The Racist Origins of Government Marriage in America

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A reader sends along this link, and notes:

Marriage licenses came about in the late 19th century to prevent mixed-race marriages. That should be appalling to anyone, and is in my opinion the strongest argument to privatize marriage.

The linked article makes many points similar to those I made in my article from Friday. And it notes that:

The American colonies officially required marriages to be registered, but until the mid-19th century, state supreme courts routinely ruled that public cohabitation was sufficient evidence of a valid marriage. By the later part of that century, however, the United States began to nullify common-law marriages and exert more control over who was allowed to marry.

By the 1920s, 38 states prohibited whites from marrying blacks, “mulattos,” Japanese, Chinese, Indians, “Mongolians,” “Malays” or Filipinos.

At the heart of it all, predictably, is the urge to control the lives of others. White people might marry black people! Horror of horrors. Therefore, the state must get involved. No doubt these arguments in favor of more government meddling were made with an overlying patina of “freedom.” Just as the modern anti-immigration crowd today argues that we must destroy freedom in order to save it, the old racist proponents of government marriage likely argued that we must abolish freedom in marriage or the “Negro agitatuhs” and their dusky-skinned allies will destroy freedom. Conservative “logic” at its best.

9:48 pm on June 18, 2011