See the Wiki article for an interesting update.
LI fan call teams are presently at work on the subject in 32 countries.
Marriage is a covenant or quasi-contract typically with side contacts (e.g. pre-nuptial agreements) for purposes of mutual support for defined or unlimited times, and to ease long-term activities such as child rearing, household wealth development, etc. Western law has at various times recognized eternal marriage, marriage for a year, marriage to trees and other morganatic marriages for purposes of protecting children, polygamy, polyandry, and various informal forms. While the core form of grandparents, man, wife and extended family reverent of ancestors and planning for posterity is upheld and recommended as key to social development and stabilization, many alternate forms exist or may be imagined, and users may define them as their needs require.
The Gilson Libertarian reform re-states and extends the right to marriage: As to be defined by the users and including cultural variations, as promptly as public undertsanding (as with all reforms) shall allow and with attention (common law) to local conditions. Public community entities of deeds may also archive such covenants, wills, and other contracts, and legislatures note local expectations as a convenience to the public and jurists, but in no sense may legislatures or assemblies define or regulate marriage so as to make it less voluntary. However, that such entities have fallen under control of governments and legislatures has generated some confusion. Only recently have governments ( as often conceived ) attempted to involve themselves by positive statutes outside normal case processes–such as deciding not to allow traditional contractual or common-law marriages–at the behest of extremists of left and right.
While direct democracy– or any other entity –has no capacity to restrict rights, it is viewed by LI as a needed process of social dialogue and acclimatization. A right is exercised with difficulty until first serious persons and then the people as a whole understand the need and give their blessing. Thus anti-gay marriage decisions should be viewed as positive to the extent people actually support the concept vs. there was no discussion before, and efforts should take heart and continue.
LI fan call teams and other Libertarians are therefore working to ‘re-open’ marriage beginning with equalizing woman and children rights in marriages; then better recognition of ‘civil union’ (marriage for defined period) and various alternatives, then recognition of gay marriage. Lib efforts began the gay marriage work in 1969 and here is where things are:
Same-sex marriage is now recognized in 12 countries (Argentina, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, USA in various states). It is recognized in Israel, Mexico, and several others to some extent.
In the United States, same-sex marriage is:
- Legal in six states (Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, and Vermont) and the District of Columbia.
- It was legal for a time in California. Same-sex marriage laws are pending in Washington and Maryland. New Jersey, Maryland, and Rhode Island recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states.
- A majority of the states have a constitutional provision or a law restricting marriage to one man and one woman, most recently North Carolina, ( May 8, 2012) OK’d a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage even though the state already prohibited same-sex marriage by law, similar to an initiative in Florida.
Congress is examining several proposals to allow federal recognition where contracted in a state that recognizes the procedure.