Contra Ann Coulter on marriage

Ann Coulter, the notorious right-wing radical hack, takes on “libertarian” stances on gay marriage and drug legalization today over at Human Events. Particularly, she asks (in response to Rep. Ron Paul’s political stances on gay marriage) the following:

If state governments stop officially registering marriages, then who gets to adopt? How are child support and child custody issues determined if the government doesn’t recognize marriage? How about a private company’s health care plans — whom will those cover? Who has legal authority to issue “do not resuscitate” orders to doctors? (Of course, under Obamacare we won’t be resuscitating anyone.)

Who inherits in the absence of a will? Who is entitled to a person’s Social Security and Medicare benefits? How do you know if you’re divorced and able to remarry? Where would liberals get their phony statistics about most marriages ending in divorce?

Ann Coulter here shows her inability to conceptualize of solutions to marriage issues that exist outside the box (or cave) that she slums in.

If state governments stop registering marriage, that does not mean that adoption agencies should not appropriately vet potential foster parents (nor that adoption agencies should not face some kind of regulation or state control). Moreover, Coulter assumes that the only way that we can vet foster parents is through marriage registries, which I read to say that Coulter does not believe that single parents or widowers should be allowed to adopt. I propose to you that the only relevant questions that we could use to vet foster parents are A) are you willing and B) are you capable of raising this child? To restrict the pool of potential foster parents further is unnecessary and leaves many children without stable home environments.

We might further posit that child support and child custody issues might be resolved by paternity tests, and the existing body of law regarding the responsibilities parents have toward their children. Ann Coulter does not seem to understand that there is a wide, deep, and ancient body of common law that has grown to mediate these issues, nor does she seem to understand that these issues can be mediated without the state taking an active role in registering the actual marriage contract.

And this argument is broadly applicable against the entire scope of Coulter’s argument. Free people…Americans…have wrestled with these issues, and have been able to develop institutions (both public and private) to manage the intersection and interaction of things like marriage, and parenting, and legal succession.

Rather than listening to Ann Coulter, Americans would be well advised to live freely, and take advantage of the world’s most advanced legal system to mediate their lives. Governments do not need to intrude so far as the bedroom, or the domicile, for Americans to realize the full potential of their freedoms and liberties.

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