As Governor of Oregon, I will attempt to remove marriage from the State’s legal codes and statutes, and remove the injustices done to single people and those living in concubinage.
In the West, Marriage has always been regarded as a religious function and contract up until the present time. In all the major Western religions, marriage contracts were drawn up, and lodged with the religious bodies. It is only in modern times that we see the State taking over this religious function, and somehow twisting it into something “civil”.
But Jeffersonian Libertarianism deals only with the property rights of the Individual; it says nothing about collective rights, and certainly doesn’t acknowledge that they even exist. Natural Rights Law says that all men are endowed with the same exact Rights, and to give special rights to certain groups or collectives at the expense of those Individual Rights is surely wrong. (The Rights of children differ somewhat in scope from those of an adult, and require a separate discussion.)
Now, marriage gives certain collective rights to married people under current law at the expense of everyone who isn’t married, mostly in the realm of the immoral income tax, where a working man who keeps a wife at home can claim two deductions, while a single man with the same income can only claim one, and thus pays more in tax. This is immoral, and should change. Likewise for the single person, living with a concubine: though these two people are living in identical circumstances to the married couple, they get only one tax deduction on the working partner’s income, not two. In that marriage is a religious contract, this is a violation of the “separation of church and state” that Thomas Jefferson so wisely advised us to vigilantly maintain.
Getting rid of marriage from our laws, and just having the major organized religions, or even a registration group for atheists and agnostics, register marriages as solemn religious or special contracts between two people, would save the taxpayers a small fortune in court costs for divorce proceedings, and put the tax code on a far more just footing, if it is just at all.
However, in the probable event that we could not abolish the income tax, or could only gradually abolish it, I would favor giving a tax deduction to couples with children up to the age of about 16, one deduction for each child up to a maximum of three, and one for the mother if she did not work (if she did, she’d lose that deduction). This would be a family-friendly measure, for I think children should be the last to be penalized for what has been, up until now, a flawed toleration of an immoral law.
Why should a young person in their 20s, saving to start a family, have to pay a higher tax rate than a financially comfortable couple in their 50s and 60s with grown children, who get two deductions instead of the young persons one? But, of course, the root problem is the income tax itself, although a 1% income tax would be much better than a 10% sales tax ,or a 17% “value-added tax” — socialist Europe’s favorite.
Removing marriage from the law books would obviously open the door to any living arrangements people wanted to make. It seems to me that polyandry, polygamy, and so-called Gay marriage would then all be legal and removed as issues from politics, government, and the law books. (The religious court where the marriage contract was filed could settle divorce and inheritance questions.) As Libertarians, all we care about is non-coercion. If people want to live in certain ways, and there is no violence, coercion, or involuntary servitude, then, as Libertarians, what people are doing is none of our concern. It seems to me that what is really perverse is people always looking through their neighbor’s windows and worrying about what those neighbors are doing, instead of worrying about their own behavior.
Let’s abolish this unjust exaction on the backs of singles, and save the taxpayer a small fortune in court costs. Let’s treat marriage as the religious contract it is.
Paul Grad, paulgrad4governor.com