Marriage doesn’t need “to be regulated by the state at all,” say Republicans
by Ian Huyett
OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma Republicans are promoting a bill that could make marriage a private institution in their state. The legislation, filed by Rep. Mike Turner, could end all government regulation of marriage and leave the matter to individuals and their churches. The ACLU has called this attempt the first of its kind in the US.
In an interview with Oklahoma’s News9, Turner made a reasonable, liberty-minded case for his proposal, expressing skepticism as to whether “marriage needs to be regulated by the state at all.” He said there is a “realistic opportunity” for the effort to succeed.
Yet Oklahoma progressives are outraged by the proposal, which they say is an underhanded trick to avoid legal recognition of same-sex marriage. News9, apparently incapable of imagining of how marriage could exist without government, called Turner’s suggestion a “ban” on marriage that would throw “marriage altogether out the window.” An ACLU spokesman has condemned the effort as not being on “the right side of history.”
As a Christian, Turner has a good intellectual basis for divorcing marriage from the law. Renowned Christian apologist G.K. Chesterton said “It may be said that this institution of the home is the one anarchist institution. That is to say, it is older than law, and stands outside the State.” He believed that the two sexes “are glued together too tightly for us to get the blade of a legal penknife in between them.”
Likewise, I believe – like my home state’s College Republicans – that “It’s too bad that such a beautiful thing has been reduced to a document.”
Some secular libertarians have also called for getting the government out of marriage. Comedian Doug Stanhope has said “gay marriage is one of those trick arguments. Marriage should not be a legal institution. That’s the argument you should be having.”