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?
If they were smart, they’d be throwing it back in the libs favorite expression ‘separation of Church and State’
Much like anything else they’ve got their slimy claws into or nose under the tent, Fedzilla has no business, nor Constitutional authority, to be in most areas of our lives.
Well, as I said a bit earlier up - all three concepts came into the Law together. The Federal government has the power to regulate marriage - but it doesn’t have the right to define it. Same as with Habeaus Corpus and Trial by Jury, fwiw.
I agree, too many people seem to think The State has anything to do with their marriage.
Anyone allows the State to define their marriage is subjecting their marriage to becoming as screwed up as everything else the Government touches.
Marriage is a union between one man, one woman, and God. It was not until just before the 20th century that progressives got the idea to try and butt Government’s corrupting head in between with marriage licences.
It was wrong & corrupting then and its just as wrong & corrupting of the institution now.
Yes, it absolutely would apply to gays, siblings, parents, and I suppose good friends. I don’t understand your question. They’d have to prove it the same way straight couples do.
I like your theory, but I think you’re a bit off (not in a bad way :D); I’d say we survived well enough on a more (L) principle until the 1900’s.
You were on your own, or relied upon family/friends/etc. The Laws most readily coincided with the belief they should only exist if they infringe upon Rights, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness; I do not see that as mutually exclusive.
IMHO, it was the breaking of that link that allowed the explosive growth of the ‘it takes a village’ thinking law we have today. The bastardization of ‘thy brothers keeper’ = robbing Peter to pay Paul.
My contention is that the books should be rolled back, and if the law was needed, it should be re-instated every 10? years with no exclusions/exemptions
Back on topic, like other racist beginnings, marriage should never had been allowed gov’t ‘oversight’
But if they remove marriage from the equation, how is that trying to define it?
Right now when couples separate there's a legal mess (particularly if children are involved). That legal mess doesn't change whether or not there's been a marriage. There are still questions of support, property separation, and child custody.
Please explain why I couldn’t create a beneficiary of my SS or will it to my wife. The suggestion that only the government can handle this type of contract seems somewhat non-nonsensical to me.
Father and Mother for a child: I’m not quite sure why that, in law, must be tied to the governments issuing of marriage licenses. I seems self evident that not all Father and Mothers are married to begin with but certainly that doesn’t prevent the government from garnishing wages (In some communities this is quite an industry for the “Single Mothers”)
My husband and I bought the required marriage license, but were married by a Catholic priest in a ceremony before witnesses and guests-only after the priest had blessed our vows did we consider ourselves married-my opinion may be colored somewhat by my beliefs.
Let private attorneys draw up simple, standard contracts-divorce and custody issues, etc are based on a piece of paper that says absolutely nothing of import now-a marriage license-I produced mine to qualify for my late husband’s military benefits. That could just as easily have been a certificate from a church, temple, mosque, etc. asserting that we were married on such-and-such a date, before witnesses. In Texas, we still also have “common law marriage”.
How about if we let those issues you mention that revolve around a spousal contract continue to do so-but have the contract be a marriage performed by clergy-or one drawn up by a lawyer, in the case of atheists? The point being to get the government out of personal business-all they have done is drag us down the path to secularism and ridiculous “rights” that have no basis in anything but imagination.
RE; I dont understand your question. Theyd have to prove it the same way straight couples do.
Straight couples prove that they are married today by showing a marriage license from the governments of the countries they come from when they apply legally for immigration.
Since we’re talking about the US government not “recognizing” any marriage any longer, you told me that the criteria for immigration is to prove “dependence”.
I’m not sure if today’s immigration policy even recognizes such “proof of dependence”. all we have now are MARRIAGE LICENSES from a country.
My question for clarification purposes is this — how do you prove that you are dependent on someone when you come from a foreign country?
RE: That could just as easily have been a certificate from a church, temple, mosque, etc. asserting that we were married on such-and-such a date, before witnesses.
Well, that implies that the government still is in the business of recognizing marriages then.
I thought our discussion is about government totally getting away from the marriage business... and here we are, they’re still in it.
It says “the right to life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness”, not the guarantee thereof. Those rights mean different things to different people, so let’s not have more government guarantees of marriage of same gender, three or more, groups of pygmies, etc. Or the right not to ever be insulted by someone worshipping God in public, having a gun, etc. People have forgotten that there are no guarantees in life.
