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If Marriage Can Mean Anything, It Will Soon Mean Nothing

Sen. Cynthia Lummis speaking on the Senatea floor prior to voting on the Respect for Marriage Act
Image CreditPBS NewsHour/YouTube

The Respect for Marriage Act lets the government establish a permanent presence in your personal life while redefining your relationships.

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No matter how you define “marriage,” there is zero respect for it in the so-called Respect for Marriage Act.

You may believe it serves to federally codify the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision that rejected marriage as a male-female union. Maybe it would do so temporarily. But that’s not the endgame.

If you’re paying attention, you can see that the Senate’s recent 62-37 vote for cloture on HR 8404 puts us one step closer to abolishing state recognition of marriage entirely. That’s where this train is headed.

This will happen the same way such things always happen — through a demonization campaign that frames skeptics as bigots who are guilty of discrimination. That’s how you get Democrat-pliable Republicans such as Mitt Romney and craven Supreme Court justices like Anthony Kennedy to sign on. That’s how you manufacture a public opinion cascade, warning average Americans that they’ll be pummeled with lawsuits and ostracism if they dare think out loud.

And that’s how Democrats in Congress are likely in the not-too-distant future — via HR 8404 — to make the case that marriage actually comes with privileges that discriminate against the unmarried. Disagree? You’re a bigot who deserves to be socially ostracized! Self-censorship in the face of such accusations will pave the way, as always

Collectivists Hope to Destroy Private Life and Regulate Relationships

Once they’ve gotten to that point via HR 8404 and Republicans who supported the measure, congressional Democrats will doubtless push us to agree that marriage is a discriminatory institution. We’ll start seeing more anti-marriage initiatives supported by singles, millennials, Julias, and gen Z, all well-groomed for the moment by teachers unions, academia, and media.

They’ll fall for the pitch that we can all just write up domestic partnership contracts instead. “Marriage” would then become nothing but a legal relationship (a contract) between two (or more) people for any purpose at all. Bureaucrats would broker those contracts. This proposal is all mapped out in Sunstein and Thaler’s 2008 book “Nudge.” It’s also been promoted for decades by internationally acclaimed feminist legal scholar Martha Fineman who writes that a system of contracts replacing marriage will help the state “regulate all social interactions.”

Under a system that abolishes state recognition of marriage, the family could no longer exist autonomously or unmolested by the state. How could it if the state no longer recognizes marriage as the foundation of the family unit? The government would have no requirement to recognize religious rites of marriage as valid. Thus, it would meddle more deeply in religion and religious communities that recognize bonds of kinship through blood ties.

We Become Atomized Individuals in the State’s Eyes

The atomization resulting from this will have repercussions that go beyond the bill’s guarantee to treat any difference of opinion as a federal crime. If we continue on this path, the government will no longer have to recognize any biological relationships. It need not recognize any legal right you might have as the parent of your biological child. Why should it? It would have already abolished its recognition of the union that produced the child. 

Some of this process has already been completed through gender-neutral language in documents like passports, birth certificates, or the rules of the 117th Congress that do not recognize the words “mother,” “father,” “son,” or “daughter.”

Much groundwork has also been laid by surrogacy and abortion laws that treat children as chattel to buy, sell, and dispose of at will. And why would the state have to recognize any other relationships resulting from marriage if it no longer recognizes marriage? It could ignore your blood relationships to brother, sister, aunt, uncle, or any familial bond. In this scenario, you’d likely need a license to raise your own child, an old communist goal that the so-called Respect for Marriage Act conjures up.

When all there is are bureaucratized domestic partnership arrangements, the government would no longer need to recognize spousal privilege and thereby could legally coerce spouses to testify against one another in court. It could also abolish the default path of survivorship through which your inheritance goes to your spouse or next of kin. Instead, the state would be free to redistribute your nest egg at will in its great bureaucratic wisdom.

Indeed, there is no reason to doubt that the Respect for Marriage Act serves as a midwife to the radical left’s long-held goal of abolishing state recognition of marriage. It will allow the government to regulate our relationships, rendering each of us naked before its power. 

We are each being set up for a pre-arranged marriage with Big Government operating as our abusive spouse. 

Such Atomization Is a Totalitarian Necessity

The path to human atomization is the natural arc of all totalitarian systems in the making. They must always first isolate people in order to control them through terror, as Hannah Arendt noted in her work “The Origins of Totalitarianism.” Tyrants always mask their intentions by borrowing from tradition, using words like “respect for marriage,” “love,” or “equality” as they march us all into virtual solitary confinement

There’s nothing new about this trajectory. It’s a long-standing vision of all totalitarian systems, which first came into the open with the Communist Manifesto’s proclamation, “Abolish the family!” Communists referred to traditional religion as “the opiate of the people” while setting up communism as a pseudo-religion that demanded unquestioning loyalty. The resulting dependency then truly becomes the fentanyl of the people.

Such deceptions are why Schumer and company talk about marriage as though the government has some sort of litmus test for “love.” But anyone with half a brain knows that love’s got nothing to do with a functioning state’s interest in marriage. Marriage is an institution that exists to allow for a structured society and for the protection of children. 

Of course, we easily forget such facts while living in a nation that increasingly promotes infanticide, assisted suicide, recreational drug use, child pornography, and other ways to torture and kill our children. In fact, virtually all of their policy positions are tailor-made for family breakdown, community breakdown, and for hostility toward religious communities.

But maybe you like feeling lonely and alienated, like the idea of a childless and hopeless future, and are all for the state regulating your personal relationships and conversations. Well, then, you’ll like the “Respect” for Marriage Act.

But the destruction of bonds of affection and loyalty in the private spheres of life makes sense from the point of view of statists. Those loyalties get in the way of their ambitions for power and social engineering. They are invested in isolating us so that we become dependent upon them.


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