Chick-Fil-A has been the center of some very heated and passionate controversy over the last few weeks. COO Dan Cathy's public support of what he calls traditional marriage brought close scrutiny from the American media to the same-sex marriage issue and the subsequent protests his remarks generated.
Much of the commentary has centered around opinions on whether same-sex marriage should be institutionalized. Comments like this sadly miss the debate's entire point. That is easy to do because the point is an unasked question looming in the background like the proverbial gorilla in the living room. The real question is not whether same-sex marriage should become institutionalized but should government be regulating marriage in the first place.
Government regulation is problematic. No one will be completely happy with any solution government imposes because too many people are so passionate about their viewpoints that they are unwilling to compromise. The LBGT movement remains as intractable as the Catholic Church; neither party nor the side of the debate they represent is likely to budge any time soon. Compromise seems out of the question. So what good will any sort of marriage legislation does? A sizable voter bloc will be very angry and likely feel extremely disenfranchised because they will rightly believe legislators are imposing a belief they do not hold.
Why not just leave it to the various churches and other religious institutions to decide? Christian churches are divided on the issue. A couple wishing to marry will find a church willing to allow it. There is an Anglican priest willing to bless a same-sex marriage for every Catholic priest that will not. American dissenters traditionally vote with their feet. Churches that maintain an unpopular position will not likely flourish because dissenters will migrate to congregations and parishes that they agree with. The market will decide which viewpoint will endure.
Agorism is a perfectly acceptable alternative for anyone unwilling to participate in religion. Two consenting adults are legally free to draw up whatever contracts they wish and bind their property together. It should be a foregone conclusion that a non-religious alternative would succeed considering the number of marriages performed outside organized religion on a yearly basis.
Same-sex marriage is a perfect example of how government can actually create more problems than it solves by regulating something individuals have historically been able to resolve for themselves. Individuals may even be more likely to draw up very detailed contracts since a catch-all law subject to interpretation would not exist without government interference. Everyone wishing to marry will be able to do so if the government will simply get out of the way.
It is time to stop arguing over institutionalizing same-sex marriage and start pushing to deregulate marriage altogether. People will be able to reach an agreeable solution on their own. Churches would continue to debate the subject, but that debate would remain peaceful as it always has. Couples wishing to marry but unwilling to do so in a church have options as well. The solution is simple and it is time to adopt it.