Monday, April 30, 2012

get the government out of marriage?

Three strong essays from Jennifer Roback Morse on the futility of trying to "privatize marriage". I have been too cavalier in using this phrase and will be more careful going forward. 

She argues on practical and ethical grounds that a.) it is impossible; b.) it will (perversely) cause an increase in the State; c.) it would be unjust to children.

The opening line in the first essay sums up that effort: We cannot escape the fact that marriage is an intrinsically public institution. We can’t avoid making collective decisions about its meaning and purpose. If we don’t do it explicitly, we will end up doing it implicitly.

While provocative and convincing on the impossibility of full separation of "marriage" and state, I don't think she gives sufficient attention to a possible distinction between sacred marriages within the Church and secular civil unions within the State.  

In the second essay, she mentions adoption but then fails to deal with it, strongly, as a counter to her general case. 

The third essay is instructive in critiquing the implicit/explicit worship of adult freedom, even when it comes at the expense of children. 

Overall, good and provocative stuff; check them out!


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