The Supreme Court’s decision in 2015 has no more settled the dispute about so called gay marriage than its decision in 1973 settled the dispute about abortion.  Both operas continue, and ought to.

At the moment I am addressing only libertarians.  For some reason, many people of this persuasion think that their principles obligate them to support so called gay marriage, just as most of them think their principles obligate them to support abortion.  Actually, their principles seem to obligate them to oppose both of these things.  The question, libertarians, is whether you take these principles seriously.

In the case of abortion, the reason for opposition can be stated in one sentence:  Abortion violates the right on which all other rights depend, the right not to have your innocent life snuffed out.  In the case of so called same sex marriage, all of two short sentences are requisite:  Before the law was changed, people were already able to have homosexual relationships.  Changing the law didn’t enable them to do something they couldn’t do before, but made others do something they didn’t choose to do.

For no change in law was necessary to permit persons to have long-term same-sex liaisons.  Nor was a change needed to permit them to say that they personally considered these liaisons marriages.  But law is a public definition, and public definitions are intrinsically coercive.  The only thing that has changed is that now people who do not consider these liaisons marriages are compelled, for some purposes, to treat them as though they are.

Some liberty.


What Obergefell Isn’t

The New Marriage and Its Consequences