Skip to comments.Rand Paul: Letís get marriage out of the tax code
Posted on 03/14/2013 7:41:29 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
This isn't news because it's novel for a Paul to be saying such things --- his dad once called for getting the government out of marriage on a GOP presidential primary debate stage --- but because of Rand Paul's growing prominence in the GOP. If he could rally a hawkish party to oppose the president's power to use drones against terrorists in certain circumstances, can he rally a socially conservative party to find an accommodation on gay marriage?
Paul says foreign policy is an instrumental way to expand the GOP, but its not the only way. Social issues are another area where he thinks Republicans can make a better argument to independents and centrists without departing from their principles. Gay marriage, for instance, is one issue on which Paul would like to shake up the Republican position. Im an old-fashioned traditionalist. I believe in the historic and religious definition of marriage, he says. That being said, Im not for eliminating contracts between adults. I think there are ways to make the tax code more neutral, so it doesnt mention marriage. Then we dont have to redefine what marriage is; we just dont have marriage in the tax code.
I assume that’s part of a broader ambition to make marriage a wholly private function, which is vintage Paul insofar as it’s a clever attempt to sell libertarian wine in conservative bottles. He does the same thing vis-a-vis foreign aid to Israel: Cutting aid will actually lead to more robust Israeli self-defense because Israel will no longer feel obliged to seek American approval when responding to Hamas. I’ve seen other libertarians and paleocons argue for cutting aid to Tel Aviv and, needless to say, the idea that it might make Israel more aggressive towards its enemies was … not a key factor in their reasoning, to put it mildly. Likewise here, most libertarians support making marriage a matter of private contract not because they feel angst about “redefining marriage” — the ones I know are all perfectly fine with, if not enthusiastic about, states legalizing SSM — but because it’s a move towards smaller government, especially on moral issues. Paul, however, is pitching this as a sort of escape hatch for social conservatives who don’t want to see blue states or the Supreme Court lend the imprimatur of American government to gays marrying. He supports traditional marriage; he doesn’t want to see marriage redefined. So … why not eliminate state sanction from marriage entirely? Indeed, why not, says Jen Rubin:
If we were starting a system from scratch, I suspect that would be an easier sell. But getting the federal government out of the marriage business, deferring to the states and allowing individuals to, as he says, enter into contracts with one another, can be the way out of the gay marriage thicket for the GOP, I would argue.
The Supreme Court, depending on its ruling in the same-sex marriage cases, may assist this process by striking down the Defense of Marriage Act, the biggest aggrandizement of federal power on marriage in my lifetime (maybe ever).
Conservatives understand that there is a realm of conduct left to churches, synagogues, families, localities and individuals. The essence of Burkean conservatism is a healthy regard for and respect for those realms and for the customs, habits and beliefs that flow from those free associations. Whatever the methodology, conservatives at the national level need to extract themselves from a losing battle that should not be within the purview of the federal government.
That bit at the end is another reason this is newsworthy: The timing is propitious. Ten years ago, social cons laughed at libertarians for suggesting that marriage go completely private. Ten years later, with several states having legalized gay marriage, poll trends among young voters promising more legalization, and the Supreme Court poised to extend marriage rights to gays as a matter of equal protection, maybe they’ll consider it the lesser of two evils. See, e.g., Frank Fleming’s piece at PJM arguing that marriage is, after all, a religious custom and the state has no business trying to reconfigure religious customs. Better to leave marriage entirely within the private realm so that churches can protect their traditions. The timing’s propitious too in that the GOP’s desperate for ways to build goodwill with younger voters and Paul’s ploy is one likely way of doing it. It’s similar to what Mitch Daniels said about pot a few months ago: The GOP doesn’t need to endorse legalization, all it needs to do is let the power to decide devolve to a more local level of government. In the case of marijuana, Daniels pushed federalism as a solution. In the case of marriage, Paul’s pushing private contract, i.e. self-government at the individual level, as the answer. In both cases, the GOP gets to punt on a hot-button issue in a way that, maybe hopefully, won’t alienate social conservatives. They’re not backing weed and SSM; they’re merely striking a blow for limited government by letting people decide for themselves.
All that said, and as someone who supports legalizing gay marriage, I’ve never understood why social cons would go for this. At the core of the anti-SSM argument, as I understand it, is the belief that man/woman marriage is qualitatively different from gay unions; barring gays from marrying under state law is a way to recognize that difference. It’s not that state sanction operates as some sort of “benediction” for straights, it’s that it a mechanism of differentiation with all other types of unions. If you move to Paul’s paradigm where everything’s a matter of contract, there’s no longer any such mechanism. Every couple with a private agreement is effectively equal; the state will enforce an agreement between gays just as it will an agreement between straights. How does that satisfy the social-con objection to SSM? Likewise, some conservatives support state sanction of marriage because they believe the state has a role in promoting marriage as a social good and domesticating force. I’ve always thought that was a good argument for gay marriage too, but we needn’t argue about that; the point is, if the state gets out the marriage business it’s no longer officially promoting anything. And finally, if you’re worried about gay marriage for fear that it’s another step down the cultural slippery slope towards polygamy, why on earth would you favor a paradigm of private contract? A multi-party contract would place polygamous groups on the same legal footing as couples. If polygamy’s your chief concern, you’re probably much better off sticking with state-sanctioned marriage and taking your chances with the Supreme Court. Exit question: What am I missing here? Any social conservatives want to make the case for why Paul’s right?