I really think the misinterpretation of that phrase has invited government into our personal lives to our detriment, and the only way to stop it is-well-to stop it-and it has to start somewhere.
I don't know. I suspect it would have to do with proving you shared the same household and were responsible for that person's support. I do know that my mother in law stayed in Ireland with her oldest son until my father in law could afford to bring them over here (two years). Maybe that's how it'll have to go. I'm not very familiar with immigration law at all. I do know that people who emigrate need to have a sponor here in the United States who is supposedly liable should the person end up insolvent or on assistance. I know, because I was asked to sponsor someone about four years ago. Upon reading the document, it looked like my personal assets would be on the line even if the person got sued and as I didn't even know the person coming over, I refused. I don't know if the document is a formality, but it shouldn't be. And as long that sort of responsibility is required to vouch for someone, then I don't see the problem.
RE: Please explain why I couldnt create a beneficiary of my SS or will it to my wife.
From the perspective of government not being in the business of marriage, I can see how everything becomes contractual.
If you are married to someone and you die, you have to SPECIFICALLY draw up a contract stating to Uncle Sam that your SS goes to her because a marriage license is now not recognized.
If God forbid, you divorce, you will have to create a different contract to designate your new beneficiary.
Government forms that have the box — Marital Status in them would also be gone.
It just implies that contract lawyers will be busier than ever before.
“What has radically changed in the last 230+ years” is an intrusive government that has been consistently enabled by whining sheep who can’t think for themselves, or pour pi-um-urine from a boot with instructions stamped on the heel.
The good sense that God gave us and the natural laws that have governed human civilization have not changed at all-they have just been ignored.
RE: I don’t know. I suspect it would have to do with proving you shared the same household and were responsible for that person’s support.
The only way we can prove this today is by a marriage license from the previous country of domicile.
Otherwise, anyone can just state that he or she shares the same household and have a recognized authority from that country draw it up and notarized.
But then I don’t see how that differs much from a marriage license. You still need some PROOF.
Whether you want to call it marriage or not, you still need to use a similar procedure.
Right. There are a lot of serious problems in the tax code and Rand is screwing up in going after marriage and family tax breaks. If he keeps it up, he’ll lose my interest...like his squirely dad.
Wow. The bloom sure came off the Rand Paul rose quick. Talk about, “shooting yourself in the foot.”
I happen to see a government role in promoting and supporting the traditional family unit. It sounds to me like Paul is running scared from the Democrat sodomite “mainstream” newsrooms and the rest of the militant faggot lobby.
The certificate would take the place of those marriage licenses issued by government now-and since the government didn’t issue it, there is the added benefit of depriving some overpaid, unionized civil clerks of a job because they are not needed-more money for parks and to fix the roads.
You brought up the spousal/marriage issues like divorce covered by a civil contract marriage-I’m just advocating putting those issues into the hands of the clergy and common law, rather than a government beauracracy.
On a related but lighter note-when her husband worked in El Paso, my grandmother had a friend who was an orthodox Jew. When the husband wanted a divorce, the return of things like dowries, separate possessions, that are dictated by the Torah came into play, secular law be damned.
RE: The certificate would take the place of those marriage licenses issued by government now-and since the government didnt issue it
My point is this — just because the government did not issue it, does not mean that they are out of the business entirely.
When one has to “recognize” something, that implies one DECIDES to make it legal and legitimate.
I’m not sure how that solves the problem of churches and religious institutions and devout businessmen being forced to recognize gay marriages or even polygamy ( if God forbid, that ever comes into play ).
Our constitution has the “equal Protection” clause which liberals have redefined to mean many things other than what it was originally intended for.
Say, a gay man sues a Christian employer because he refuses to provide medical benefits for his spouse because the employer does not believe in gay marriage....
How does the government ( which is still in the business of marriage recognition, but not issuing ) react to this?
The gay man can argue that if you recognize my marriage and their marriage, by law, I need equal protection and you still have to force my employer to provide my “spouse” benefits.
This still does not solve the problem Rand Paul says he wants to solve.
Unless we do one thing -— WE ADD AN AMENDMENT TO SAY THAT NO COMPANIES OR BUSINESSES WILL BE FORCED TO RECOGNIZE MARRIAGES THEIR CONSCIENCES AND RELIGION TELL THEM NOT TO.
I can see how this will cause a huge backlash in our courts.
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