Monday, April 04, 2005

Gay marriage and equality

As I mentioned in the previous post, I think the stronger argument for gay marriage is not that it is not allowed right now, but that it is not given equal legal treatment as traditional marriage.

To answer this equality rationale, I looked first at the reason why traditional marriage is privilged legally in the first place, and found a legitimate government interest in propagating society (note, by "propagating society" I mean more than the physical reproduction--I also mean the transmission of norms, traditions, mores, manners, beliefs, ideals, etc to the next generation--basically the creation of future, model citizens, at which I think the traditional family structure is unparalleled). This compelling government interest is not found in gay marriage, therefore it should not be equally legally privileged.

This is not to demean the marriage of gays (insofar as such a proposition is spiritually or semantically possible). This is why I said it was a "subsidy" of marriage, to legally privilege it as such. For example, if the government decides to subsidize wheat production, because they say we need more of it, but not corn production, does this demean corn production, or say that it is morally "wrong" or legally impermissible? No; it merely means that government has an interest in the former, but not in the latter.

In this way, I don't think equality is violated in the gay marriage issue.

At a more basic level, since I believe gay marriage to be an absurdity, it is no violation of equality to not treat gay marriage as regular marriage. As I've stated previously, equality does not mandate the like treatment of unlikes, so if gay marriage is not like real marriage (which must be admitted by everybody at some level) then it is not entitled to exactly the same treatment. What treatment it is entitled to is up for debate.


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