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Viewpoint: Leave government out of marriage

BY ASA SMITH

Published April 19, 2010

We all experience a sort of joy when a politician says something dumb. Sometimes it is the famous “BYAAAAAAAH” that killed the presidential campaign of Howard Dean. Sometimes it is Vice President Joe Biden peppering his comments on health care with four-letter words. It’s like watching a trainwreck in slow motion — you know it’s coming before it happens. And then, boom, the shattered wreck of a former promising political figure lies in front of you.

On April 7, Mike Huckabee announced to an audience at The College of New Jersey that he believes gay marriage is the same as incest and polygamy. His comments were certainly offensive and inconsiderate. But, ultimately, he is not entirely wrong. Let me explain: polygamy, homosexuality and other forms of sexual preference shouldn’t be the business of the government.

Huckabee claimed in his speech that it is the burden of the gay rights activists to prove that gay marriage is stable and that, since “children are not puppies," gays shouldn’t be allowed to adopt. While his words are offensive (but factual — children are not, in fact, puppies), Huckabee undermines his entire point.

At this point in time, I believe there are few people outside the Westboro Baptist Church, a congregation that pickets soldiers' funerals with signs as clever as “God Hates Gays” and “God Hates America,” who believe that gays shouldn’t be allowed to live their lives in peace. What people do in the privacy of their own homes is their own business. The percentage of Michigan residents in 2004 that believe homosexuals should be able to marry is in fact a different issue, which has a lot to do with the definition of marriage.

Marriage, while believed to be a very sacred entity, should be allowed for all. And I do mean all. If two men want to marry, they should be able to. If four women want to marry, they should be able to. And if I want to remain unmarried, there shouldn’t be a tax break for those that do.

While I make light of the situation, the meddling of government in personal business (and medical and financial matters) is a very troubling trend. I don’t absolve any party. President George W. Bush meddled with Wall Street and President Barack Obama meddled with…Medical Street? I don’t want people in Washington determining the morals of this country as much as I don’t want them making me pay for $315 million in pet projects to build bridges to nowhere. This trend of government meddling is truly disturbing.

The job of the government is the defense, infrastructure and setting of laws in this nation. Civilization depends on these three things. And while I'm at it, I will include education, merely because this school is public and I’m sure I’m not paying nearly as much as I would if it were private. But that is significantly more selfish and less ideological than my objective here.

Huckabee has a lot of good ideas; most of them are about dieting. (For those of you who are unaware, Huckabee used to be obese but lost 120 pounds after being diagnosed with diabetes.) One quick way to lose any chance at winning an election is to make ignorant and offensive comments with no productive input. He and the rest of the Republican Party need to get back to Goldwater Conservatism: limited government, in all facets of life.

Asa Smith is an LSA junior.