The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has struck down Proposition 8, effectively legalizing gay marriage in California.
For the libertarian reasons Iâ€™ve outlined in depth here and also defended here, I donâ€™t think this is the optimal way to address the issue of marriage inequality; it takes a set of special government preferences (for heterosexual married couples) and extends those benefits to a wider group of people (heterosexual and homosexual married couples), while leaving enormous pools of people short of the benefits (single people, people who prefer polygamy, and the huge and growing group of long-term monogamous cohibatators).
Itâ€™s kind of like if the civil rights act had said â€śno discrimination against blacksâ€ť instead of â€śno discrimination on account of race.â€ť Not a bad thing, by any means, but hardly a statement of universal equality on the issue of human sexual relationships.
I believe the only legitimate solution to this is to completely decouple marriage and the state. In other words, abolish all state benefits for any marriage, â€” gay, straight, polygamous, or otherwise. Anything short of that leaves in place a system in which the state preferences, incentivizes, and legitimates some human relationships over others. Human sexual relationships exist prior to the state, and the state has no business promoting some and not others.
My brother-in-law and his girlfriend live virtually the exact same lifestyle my wife and I do, in all respects. Why we should have a myriad of financial government benefits that they lack, simply because we signed a piece of paper the state wrote, is a question that has no plausible legitimate answer. Allowing homosexuals to sign that same paper is certainly benevolent, but hardly equal.