Why not just completely remove marriage from the state?


Cannot we just completely remove the government from marriage and make is just a personal contract or religion institution? 

Often times I hear my libertarian friends make this argument.  It works pretty good as a way to dodge the question about whether they are for or against redefining marriage.  

Libertarian John Stossel has made this case many times, tweeting “Marriage should be a private contract. Why is government even involved?” 

If only it was that easy.  Marriage is not like other religious functions like baptism or communion, in which the state does to have to be part of.   The church can marry you, but the church cannot divorce you or enforce alimony payments or child support payments or settle child custody battles or separate asset ownership.  

For these reasons we are better off having the state setup the institution of marriage.   

Ryan T Anderson explains,

“You either have the idea of the state setting up this institution at from end or growing government beyond any imagination by doing each and every one of these cases one by one.  So if you get the state out of the marriage business on the front end you will simply explode the reach of the state on the back end when it is doing a case by case bases of regulating these.  It is much better to have the state recognize an institution in civil society "marriage" than have the state either redefine it or fail to acknowledge it. “ 

Here is a video of Ryan T Anderson answering this very question – starting at 46:30


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