Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Restricts Your Rights

Questions of love, tolerance, morality and government power intersect in the arguments about gay marriage. It is a polarizing issue because it feels like there is no room for compromise. It is difficult to separate our desire for tolerance and love from our belief in a government that shouldn't meddle in personal affairs. For this reason it is important to understand that legalizing same-sex marriage will materially restrict rights because it surrenders to government the power to define and enforce even society's most deeply held values.

Closer to a State Religion

Legalizing same sex marriage puts the nation on the road to creating a state religion. You may not have to attend a state church, but you do have to pay for it, and you can't oppose its tenets.

Government support of an issue is not neutral. It is coercive. When actions are codified as "rights" people's ability to argue that they are immoral becomes restricted. In an instant, everybody has to support the values the government has prescribed, and arguing against them brings the risk of fines or imprisonment. Tolerance shouldn't require that I support things I may find morally wrong. Tolerance simply requires that I not persecute people who do those things.

Different Issues

Legalizing same sex marriage inadvertently addresses a more fundamental issue than whether same sex couples should be allowed to live together, love each other or share experiences. With or without legislation they can have legitimate, loving relationships, protected from persecution and violence. Homosexual couples are under the same restrictions and inconveniences as heterosexual couples that do not choose to marry (which is a growing number). The real question that a law on marriage addresses is what standards a relationship must meet in order to enjoy certain societal benefits. This debate is not fundamentally about the legal rights of gays; it is about society's values.

If government has the authority to define those values by defining what marriage fundamentally is, what are its limits in moral issues? If the government is allowed to enforce morals (even if we may support them), it will have precedent to enforce morals we may disagree with later. We cannot risk assigning government to police our values.

Society vs. Government

The line between society and government is blurring. There is growing belief that if something is morally good, government should enforce it, and if something is morally wrong, government should forbid it. But it is wholly possible to believe in tolerance and love while still believing government should not require us to be tolerant and loving.

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