Friday, November 30, 2007

Racism and Marriage Licenses

Alex Tabarrok makes some good points over at MR about the hysteria surrounding gay marriage:

I think it's time to restore freedom of contract to marriage. Why should two men, for example, be denied the same rights to contract as are allowed to a man and a woman? Far from ending civilization the extension of the bourgeoisie concept of contract ever further is the epitome of civilization. Our modern concept of marriage, for example, is simply one instantiation of the idea of contract.
Alex cites this piece by Stephanie Coontz in the NYT, where she notes:

By the 1920s, 38 states prohibited whites from marrying blacks, “mulattos,” Japanese, Chinese, Indians, “Mongolians,” “Malays” or Filipinos. Twelve states would not issue a marriage license if one partner was a drunk, an addict or a “mental defect.” Eighteen states set barriers to remarriage after divorce.
I am usually hesitant to compare black/race issues with gay issues because I think the two are too often mistakenly conflated -- most often citing "just like blacks used to be" or some similar exaggeration. In the marriage debate, however, I think the comparison is completely fair. It is equally asinine to think that there is a legitimate public interest in precluding the benefits of a marriage contract between consenting adults whether they are of different races or of the same sex.

The 'sanctity of marriage' argument is just bullshit in the shape of a cross.

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