Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Taking Marriage Private

C called my attention to this startling article in yesterday's Times in which Stephanie Coontz takes us on a worldwhirlwind tour of marriage. Here's support for my thinking that the only reason for that license is the facilitation of rights and the distribution of assets and that government ought to grant it to whomever wants it, or, ought to get out of the business entirely. There is one thing she doesn't mention for which I was looking, and therefore about which I remain curious: the amount of public revenue generated by the issuance of marriage licenses. These days, it can't be significant, and newer "records retention" rules add to the cost of maintenance. Next up for battering: that other institution that hasn't been around for very long: the income tax.


Anonymous said...

Every election cycle for the past twenty years [though perhaps longer, too lazy to perform a Google search], we've had candidates talk about the unfairness of the current tax code. Proposals are floated to rework the federal income tax to a more equitable distribution, with predictable results.

Call me a cynic but the only way you'll see any type of satisfactory movement on either of these gray-haired institutions in this country would be if there was a tectonic shift in the will of the people.

In other words, not in my lifetime.

dpaste said...

Fascinating article on marriage.

Anonymous said...

I have been a proponent of "gay marriage" as a means of attaining equal financial, medical, survivor benefit rights. I would just as soon get rid of the patriarchal and sexist institution in total, as long as all adults that have entered into a partnership with another, are afforded the same legal benefits. I am not as cynical as I once was, that there will be change on this issue. The very fact that this article by Coontz was published in the Times, is evidence that we are re-examining our beliefs, and that the subject of marriage and the legal rights it confers are open to a new public debate. We shall see what comes of it, and I am hopeful for equal rights for all in the not too distant future.

Anonymous said...

I'm sure the more important public revenue comes at the other end - divorce courts & Co.