Op-Ed: To Save Marriage, Conservatives Have to End Marriage


If defenders of traditional marriage are serious about preserving what is undoubtedly a necessary religious and societal institution, we need to embrace ending legal marriage as we know it in the United States.

To be clear, I’m not advocating we get rid of the idea of marriage altogether, but it’s time that we get the government out of the business of defining relationships. Simply put, there are too many liberals, moderates and even conservatives who are willing to flush centuries of tradition and precedent down the drain to keep fighting the losing fight of preserving marriage as between a man and a woman. That is, as long as government is involved. If we get government out of marriage entirely, we might have a fighting chance.

I’m not saying it will be easy. A gay Republican friend, upon hearing this idea, once told me that “if you think legalizing gay marriage is hard, just try to outlaw straight marriage.” Outlaw might not be the right word, but the role of the state and federal government needs to be diminished now, or else the institution will die to the will of the ignorant masses.

I’ve long argued that redefining marriage is actually a violation of the 1st Amendment’s establishment cause. Marriage has existed as a religious institution previous to existing as a legal institution, but the legal side of the gambit is now trying to redefine the religious side. That’s more in line with what Thomas Jefferson warned the Anabaptist’s about than any “seperation of church and state” argument I’ve heard out of the liberal left lately.

We need to end legal marriage and send the government back to doing simple contract law.

To be honest, I don’t care what you call the new contracts. We can quibble and argue over whether they should be “civil unions” or “domestic partnerships” or even “contractual living arrangements”. In the end we’re really talking about a tax arrangement, property co-ownership and end of life rights. All of these things can be handled by contracts without the word marriage ever coming up.

The government will obviously have a role in that, since Trent and Dylan will need the government to accept their jointly filed taxes, and arbitrate their inevitable divorce after that fateful day that the season finale of Glee coincided with the latest episode of the Real Housewives of God Knows Where. We can have the government handle those issues without deciding whether it’s a marriage, or a civil union or just two people having sex and taking advantage of their combined tax bracket.

If we’re going to protect marriage, it’s time we end it; legally. Let society, comprised of groups and individuals, figure out what they deem marriage. This whole process doesn’t need a government stamp of approval.