Paging Dr. Gutzman Re: 14th Amendment

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    I’d like to address this question to Dr. Gutzman, but I’d be glad to hear from other professors as well. Prof. Gutzman, on a recent episode of the Tom Woods Show, you argued that the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds in imposing a new definition of marriage on the entire country through their take on the 14th Amendment. I think you made a strong case, but I would like to bring up a point that I hear quite a bit from the Left. That is, they say that the definition of marriage that you laid out – the traditional one – is merely arbitrary. They say that marriage has taken many forms over the centuries, so there is no “real” or “traditional” view of marriage. Or they say, if you want a traditional marriage, then why not forbid women from owning property and allow husbands to beat their wives, etc. They often say these things with the point being that we “need” the central government to look for new powers so that they can drag the Neanderthals on the Right into the Future. This is related to the point that Dr. Woods brought up (as devil’s advocate) in the interview – “doesn’t this loose interpretation do some good?”

    In short, as a Christian, I believe that marriage is a holy mystery or sacrament, fully in line with the traditional definition you gave in the interview. How can Christians address these claims? Or how would you respond to them? In discussing this issue with fellow libertarians, I think the best response is to move marriage out of the government’s reach entirely. Do you agree? I know this is a lot, so thank you for your time.


    Sure, law is about morality. That’s unavoidable. The error here is in thinking that the Constitution empowers federal courts legitimately to substitute their judgments in such matter for those of the sovereign states/people. The Tenth Amendment makes explicit the ’til-then-implicit principle that the Constitution gave the Congress power over only the enumerated areas–of which definition of marriage is not one.

    Religious arguments regarding marriage are perfectly valid at the state level.

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