Civil marriage represents state intrusion into the social institution of marriage which has existed even before the state in all cultures. Ultimately the state as a monopolistic organization seeking to impose an order beneficial to itself on the population in its territory must view all other societies (particularly families and churches or religions) as potential competition to it. Therefore these other societies must be either subjugated to the state or else destroyed.
The family has been attacked on many fronts:
- Inheritance laws that dilute property ownership and remove freedom from the family to decide how property should be passed on.
- Laws that restrict cousins from marrying.
- Laws that restrict freedom to marry someone of another race.
- Attacking the integrity of the family through social support programs that remove the economic reasons that individuals marry and form families in the first place.
The reasons for civil marriage are as well completely lacking. Ease of divorce does not provide any meaningful protection to wronged spouses who do not want a marriage to end nor to children who are hurt by having to live in two households. Common ownership of property discourages people from marrying in the first place, especially in cases where one of the spouses is much wealthier than the other, given that risk that the marriage could end in divorce and one spouse might manipulate the system to get most of the property. (In this way, civil marriage also can perpetuate poverty by hampering attempts to “marry up” between wealth classes.)
At the same time, unmarried men are still required by the law to materially support their offspring; civil marriage is not needed to provide for this. Inheritance law, insofar as it considers marriage, is likewise an intrusion on the human right to own property.
Nothing of the changes that a civil marriage creates which many couples would desire are things that could not be done in another way. Common ownership of property, common responsibility for debts — these are things that are already covered more flexibly in laws on creating business and voluntary associations. A right to decide on medical care or other issues on behalf of a spouse could be easily handled through granting power of attorney, and again in a way that would allow flexibility to meet individual circumstances. If in some countries there are not ways to do this outside of marriage, that needs to change.
One thing seems not already covered by existing laws — immigration rights. At present, marriage is a way for a single citizen to bring in a foreigner of their choosing. The current system, in fact, is absurd — why should a permanent sexual relationship be the only reason to allow an individual citizen arbitrary freedom to grant to a foreigner permanent residence and eventual citizenship? Could not much of the debate over immigration be alleviated if citizens, without regard to marital status, be given an equal privilege to grant a foreigner the right to immigrate here, on conditions similar to what prevails for foreigners that are “marrying in”? For example, that the foreigner must reside for a certain number of years with that citizen, must not be using social services, after 6 years may apply for citizenship, at which point, becoming a citizen, the foreigner no longer needs to continue residing at the same residence. A restriction could be as well that a new citizen may not sponsor any foreigner for 16 years, just as a born in Slovakia citizen is not able to marry until the 16th year of age.
How to move on?
All across the western world, highly charged debates, political conflict, and legal battles have been waged over “gay marriage”. There are great differences of belief in what marriage is, but I think it is better to get to the point, which is that in a totalitarian democracy like Slovakia, like the United States and most of the rest of the western world, issues that really should be live-and-let-live instead are turned in to life-or-death situations by both right and left wing progressives (an ideology which comes from the American pietist religious movement of the 19th century), who wish to force their utopias on everyone else through the violence of the state, both in extracting wealth from others to support their ways of life (taxation) or even imprisoning those who who think and live differently and do not wish to be forced in to involuntary cooperation with others. This is the core of the problem, not whether two men can call their living and sex arrangement a marriage, but rather what supposed “rights” they can have over those who think such an arrangement is absurd. At the same time, homosexuals find it blatantly unfair, that those living in a registered sexual relationship with someone of the opposite sex are granted some special privileges. And they live in the shadow of laws that not too many decades ago criminalized their sexual behavior, therefore all the more reason to push ahead in promoting their idea of normal as a way to be certain that they won’t be getting thrown into jail.
The solution to all of the political conflict is only political decentralization. Where there are issues that 100% of people can’t agree on, then that issue should fall under the jurisdiction of a more local government, whatever form or size is necessary for 100% agreement. In other words, a group of people might secede in whole or in part from the government they are presently under, because of irreconcilable differences. Technologically, it is quite possible to have even overlapping jurisdictions and methods of voting to accept for oneself or one’s property certain binding laws. Progressives can form their own communities and neighborhoods and bind themselves to try out their own vision of utopia. A great deal of us would prefer to live with no more rules than a respect for the property rights of others (which includes the right to self-ownership / right to life). Even here there might be differences over the details, which is fine, again further decentralization on those issues would work.