Posner and Becker analyze same-sex marriage

by on August 12, 2008  •  In Marriage

Note the recent exchange in their joint blog where Richard Posner and Gary Becker analyze whether there are rational reasons (i.e. per economic analysis) to block same-sex marriage.  Posner considers "whether widespread recognition of gay marriage, and thus the legitimating of homosexual relationships, might either increase the number of homosexuals or undermine heterosexual marriage. I do not think either consequence is likely…. Homosexuals are more open about their sexual identity and this creates an impression that there is more homosexuality than there used to be–and there may indeed be more homosexual behavior. But the preference appears to be unchanged. So parents probably need not worry that recognizing gay marriage will increase the likelihood of their child's turning out to be homosexual." Whew!

Becker agrees that same-sex marriages should be allowed, and argues that opposition to it has no basis other than as an expression of prejudice. His solution to pretty much any marriage debate is to substitute private contracts for the legal status. With that starting point, Becker sees no reason to preclude gay couples from partaking of the joy of negotiation and the bliss of bargained-for agreement. No reason to bar polygamy either, he suggests.

Nothing new here, but the man-bites-dog aspect of conservatives endorsing same-sex marriage (even though it should be no big surprise coming from these two) may garner some attention.


One Response to Posner and Becker analyze same-sex marriage

  1. Leland Traiman August 12, 2008 at 2:04 PM

    Massachusetts and California do not have Marriage Equality! Marriage Equality is having ALL of the rights of marriage, including the 1138 federal marriage rights, not a legal category labeled “marriage” which is devoid of those rights. Barak Obama supports granting “civil unions and other legally-recognized unions” (including domestic partnerships and marriage) the 1138 federal rights of marriage. Presently, that includes 10 states! That would be Marriage Equality! Who cares what it is called? The vast majority of the LGBT community is more interested in their rights than the title.

    The backlash to our marriage-only strategy has brought us an entirely new body of anti-gay laws: the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and 45 states passing laws or constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. 17 of those laws/constitutional amendments went further by also prohibiting civil unions and domestic partnerships. However, domestic partnerships and civil unions have never been successfully reversed on a direct challenge. The difference between California’s same-sex marriage and California’s comprehensive domestic partnerships is moot. When will our community start putting reality before rhetoric? True Marriage Equality can only be won in the US Congress, signed by the President. That is where we should be focusing our energies.


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