Freedom of Association

     There are few topics that can divide people as quickly as the issue of marriage or same sex marriage in particular. Individuals on both sides have strong feelings on the issue whether because of religious beliefs, political beliefs, equality, or values.
     This topic has been at the forefront of discussion this week. This is due to the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) hearing oral arguments in two cases regarding same sex marriage. I will not go into detail about the cases themselves, but want to convey thoughts about the issue of marriage and how it relates to freedom and a free society.
     Most of the debate centers around the question, “Is homosexuality right or wrong?”. Each individual has to come to his or her own conclusion to that question. I do not think this is the right question to ask. The more fundamental question is, “Should the government restrict an individual’s right to freely associate with another individual(s)?”
Each and every individual possesses a natural right to associate with whomever he or she chooses. Likewise he or she has the right to disassociate with whomever he or she chooses. If three or four people voluntarily join together for whatever reason, they should be free to do so. They should be able to call their association a group, club, team, lodge, or whatever they choose. The same is true if two people of the same or opposite sex have a ceremony, say some vows, and call it a marriage, civil union, or partnership. As long as the relationship is voluntarily chosen by all persons, they should be free to associate with each other. A person should also be free to live as a hermit on the side of a mountain without associating with anybody if that is what he or she chooses.
     The government should not be in the marriage business at all! There should not be a Constitutional amendment supporting or preventing homosexual marriage or heterosexual marriage. Pastors should be allowed to preach against homosexuality without penalty or punishment. Pastors should be allowed to refuse to perform homosexual marriage. Pastors who want to perform same sex marriage should have that freedom. I am not saying that I agree with same sex marriage, but I don’t think it should be illegal.
     Lastly, “legalizing” same sex marriage will not change anything. There are gay and lesbian couples living together as married in states that do not allow same sex marriage. Making it legal just allows them to have a piece of paper with the government’s permission on it. It will not impact your life unless you are a same sex couple. So, in conclusion this article was not in defense of same sex marriage, but rather a defense of the freedom of association.


2 thoughts on “Freedom of Association

  1. Isn’t the use of “freedom of association” the same argument used to justify “separate but equal” in the Old South? If businesses should have the freedom to associate, then why not the freedom to not serve blacks? Or gays? The Federal government sees it as a Constitutional right of people not to be discriminated against regarding housing or employment or even eating at a restaurant. Hasn’t the Libertarian argument already been defeated there?

    If we are going to turn this issue back to the states, then why do the states allow the Federal government to dictate discrimination laws?

    • The “separate but equal” was a legal precedent from the Supreme Court which primarily applied to the railroad and public school system. Much of the Civil Rights Act was to repeal the Jim Crow laws which was government forced segregation.

      Private property owners have the right to determine who can come on their property and exclude whoever they want and for whatever reason they want. No, the libertarian argument has not been defeated, but maybe you can change my mind.

      I can’t speak for the states, but I imagine they allow the Federal government to dictate discrimination laws so they won’t lose federal funding for various programs.

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