By 2008 the national governments of Belgium, Netherlands, South Africa, Canada and Spain had legislated the re-definition of marriage to include same sex couples. Their politicians assumed that they had the right to change any law to suit a new purpose of government. Marriage indeed existed as a legal procedure but only as a corollary of the agreement between a man and a woman to unite in a conjugal relationship that usually resulted in a new family. This latter aspect carried legal implications regarding status of children and right of inheritance. Consequently, it was necessary for government to get involved in the process. Some politicians who are trying to engineer society in accordance with their liberal philosophy want to extrapolate from this subsidiary role to full control of the marriage institution. However, government does not own marriage as they do other institutions which they created. Marriage has existed since before any government in the world and has been, through the centuries, a de facto heterosexual rite. Therefore, the heterosexual population has the stronger claim to ownership of marriage. This ownership can be compared to a religious congregation’s ownership of its doctrine, a freemason’s ownership of its rituals, a professional association’s ownership of its membership criteria, a club’s ownership of its rules. Government would be overstepping its authority in legislating on these matters unless people’s rights were at stake. But people do not have a right to join an exclusive group just because they want to. Also, their right to equal benefit from legal systems is valid only if those systems were created by government and had no reason for being discriminatory. For example, the old age pension system should be available to any person of qualifying age. On the other hand, a professional engineers association, although supported by legislation, will be quite discriminating as to membership (engineers only) for the purpose of public safety. Government may not legislate that a church must accept atheists, that an association of professional sportspersons must accept amateurs, that a millionaires club must accept people of lesser wealth. They may not because government does not own these institutions. Yet, many politicians want to legislate that the heterosexual population must admit homosexual couples into their rite of marriage. Since, by virtue of millennia of precedent, marriage is owned by the heterosexual population, the proposition of including same sex couples should be submitted to the heterosexual population for concurrence. If affirmative, then suitable legislation can be passed. Options are available for those defeated in a referendum on the issue. Outvoted heterosexuals could set up their own version of marriage, distinct from universal marriage, that is exclusive. This option is especially relevant for religious groups who want to keep traditional marriage. If a referendum went against same sex marriage then the homosexual population could create an institution similar to marriage but having a different name. Such options are available to a free people who may, on the basis that each person owns himself/herself, set up an institution to manifest their common interest or orientation.
The right of people to join together for their own purpose is usually protected in law by the Right of Association. Unfortunately, an explanation of the full meaning and scope of this right is extremely hard to find, perhaps intentionally. Although included in the body of laws of Western countries since the 18th century, it became an obstacle to idealists attempting to design society in the 20th and 21st centuries. Indeed, those countries previously mentioned had the Right of Association contained in their national laws. By design or by oversight, this did not stop them from legalizing same sex marriage. By doing so they took away from the heterosexual population the right to have an exclusive heterosexual institution, i.e., marriage, which is wrong.
Filed under: Uncategorized | September 22nd, 2009