08 March, 2010

Citizen Corporations? That’s so Gay!

I’ve never had a strong position either way on same-sex marriage.  To me, it’s just been a wedge issue that people like to bring up in election years.  The only side I take is that the arguments against it are a lot weaker than the arguments for it.  Spare me the talk of defending the definition of marriage.  Defining marriage as being between one man and one woman is a relatively recent thing.  From ancient history to modern day, there are many cultures that define marriage as being between one man and ten or more women - and some of them include American Christian sects.  And if you’re of the opinion that same-sex marriage is a slippery slope towards men marrying goats, women marrying horses and monkeys marrying cars, then you’re going to have to admit that it’s not the first step on that path but the second, and that the first step was interracial marriage.  Good luck defending that position.  Finally, if doing something like ensuring everyone has health insurance is an intolerable encroachment by government on everyone’s freedom, then surely any attempt by government to define what is an isn’t a marriage is tyranny.  We have dictionaries for that.  Where are the teabaggers and libertarians when you need them?

Having said that, I don’t believe that everyone has the right to everything that everyone else has.  With every door that opens, another one closes.  You can have anything, but you can’t have everything.  Just in case anyone interprets that as a subtle way of suggesting that homosexuality is a choice, I think nothing of the sort.  My point is that there are many other circumstances that prevent people from getting married that are not seen as discrimination.  For instance, there are thousands, if not millions of people who would love to get married but simply don’t have a partner.  They are single not through choice, but through all kinds of circumstances.  Who defends their right to marry?  Or is it enough to have the right, just not the opportunity?  Government has no business in deciding who has the right to marry whom, but equally, should not have to protect everyone from all the unfairnesses of life.  Otherwise, it ends up like that scene at the Colosseum in Life of Brian where they end up agreeing in principle to the physically impossible.  “I want to be a woman; it’s my right as a man.”  I don’t think society and people’s wellbeing are effected either way.

Then, the US Supreme Court declared that corporations have the same rights as individual citizens.  A lot of people chose to see this as a bad thing which makes corporations even more powerful than they already are, but I don’t think anyone has really thought through all the ramifications here.  There is alarmist talk of corporations running for office.  That would actually be better than the current system because if Monsanto actually had a seat in Congress, that would make them directly accountable to the people.  No, corporations are far better off under the current arrangement of bankrolling representatives.  That way the representatives are accountable to the people but beholden to their benefactors.  The people can throw the Congressman out, but the corporation will just have another one lined up and the board of directors will never have to look the people in the eye.

By rights though, it should become a lot harder for companies to merge, since a merger is basically a corporate marriage.  There are going to be all kinds of issues that they just haven’t thought through.  For instance, if Warner wanted to merge with AOL today, would they have to divorce Time first?  If so, could they get a no-fault divorce, or would they have to prove that Time had being seeing Walmart behind their backs?  Would they have to spend a year apart before Warner was free to remarry?  If Time-Warner as a couple were allowed to merge with AOL, wouldn’t that be an insult to the definition of marriage being between one man and one woman?

That’s before we even consider the gender issue.  Who is the man and who is the woman in this marriage?  Surely this is something we need to know before we allow it.  Warner came from Warner Brothers and the original AOL “You’ve got mail!” sound is as male voice, so I think they’re going to have problems there.  Which one is going to have to register for the draft?

While I have never had anything against same-sex marriage, I never previously saw it as something the law needed to take a stand on either way, especially when the issue most often appears to be used for the sake of being divisive.  But I do think the law should ensure that all people have the same rights as citizens who aren’t people at all.


  1. Nicely argued. It certainly concerns me when separation of church and state is eroded.

  2. People who have sex with people of different genders but can't find a partner have the right to marry. People who have sex with people of the same gender and have a lifetime partner don't have that right in most countries. Nobody's saying it's discrimination if they can't find anybody. It's discrimination if I can't marry the person I love just because she has the same equipment I have.

    I've never understood how government regulation of corporations that can obviously impact the economy erodes everybody's freedom but government regulation of your bedroom activities is God's work.