Because they have a significant hold over our media.
One cannot really run a society on pure libertarian principles. It just won’t work.
Eventually, the “shoulds” and “oughts” of human life will get in the way.
The moment you have LAWS, you are implicitly admitting that certain moral principles must be adhered to by society whether individuals like it or not.
And these LAWS will depend on what Moral Values ( i.e. First Principles ) society adheres to. It can be informed by Christianity, Islam, Buddhism or Atheism, but you cannot escape or avoid adhering to something.
Rand is right, as far as I’m concerned-the fed has no business in what is a religious ritual/sacrament at all, period-it has become a slippery slope.
I was taught that marriage is a sacrament-not a celebration of signing a contract at a courthouse. I don’t see the word “marriage” in the constitution listed as an inalienable right, either-leave it to the religious institutions to define what marriage is or is not. I believe it is the only way to stop the government meddling in church business.
This where Rand Paul is destructine and not a conservative. Obviously he doesn’t believe in the natural law as our founders did. Why o why has the natural law changed in some way? I’m not sure you can call yourself a Christian and support the destruction of society and the family.
but the media doesn’t have a significant hold on anyone, does it?
The other thing about the “get government out of the marriage business” position is that it is absolutely cowardly and shows a real lack of courage to defend what is right and good about America.
It's not for nothing that members of the homosexual lobby and the abortion lobby are always found at each other's fund-raisers. The abortionists, as O'Keefe showed, serve the needs of pimps who run under-age girls, for which they are reimbursed with taxpayer dollars for "indigent women" under Title X. The homosexual males want to legalize and expand their trade in young boys. Lesbians are along for the ride, undermining marriage for the sake of sticking it to less-damaged women who were able to bond with men.
The law is not just a teacher. It's an enabler. It needs to be made to enable good, rather than utter evil.
I really don’t know what the answer is to this mess, but wouldn’t individual states already honor contracts between individuals on pretty much this sort of thing?
so you’re all for government intervention as long as you agree with what they are intervening. Got it.
I’ve had this argument for as long as I can remember. If the tax system were flat then the government wouldn’t need to care who is married. It should rightfully be a decision of the Church or other institutions to decide what marriage is and who can be married. I’m sure the true believers don’t accept gay “marriage” as a part of a perfect plan of the almighty. Support for gay “marriage” in the context of religious institutions would necessarily plummet.
marriage is not religious under the law.
using religion to argue marriage surrenders the debate to the left in total. for law, logic trumps mere faith.
Logic is the rule here. Marriage is about family and what is a legal family for the furtherance of society. Child production, child raising, pathernity and maternity, inheritance, and property rights.
marriage is a commonon law institution. It is not a legislative fiction. Any legislative change can only be narrowly construed. For example adoption does not exist at common law, thus all adoption law is a legislative act and narrowly construed.
Society rewards the institution not the individual recreational sex.
There is no love test in the constitution either.
There is no international tourism law.
There is no immigration law in the constitution.
logic must rule, faith is a tool of the enemy (ala the left saying christians must always surrender to the lions)
What has radically changed in the last 230+ years with regards to the natural law that the founders fully belived in that warrants this radical chabge in the way that government respects and acknowledges traditions and beliefs of almost every human civilization? Nothing.
It goes beyond that. They see it as just and freeing if children down to the preschool level are taught that they can be whatever sex—or something otherwise or in between, that they’d like to be. I’ve come across that argument already.
RE: as far as Im concerned-the fed has no business in what is a religious ritual/sacrament at all, period-it has become a slippery slope.
Let’s put our thinking caps on for a while.
Let’s say that the term “marriage” is not longer an institution the government ( Fed or State or local ) recognizes.
How does the government administer laws like immigration, spousal contracts, divorce, social security, etc. if we do away with the recognition of marriage?
Does the government regulate private contracts thru the public courts or not? Is not the contract between husband and wife the most important contract that can be put into force?
I agree with you - what do we do about Social Security spousal benefits? I see that as the only real problem
I TOLD YOU ALL
HE IS NOT A CONSERVATIVE!
HIS POLITICAL PHILOSOPHY IS BASED ON IMMORALITY, NOT FREEDOM
LICENSE, NOT LIBERTY!
Last time I check Sodomy is not a crime.. I take it you want the Government to arrest people who does Sodomy???
The only one of those that's a problem is Social Security. Divorce (division of property) is already common among Hollywood's unmarried. I would like to know how SS would be handled if the Fed got out of the marriage business (which I think they should).
If the institution of marriage and raising a family isn’t directly implied in the phrase “life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” I don’t know what is.
Goddamn. Rand, what a moron.
Why are we capitulating on one of our most important issues?
Cross him off the list for 2016. He coulda been a contender.