Libertarian Principles about Marriage

Many people have an incomplete or incorrect understanding of the Libertarian party, and where it stands politically. The widely held belief that Libertarians agree with Republicans on economic issues and agree with Democrats on social issues. This is a true, but extremely oversimplified, statement in most cases. When it comes to marriage, however, the Libertarian party stands out from any other political party in the United States.

Where the Republicans Stand:
In general, the mantra of the Republican party is that marriage is a union between one man and one woman. Some members of the party have proposed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage, while others have brought up the idea of creating “civil unions” for same sex couples.

Where the Democrats Stand:
Democrats, the more socially liberal party in the United States, believe that same sex marriage is a 14th amendment (equal protection under the law) issue, and propose legalizing gay marriage.

Hypocrisy From Both Parties:
Republicans, the party that favors a smaller federal government, is proposing a constitutional amendment that will give the federal government more power, take power away from the states, and go against the ideals of the 10th amendment (states rights.) Democrats, on the other hand, ignore the 10th amendment completely. In addition, they claim that gay marriage is a 14th amendment issue, but refuse to expand their definition of marriage to polygamous couples. If two people are guaranteed equal protection under the law, does that not apply to three or more people?

Where the Libertarians Stand:
Libertarians believe that neither state government nor the federal government has legitimate authority over marriage licenses. They believe that the marriages should be nothing more than a contract between two or more consenting adults, and should have no bearing on your income tax or in any other government program.

This means that private organizations, such as churches, may still refuse to marry same sex couples. Alternatively, this also means that private organizations may choose to marry gay and/or polygamous couples. Since the government cannot interfere in legal and private contracts, private citizens may choose to get married in a way that best suits their needs. This has often been called the “privatization of marriage.”