No, Fellow Patriot, You Can’t Get the State Out of Marriage

Barb Wire

There are three kinds of people nowadays advocating that states get out of the marriage business altogether.

One group is just using this terminology to camouflage the fact they’re really pro-homosexuality, and they just don’t want the conservatarian crowd they’ve aligned themselves with to know it while they infiltrate their ranks.

The next group is made up of politicians more concerned about earning the approval of the secular/liberal media than they are honoring their sworn oaths of office, or their own voters, so this is their attempt to punt rather than fight. They clumsily adopt this position with tortured statements that make them look like they’ve never seriously thought about the purpose behind the oldest institution of God’s created order.

While attempting to be wise they come across as fools on this issue. The third and final group is people who genuinely want to see the power of the state over our lives, liberty, and pursuit of happiness put back within its original Constitutional limits. It is to this third group I am writing this column. Since the first group is frauds, and the second group is gutless, I prefer to spend my time speaking to those who are honest and critical thinkers.

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If you’re going to advocate the state get completely out of the marriage business, you need to understand what it is you’re really asking. People repeat the “get the state out of marriage” mantra as if this is as simple as waving a magic wand.

But it’s not that simple at all.

Consider you cannot remove the marriage question from the state completely, unless you are willing to also remove probate courts and divorce courts as well and put them back in the hands of the church and not the state. Then you’d also have to completely reform the tax code and tax law, since much of that is also based on marital status. Then you still have the question regarding things like spousal privilege (i.e. you can’t be compelled to testify against your spouse in open court). If folks are going to retain that right, don’t we have to first know what a “spouse” is?

I think many people that are sincerely advocating the state get out of the marriage business don’t really understand the depth of what it is they are asking. You are essentially asking us to return to a pre-Civil War civilization (the first government-issued marriage licenses occurred in the mid-1800s). Therefore, it would take a greater uprooting of our current understanding of Americanism than elimination of sacrosanct entitlement programs would. The state’s regulation of marriage is older and far more embedded than even the welfare state itself. It would be easier to privatize social security than it would be to de-regulate marriage.

Thus, if you really would prefer the state get out of the marriage business altogether, it’s not the simple route to diffusing the hot-button political battle over marriage that threatens to rip apart the Republican Party at the seams. Quite the contrary, it is the most radical and difficult to implement solution of them all. Ironically enough, because the church would have to step in to fill the void left by the state in most of these situations (including divorce and child custody cases), this solution would actually empower religious institutions’ influence over the culture all the more.

Literally every aspect of American jurisprudence (tax law, probate law, criminal law, civil law, etc.) currently hinges on at least some understanding of the definition of marriage. You cannot remove the state from the marriage business as an a la carte option, but it would have to be a part of a sweeping reform package across the board.

For example, this would have to include a massive overhaul of the federal income tax code in place since the enactment of the 16th Amendment. Until those advocating the state get out of the marriage business altogether communicate they understand that, and what their plan is to implement those sweeping reforms, it’s a position that sounds great in the comments section of blogs and on Facebook walls but frankly is as likely as finding a pro-life Democrat in Washington, D.C.

But that’s not all.

Do we validate relationships Western Civilization, heavily influenced by Biblical moral teaching, has up until now said for over a thousand years were immoral, destructive, and counter-procreative? Do we understand the reasons why Western Civilization came to those conclusions? Do we allow the validation of these relationships to impose upon freedom of speech and religious liberty, which has happened in every other country that has gone down this road (and is already happening here)?

Here are just a few current examples of how redefining marriage and morality has turned the Constitution on its ear, and infringed upon the rights and liberties of others which have been recognized since the dawn of the republic:

• Lesbian mayor of Houston subpoenas sermons and private communications of pastors to defend her city ordinance removing gender from the city’s restrooms.
Military threatens Christian soldiers with court-martial for believing the Bible.
• Christian couple in New York facing $13,000 fine for refusing to rent out their own home to lesbians.

Good to see all those moderate Republicans we elected the past 30 years standing up for us, now that all those assaults on liberty we warned them about have finally arrived. Note the sarcasm, but I digress.

There are many more such anti-constitutional actions in the pipeline against Americans of religious conviction, which the First Amendment is supposed to protect us from. This was actually predicted several years ago by a Harvard study, so it’s no secret at all to anyone paying attention. All of these are merely the opening salvos of the end game for the Left here, which is the removal of the church in America from public observance and expression. But don’t just take my word for it, the Left admits as much when it’s forced to tell the truth.


Because whether it’s the Maccabees defying Antiochus Epiphanes, the Apostles defying Caesar, or the Founding Fathers telling King George III they have no King but Jesus, this is the same argument we’ve always had on this planet. There is nothing new under the sun. It’s the ongoing debate between free men and women who desire the blessing of living by God’s natural laws, and those who desire to live in opposition to those natural laws so their god is government.

Statists – whether they’re liberals, Marxists, or Progressives – have to silence the church and religious observance in a free society because we are what stands in the way of the state (their god) being supreme. Our mere existence is a reminder that our rights come from God, not government, and those in power will be judged in the next life by the same eternal standard as the powerless.

Maintaining the position of getting the state out of the marriage business altogether may be a noble aspiration, but if it doesn’t include rules of engagement for the current battlefront that threatens to undo our constitutional republic once-and-for-all, it is the culture war equivalent of the French hiding behind their Maginot Line.

Maybe you’re a libertarian, and you don’t think this is your fight. Be forewarned, if you don’t stand with us now, once the Left is done with us you will be made to care next. And we won’t be there to stand with you.

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Barb Wire.

Steve Deace
Steve Deace is one of the "Heavy Hundred" talk show hosts in America according Talkers Magazine. His influence in the first in the nation Iowa Caucuses has been profiled in much of the national media, and he's also a columnist for The Washington Times. His new book, out now and endorsed by a who's who of conservative leaders, is titled Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.

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