We can soon expect blatant challenges to the very constitutionality of marriage itself.
The recent overturning of Proposition 8 in California is not a civil rights victory for same sex marriage proponents as much as it is a precursor to the abolition of any and all civil marriages.
If same sex marriage becomes the law of the land, anti-discrimination lawsuits by single individuals are inevitable, and with that, the end of state recognition of marriage entirely.
This impending scenario is reinforced by President Obama’s regulatory czar Cass Sunstein in a 2008 book co-authored with Richard Thaler entitled Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness.
In it they argue openly against state-sanctioned marriage, claiming it discriminates against singles. Their trap is neatly set with specious claims of a new “libertarian” future allowing freer associations with the “privatization” of marriage.
What they do not say is that this would require the abolition of laws that, among other things, protect husbands and wives from being forced to testify against each other in court.
The California ruling is the nudge they are looking for. It states in part that "Proposition 8 increases costs and decreases wealth for same sex couples because of increased tax burdens, decreased availability of health insurance and higher transactions costs to secure rights and obligations typically associated with marriage.”
Simply replace the term “same sex couples” with “singles” and you have a ready-made argument for the abolition of state-sanctioned marriage. The burdens of singles vis-à-vis married individuals become far starker with same-sex marriage in place, due to the absence – without even a theory -- of children as implicit in the marital union. Such decisions can now be used to argue with precedent that singles are being denied equal protection under the law simply because they do not have partners.
Civil marriage – and with it, any freely lived private life - cannot survive this. Most people still agree that marriage is the basis around which a family life is built. But few recognize that legal protection of our families from state intrusion is the only effective buffer between our private lives and an ever-encroaching bureaucratic state that serves to isolate us as individuals.
Such a state severely weakens our personal relationships by making us more dependent upon and pimped by bureaucrats who seek to own us.
Most chilling is the fact that the end of marriage privileges would require the end of our right to refuse to testify against our spouse. Without legal recognition of marriage, the government could compel any and all testimony: Presumed husband against presumed wife, wife against husband, child against parent, parent against child.
This is not science fiction. It is a totalitarian reality in many parts of the world today. Watch the 2006 film The Lives of Others to get a glimpse of this state of affairs just 20 years ago in East Germany.
The one stubborn fact and solid argument for government recognition of marriage is this: The heterosexual union is the only means by which any citizen can come into existence.
It does not matter whether this union occurs traditionally or artificially or in a petri dish – or even at all. However, the acceptance of same-sex marriage forces us to throw away this premise and replace it with nothing. Nothing.
And lest you argue that romantic love ever had anything to do with government recognition of marriage, I have some swampland in the Age of Chivalry I’d like to sell you.
The role of the heterosexual union in creating a government’s citizenry is the only compelling reason for a free people to require their government to recognize a marital union. (The ability or intent of a heterosexual couple to have children is irrelevant. The above premise is as valid in theory as it is in practice, across the heterosexual board.)
Many are caught up in the politics of the moment and reject this argument as outdated and quaint. However, facts are indeed stubborn things. They tend to gain clarity in time, especially in the context of any chaos we invite into our future.
In the meantime, our understanding of civil marriage is in a downward spiral leading to raw concentration of government power over the lives of individuals. If we do not reverse this trend, the civil rights of all citizens – no matter their perspective - will be short-lived.
Stella Morabito is a free-lance writer who focuses on issues of culture, society and education.