The story linked to at the bottom is about a woman who built a robot and she wants to get married to that robot. There are several facets related to this story. Setting aside the fact that the robot looks a bit like the woman, we must first (of course) deal with the very obvious acceptance of the “told you so” from all those people who said, “If we allow gay marriage we will have to allow it when someone wants to marry their dog, or their chair.” (that’s a comment I actually read) or in this case their robot. Those who were for gay marriage said this line of thinking was just a front for bigotry and those who made it pointed to it as the ad absurdum argument that had to be made. Unbiased logic divorced from either side of the issue tells us that they were right. Perhaps not a chair, I mean, who wants to marry a chair and all, but certainly we have read about dolphin lovers, and polyandry, and polygyny, and all else – robots, being the up and coming fad, were sure to follow.
Many of the same arguments against gay marriage can certainly be made for robotic unions. They can’t have children to be sure. It’s not natural to be sure. The rest likely stack up nicely here. Marriage having always been between men and women anytime we toss in something else we can use the same line of argumentation. People can argue back and forth on the issue all day long and not come to a consensus or compromise that pleases everyone. Civil unions were presented as the way to allow the benefits of marriage to same sex couples without the use of the term marriage. But clearly it wasn’t benefits they wanted it was acceptance. This, of course, angered those who didn’t want to accept what they were doing. While the government can make laws it cannot legislate acceptance. Same sex marriage is now a thing but the acceptance still isn’t there. Disagreement has turned to resentment.
Certainly the Luddites will never accept robot marriage! No law will ever change the human mind. The disagreement will continue.
During the entire debate on same sex marriage I found myself asking a new question, one that I hadn’t pondered before. Why is the government in the marriage business at all? Why does someone need a license from the state to get married? I researched that and found very few answers. The one that made the most sense to me related to children. Children are automatically citizens and so the government has a stake in tracking new citizens. That seems reasonable and I can understand why a government would want to keep track of a new human who has claims on that government. However, this could be done just as well through a birth certificate.
Absent the state there was never a ban on same sex marriage. Without any government permission at all people could always have their union blessed, sanctified, or confirmed in one way or the other. The religiosity of marriage is well known. But even those who are not religious could still write their own vows, sign a contract, or do something meaningful to them to say to everyone they are married and call each other husband and wife, wife and robot, or whatever. There has never been a ban on that. Any church that would take you in and perform the ceremony would do. In fact, for many religions the state “marriage” is a mere formality of no meaning at all in terms of the union. For Christians “in the eyes of God” has never included the state.
If a giant meteor smacked into the earth tomorrow casting us all into chaos and tribalism, wiping out all government at once, would you be any less married because all state computer records of it were destroyed? No. It’s not about benefits or acknowledgement by the state, it’s about acceptance. The problem at the root then is not what form marriage takes but rather the fact that people see the state as the end all be all arbiter of acceptance. If the state accepts them, then nothing else matters, all hail the state! Uncomfortable to think about I know, especially if you are someone who is in a same sex marriage.
After pondering the question of why the state was involved in marriage I concluded that not only does it not need to be but it shouldn’t be. Whom you marry doesn’t actually harm me. Making me uncomfortable isn’t harm. Having a marriage that does not conform to my religion does not harm me. I am hard pressed to think of a way in which I am harmed by someone else’s marriage.
I believe that if the state were not involved in marriage at all the entire issue would be settled. You see, when the state steps in those who do not agree are forced to see something as legitimate. No, they don’t have to accept it in their mind, or heart, but in all other ways they do. This isn’t any more fair than telling someone who they can’t marry. End state interference with marriage and people will enter into their own relationships still. Living in sin shouldn’t be the same as being illegal, or being legal for that matter.
What about taxes? Visitation rights? Property rights? All easily fixed simply.
- Taxes – There should be equal taxes for married and unmarried people.
- Visitation – Hospital forms can include who YOU want to visit you.
- Property – Deeds, titles, etc. already have the ability to have multiple unrelated persons added to them.
And what about the children? A birth certificate records the birth and the parents and those parents have rights. Not because they are married but because they each contributed DNA to the child. What about a sperm donor? Do they have rights since they contributed DNA? Maybe. But legally that’s only now being discussed and practically speaking a contract can be created to clarify a specific relationship.
What does it matter what the nature of the relationship is?
Same sex marriage is seen by many to be immoral. There are many forms of marriage that have existed for 10,000 years that are considered immoral now. Polygyny for example. That’s the form of polygamy where a man has more than one wife. Polyandry is where the woman has more than one husband. That’s been practiced as well especially among some Pacific Island cultures. These forms of marriage are now immoral but it’s an absolute guarantee that one of your ancestors participated.
What I’m about to say is very uncomfortable for many people to hear. Though it’s traditionally thought of as something of the Right, the Left is equally as guilty of it. I don’t believe we should legislate morality. The Right seems to want to and the Left seems to think that they don’t but in fact they do. That’s why a baker has to bake a cake for a gay couple’s wedding. I’ll leave cakes for another day because that’s a complex issue in and of itself.
If we decide the morality of a relationship isn’t something that should be decided by law but rather by religion or by cultural mores then we’re left with the question: do these other forms of marriage take away any of my rights? See, that’s the real purpose of government, to protect rights. To protect morality is an important function of society, culture and religion but stands outside government. Why? One main reason is that government does it by force and it’s not morality anymore if it’s forced. Perhaps it really is time we privatize marriage.
Lilly, from France, is in a relationship with a robot called InMoovator, who she 3D-printed herself and has been living with for a year. ‘I’m a proud robosexual, we don’t hurt anybody,’ she said.