Get the government out of the marriage business

People in same-sex relationships have, rightly, fought for equality before the law. But they have ignored the bigger question – why the state should have anything to do with consenting adults' relationships at all. We have privatised industries and services with excellent results: now, why don't we privatise marriage?

Marriage has not traditionally been a preserve of the state, only entering the statute books in England in the Marriage Act of 1753. According to historian and author of ‘Marriage, a History: How Love Conquered Marriage’, Stephanie Coontz, it was only in the 16th Century that European governments began to require marriages to be performed under legal auspices at all, marriage is a public contract between consenting adults. Most of what is in modern marriage could be agreed upon privately by consenting adults: property rights (over inheritance, for example), parental responsibilities, duties of care, next of kin nomination, and so on. Other rights, such as residency sponsorship for non-citizens, should not be restricted to married couples at all...

You can read the full article on PoliticsHome here.


Sam Bowman writes on PoliticsHome that in the debate over gay marriage, both sides have missed the point. The government should privatise marriage, making the whole gay marriage debate redundant.