Yesterday at 11 a.m. Libertarian candidate for North Carolina governor, Barbara Howe, shredded her and her husband’s 35 year old marriage license at the North Carolina General Assembly in Raleigh to protest the recently passed marriage amendment which was passed by NC voters. Several of her supporters also participated in shredding their licenses as well. Although already illegal in North Carolina, the new amendment would cement marriage is only between a man and a woman in the state’s Constitution. Libertarians generally believe going to the government to ask permission to marry someone is wrong and unneccessary.
“I believe in limited government,” Howe said. “Government should protect us from people who hurts us but otherwise just stay out of our lives, and that’s not what we’re getting in North Carolina.”
A member of Howe’s campaign, Sean Haugh, released the following statement:
No one is free when others are oppressed. That’s the short answer to why my wife, Pam Adams, and I will be shredding our marriage license in front of the North Carolina General Assembly at 11am on Tuesday, May 29, 2012.
We’ll be joining the couple that witnessed our marriage those 13 wonderful years ago, Barbara and Tom Howe. Barbara suggested this months ago when our legislature placed the anti-marriage amendment on the North Carolina ballot. This Constitutional Amendment redefines marriage in the eyes of the state as between one man and one woman only. And it did indeed pass earlier this month with 61% of the vote.
We attended a Republican Party county convention in March where they overwhelmingly passed a resolution in favor of the amendment. Out of 95 people we were two of the seven to vote no. I was one of only two to speak against the motion. I heard Republican after Republican appeal to pure democracy. In their bigoted zeal they deliberately forgot what their party supposedly stands for – the Republic. They deliberately forgot the entire purpose of Constitutions, to limit governments from infringing upon the inalienable rights of the people.
I told them how deeply offended I am that they can presume to come into our home and judge our marriage. It does not matter one whit that we would pass their judgment. They do not have the right to judge it in the first place. To demand that the state invade the privacy of our family to impose their bigoted judgment on us only proves they are completely without any principle beyond their own hate.
Because that’s exactly what it is – hate. Any other explanation offered is a lie. Why else would anyone fear the love one person has for another? What kind of sick diseased heart is offended by love?
I think of my friend Richard in California and the joy that he felt when he could finally legally marry his partner of 35 years. Yes they had a stable committed relationship before. The piece of paper from the state did not change that. But the symbolism of being legally married meant so very much to him.
I think of my friend Charles here in Durham. He’s been with the same fellow for maybe eight or ten years now. They are beautiful together. The caring and sweetness that passes so effortlessly between them would be the envy of any marriage. I wonder if it would mean anything to them to be able to define their relationship according to their own desires?
And I think of the love I share with my sweetie. It is awesome! I wish everyone could have the kind of love that we share every day.
I’ve been around long enough to get some sense of what’s important in this life and what’s not. I’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that the only thing that really matters at all is how you love other people. Thus I would argue that deciding who you will love and how you will love them are among the most fundamental human rights. Marriage is the most sacred expression of this love.
It is time we reclaimed the institution of marriage from the state and declared it to be a fundamental human right. I stand by my wife and hope to be with her until the end of my days. That will not change. But if the state insists that our marriage must pass their bigoted judgment to exist, then their license is worthless.
We refute their ability to judge our marriage and we protest their insistence that it be denied to people they don’t like. That’s why we will shred our marriage license in front of the General Assembly. They need to be informed that their law is invalid.