married couples. Please don’t misunderstand me. I’m not advocating making life harder for those who are married. What I’m getting at is that the gay-marriage issue obscures the real problem – that most of the laws and regulations on the books are unconstitutional to begin with. If there were no special privileges – no federal benefits of any kind – the Supreme Court would have no need to hear debate about whether the federal law denying benefits to same-sex couples is constitutional.
Early on, when Barack Obama was faking most of his positions, he asserted that the federal government has no business being involved in the issue of marriage. I actually agreed with him on something!
But that raises the question, should even state or local governments be involved in marriage? The libertarian side of me says no. Who anyone marries is none of any government’s business. That being the case, one is tempted to say that the state of California is right in refusing to enforce Proposition 8, the voter initiative that bans gay marriage.
There’s also the issue of tyranny of the majority. Should a majority have the power to take away the rights of a minority, which is really what Prop 8 is all about? It always gets down to the same issue: anarchy or tyranny, choose one. Though it drives self-styled anarchists up a wall, the reality is that an advanced civilization cannot exist without a generally accepted code of conduct.
Thus, the real question is what is the best way to keep tyranny of the majority to a minimum and still have a civilized society? Even the founders knew that the best answer to this question was to resolve as many issues as possible on a local level.
If a small locality outlaws gay marriage because a majority of its residents do not want to have same-sex married couples living in their community, gays who want to be married are free to move to another community. By the same token, if a gay community does not want straight people living in their community, so be it. It’s called live and let live.
If you want to see how this works in real life, just look at certain areas of Utah and Arizona where polygamy runs rampant. The authorities turn a blind eye to it, because the polygamists rarely bother anyone outside their own communities.
It’s tough being a libertarian-centered conservative. Unlike those on the far right and the far left, we admit that there are no perfect answers in life. But this I know for certain: Keeping the government out is a good start to resolving any problem in a peaceful manner. There’s a good reason why “I’m from the government, and I’m here to help you” has been a standard joke line for decades.
It will be interesting to see what the black-robe brigade that ruled Obamacare to be constitutional comes up with for gay marriage.