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Barb Wire

‘Get the Government Out of Marriage’ is a Red Herring, and Impossible

Among the countless excellent articles that were posted before BarbWire’s launch this past February, here are the introductions and links to four articles that address the notion that we can “privatize” marriage.

‘Get the Government Out of Marriage’ is a Red Herring
By Jennifer Johnson

A red herring is something that distracts people from the issue at hand. It allows people who are otherwise thoughtful and intelligent to not think about another topic too deeply. Libertarians often make claim to “get the government out of marriage,” but this ends up serving as a distraction from the real policy issue at hand. There are a several reasons I believe it’s a red herring, or at least an idea that people haven’t thought through too well.

Privatizing Marriage Is Impossible
By Jennifer Roback Morse

We cannot escape the fact that marriage is an intrinsically public institution. We can’t avoid making collective decisions about its meaning and purpose. If we don’t do it explicitly, we will end up doing it implicitly.

Privatizing Marriage Will Expand the Role of the State
By Jennifer Roback Morse

Libertarians are being taken in by rhetoric that sounds libertarian but, in fact, will lead to a dramatic shift in the balance of power between the state and civil society, indeed between the state and the natural order itself.

Privatizing Marriage Is Unjust to Children
By Jennifer Roback Morse

The primary business of the state is justice. Because children cannot be autonomous, adult society has an obligation in justice to provide institutional structures that protect their most basic interests.


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