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The sound of equality

I have been impressed by the number of my non-gay friends who have changed their profile pictures on Facebook to the red equality sign, indicating their support for marriage equality.  Of my 650 friends, I would guess that roughly 200 or 300 are gay, and I was glad (although not surprised) to see many of them change their pictures as well.  But I was pleased and even slightly surprised to see so many who are straight, who have no personal interest in the matter, also display their support.

I was glad to read through and listen to the oral arguments given yesterday in court and see all of the good points raised concerning the argument.  I was glad to see the justices sincerely trying to determine what was the right thing to do in the situation.

And then I saw this on my news feed.  I know some of my friends--some gay and some straight--who feel this way.  This is the libertarian point of view.  It is a view that I find not altogether unpleasant.

My main issue with people voicing this opinion is that it is hypocritical.  The one friend through whom I first saw this image is married.  He has a wife.  I have nothing wrong with that, but I find it ironic because he is currently taking advantage of all of the legal rights and benefits that come along with being married and having that marriage recognized by the government.  So for him to say that the government shouldn't be doing that seems quite hypocritical to me.  Indeed, I see it very much the same as someone on welfare voicing the opinion that the government should not provide welfare benefits.

I had a similar discussion with my father a while back when we talked about marriage equality.  He voiced this very viewpoint--that the government should not be in the business of granting marriage licences or certificates.  I pointed out that he had a marriage certificate issued by the state.  He told me that he would void it if he could do so without strong repercussions.  I maintain that until he does so, he has no place saying that the government shouldn't be in the business of issuing licenses.

I won't personally make this libertarian argument because I do not believe it to be the best solution.  I think that there are many benefits of legal recognition of marriage that I would not want to have revoked.  If Conrad is in the hospital, I want the right to visit him.  I don't want a doctor or nurse to be able to deny me visitation rights.  If he dies before me, I want the right to manage and carry out his funeral proceedings, as I did with Karen.  I don't want to be told by his family that I cannot attend his funeral, as happened in this case.  I want him to be able to benefit from insurance that I get through my employer.  I want to be able to foster and adopt children together with him.  There are so many many legal rights which I wish to benefit from through marriage to him.  So I cannot accept this premise that the government should not be in the business of regulating it.  Nor will I believe anyone who makes this argument while in a marriage which is recognized by the law.

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