Although I think the ideal solution is a complete separation of marriage and state, and although I don’t like the idea of marriage licenses given out to anyone, and although I don’t like Gavin Newsom, I think his issuing of licenses without state approval wasn’t as bad, from a rule-of-law standpoint, as others thought. Many said that even if the gay marriage ban violated the state constitution, it wasn’t up to Newsom to decide. Well, I’m a decentralist. I think we should all secede from everyone else. Should other states be forced to recognize California licenses? No. should San Jose be forced to recognize San Francisco’s, even? No. But if a mayor does something he thinks is in line with the state constitution, I would tend to err on the side of letting localities decide. Certainly, if this was a clear-cut issue like gun rights, I’d rather a town give permits to everyone, no matter what state law says. But according to the rule-of-law arguments, even in such clear-cut issues, the states should be superior to the cities. I don’t go for that.
Of course, this isn’t quite as clear-cut an issue. But I suspect that the best way to undermine state licensing of something, short of eliminating the program, is to give the licenses to everyone for any reason, until they become meaningless. People should defend their own marriages, and from there make decisions on the most local level possible. I hope no one thinks that I’m too much out to lunch on this issue. It’s really at the very bottom of my priorities, for better or worse. But on the procedural side of it, I think that Newsom isn’t as bad as many libertarians make him out to be.
That being said, if people wanted to remove him for office for this or any other reason, I’d probably support that.
Now, on marriage itself: Is it between a man and a woman? I guess it depends how you define it. People should be free to acknowledge or refuse to acknowledge any couple as married, for any reason. Hospitals should have their own policies, as should insurance companies. As for the tax laws, they can never be made “fair,” no matter what. The state should get out of marriage completely. While it’s at it, it should get out of the lives of single people, too.2:20 pm on November 3, 2004 Email Anthony Gregory