When it comes to gay marriage, the leftists are right—for the wrong reasons, as usual. And the conservatives are just plain wrong—as usual.

Let’s try applying reason and rationality to this issue, just once. May we, please?

The purpose of a proper government is to protect individual rights. Individual rights refer to upholding voluntary contracts and private property.

Conservatives and liberals alike speak of “marriage” as some kind of holy institution that their respective pressure groups are entitled to control. It’s actually not the Supreme Court’s job to settle matters of morality or cultural institutions. The government’s job is to support individual rights—nothing more, and nothing less.

Social conservatives speak as if there’s a “right” to live in a society where homosexuality is not endorsed or upheld in any way. Like all advocates of socialism or fascism, they focus primarily on “the children.” They essentially claim, “My children should not have to grow up in a world where same sex couples get married.”

Oh, really? Why not? What gives socially conservative parents the right to anything other than the right to be free from force or fraud? They do have a right to teach their children what they see as proper and moral, about sexuality or anything else. In time, their children will make up their own minds about such matters.

This, I suspect, is what frightens and angers the socially conservative parents. They don’t want freedom of choice any more than the leftists who want government to run most other aspects of our lives, such as schools, self-defense, banks, the food we eat, you name it. It’s just a different area of life they seek to control.

If two people of the same gender wish to get married and this personally offends you, the fact of your feeling offended does not give you any special right to stop it. Yet this is not an argument leftists can effectively make against the social conservatives. Why not? Because in almost every other area, leftists are constantly on the side of a big, expanding government.

How can the leftist establishment credibly uphold individual rights in the bedroom while thwarting them just about everywhere else? Right to abortion? Check. Right to have sex with consenting adults of your choosing? Check. Right to choose the food you eat, to spend your money without government taking it all, to choose your doctor in a free marketplace, to own a gun and keep it for self-defense if needed …? Forget it.

Leftists support more money for public schools, more money for public broadcasting, more tax subsidies for industry, all so that these sectors of society may be more subject to government pull, authority and control. When it comes to just about anything outside of gay marriage and abortion, leftists are all about authoritarianism and Big Government. Consequently, the only credible case they can make for gay marriage – one based on individual rights and smaller government – isn’t available to them.

Put bluntly, a leftist’s view of the world is one in which you freely engage in sex with your partner, while the house, the bed, and the birth control are all subsidized by the government — or by yourself, if you happen to make $250,000 or more a year (in which case you’ll be paying for others’ homes, beds and birth control a well as your own). I’d hardly call this liberty.

The gay marriage issue is contentious not just because of the subject itself, but because it exposes the ridiculous contradictions in what passes for political, social and moral debate in today’s society.

Conservatives argue for the “sanctity of marriage” when it has been plain for decades now that most (heterosexual) marriages don’t make it the first time around. If marriage as we know it is so solid and sacred, then why on earth does it end so badly for so many? The real question to be asking gay and lesbian couples isn’t, “How dare you want to get married?” What conservatives should be asking is, “Why do you want to do this to yourselves?”

My point here is not to be cynical. Nothing is more special to human existence than a long-range, committed relationship between two people who continue to love each other. Romantic love? It’s real, it’s possible—and yet it’s also quite rare. Human beings have a long way to go before marriage—by any definition—even begins to resemble the “sacred institution” social conservatives would have us believe it is, based on their defense of it.

I believe in the political right for gay and lesbian individuals to marry because I believe in the concept of equal individual rights.

I won’t surrender that defense to the leftists—the same people who have (without restraint or apology) given us socialized medicine, fascist control of once-private industries and open wealth redistribution. Whatever motivates people supporting these policies to uphold the right of two men or two women to marry, it certainly doesn’t have anything to do with the sovereignty of the individual over his or her own life.

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Dr Michael Hurd

Dr Michael Hurd

Dr. Michael Hurd is a psychotherapist, columnist and author of "Bad Therapy, Good Therapy (And How to Tell the Difference)" and "Grow Up America!" Visit his website at: www.DrHurd.com.

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