Tuesday, November 11, 2008

You Got a License For That?

Classical Values has some interesting thoughts on marriage and licenses that lends credence to the idea that government should get out of the marriage business in the first place:
Well, licensing is, after all, a government restriction. When people speak of marriage as a "right," they really are not speaking of a right to marriage, but a "right" to a marriage license. Yet true rights (such as freedom of speech and freedom of religion) are not -- and by their nature cannot be -- subject to licensing.

If marriage were treated as a right, it would not be subject to licensing.

In the normal scope of things, activities that are licensed -- cutting hair, flying planes, driving 18 wheelers, practicing law, medicine, etc. -- are not rights at all, but occupational choices that require training, which are regulated by the state.
I'd hate to think all this fuss is over a desire for official state imprimatur, but I worry that it is. Like almost everything else (soon including the auto industry), marriage is seen as something you get from the government. Maybe it would be better to see it as something that the government cannot interfere with, the way genuine rights are.

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