Let’s turn now to a hotly contested contemporary issue: the question of same sex marriage. It’s a prominent issue in the United States. Several American states now permit gay marriage; many others allow for civil unions or civil partnerships. These are arrangements that stop short of marriage but grant legal protections, inheritance rights, hospital visitation rights, child custody arrangements and so on to unmarried partners of the same sex who live together. So here’s the question: should the state recognise gay marriage on the same basis as marriage between a man and a woman? Some people say yes and argue for same sex marriage on what they claim are neutral, non-judgemental grounds. Whether one personally approves or disapproves of gay and lesbian relationships, individuals should be free to choose their marital partners. Now if this argument is a sufficient basis for according state recognition to same sex marriage, then it’s true - the issue can be resolved without entering into controversies about the purpose of marriage and the moral status of homosexual relationships. But the case for same sex marriage can’t be made on neutral or non-judgemental grounds. Here’s why. The debate over same sex marriage is fundamentally a debate about whether gay and lesbian unions are worthy of the honour and recognition that in our society state sanctioned marriage confers, so the underlying moral question is unavoidable. To see why this is so, it’s important to bear in mind that the state can take three possible positions toward marriage, not just two. First, it can recognise marriage only between a man and a woman, though perhaps offering gay men and lesbians civil partnerships, as the UK currently does. That’s policy one. Or policy two: it can recognise same sex marriage on an equal basis with heterosexual marriage, as my home state of Massachusetts has done. Or three: it could decline to recognise marriage of any kind and leave this role to private associations and religious communities. Now the third policy is purely hypothetical. As far as I know, no state or country has renounced marriage as a government function. But policy three is the ideal libertarian solution to the marriage debate. It doesn’t abolish marriage, but it does abolish marriage as a state sanctioned institution.
Michael Kinsley, an opinion journalist with libertarian sympathies, defends this policy, this third option, as a way out of what he sees as a hopeless argument over marriage. The solution, Kinsley writes, is to end the institution of government sanctioned marriage or to privatise marriage. Here’s how he puts it. Quote: Let churches and other religious institutions continue to offer marriage ceremonies. Let department stores and casinos get into the act if they want. And, yes, if three people want to get married or one person wants to marry herself and someone else wants to conduct a ceremony and declare them married, let ’em. That’s Kinsley. So he proposes in effect to replace all state sanctioned marriages, gay and straight, with civil partnerships.
Понял про себя, что я, наверное, либертарианец, потому что ничего не зная о Кинсли, придерживался ровно такого же мнения.Только я полагал, что это называется пофигизм — выкидывание отживших традиций с корабля истории, — а это называется либертарианство :-)
(И еще неспособность подавляюшего большинства пишущего люда рассуждать как academics вроде Сандела: спокойно, взвешенно, с одной стороны, с другой стороны, историческая аналогия, современная аналогия, и проч. — удручает.)