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What Marriage Equality Means To Me


I still remember my stepbrother coming out of the closet to me (as the first one in the family) almost two decades ago. He was 15. I remember how fearful he was about what would come next, how he would be judged, worrying about whether or not many of his friends and some of his family would disown him. I can’t imagine going through something like that myself, especially at that age, and I know it wasn’t easy for him. The story does ultimately have a happy ending, but it’s a shame it took so long to get there (years, unfortunately). The funny part is I still remember being upset with him immediately after he told me; upset because just a few weeks prior he had ruined a “date” of mine—I was 13 I think, so more like a walk with a girl—by inviting himself along and pretending that he liked her too. Kids!

Jeffrey Carson, Tagg Magazine

Jeffrey Carson is running for Congress in Virginia’s 8th district

For me, this issue of marriage equality, or put more broadly, LGBT rights, is actually a much larger issue. It’s an issue of human rights. One of my favorite aspects of libertarianism is the “live and let live” mentality. There are no catches here. No gotchas. The federal government, as per the Constitution, does not have the power to forcibly tell us how to live our lives as long as we aren’t harming others. Put in another way, one individual or a group does not have the power—nor should it—to tell another individual or group how to live, how to behave, how to raise their kids, how to earn a living, whom to love, hobbies to pursue, etc. The pursuit of happiness may be a different journey for us all, but it’s our journey to make. Period.

Specifically to marriage equality, first, I don’t think the government should be involved in the union between two people. I think it should be between those two and a church, a temple, a mosque, or whatever community-based organization they see fit to oversee their marriage. When we deeply love someone, do we really want the ultimate commitment to be recognition from government? Marriage is a social contract; we should treat it as such. A more meaningful commitment would be a contract that you draw up yourself and sign before God or whatever your belief might be. And I should hope government isn’t the thing we worship.

But if the government is going to be involved, then it needs to do so judiciously and equally, allowing any two adults to join in marriage. I am willing to bet that future generations will look back on our restrictions on the LGBT community like we look back on previous generations regarding segregation and Jim Crow. They’ll say, “What the heck were they thinking?”

The fact that we’re still having this debate today over LGBT rights is, frankly, ridiculous. I’m cautiously optimistic that the country is headed in the right direction, but there is still much work to be done.


This post was written by Jeffrey Carson

Jeffrey Carson is the Libertarian candidate for U.S. Congress in Virginia’s 8th District. He’s a former U.S. Army Captain and Iraq vet with considerable private sector experience, first working in operations as a contractor for Google and then as a product operations manager for Asurion. He wants to inspire the next generation of Americans by showing them there are everyday people fighting right now to break through party lines, disrupt the status quo, and transform the entrenched political landscape in Washington.