Folk wisdom solves gay marriage debate

Your rights end where mine begin.

It’s a simple enough idea—arguably the mantra of libertarians everywhere—and as rules of thumb go, it’s a pretty good one. After all, the argument says, in a free country I can swing my arms all I want, as long as I don’t hit your nose.

For me, it’s difficult not to apply this simple folk aphorism to the debate about gay marriage, which became turbocharged this week when President Obama waded in and (some would say finally) declared his support for the idea.

I have to dismiss many of what could be termed impact-on-society arguments here, because let’s be frank, most are ridiculous. Some people say allowing men to marry men will destroy the institution of marriage, as if a divorce rate somewhere north of 40 percent for first-time marriages hasn’t already done that. As one friend recently stated, “I believe that marriage is one of the most beautiful and sacred things to ever be offered as a prize on a game show.” Continue reading