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Gay Marriage Discussion

Wednesday, Sep 7, 2011

Columnist shares libertarian views with students

-By Kelsey Schreiberg

USC Law’s Federalist Society’s recent lunchtime event aimed to foster new ideas on gay marriage and expose students to different legal topics. Deroy Murdock, a nationally syndicated columnist, spoke at the event; his talk was entitled “Gay Marriage, Freedom of Association, and Freedom of Religion."

Murdock shared his libertarian perspective on gay rights and freedom of association with students. He detailed examples of the issues that gay rights activists are facing today and explained how these issues relate to specific constitutional amendments. His ability to link relevant topics with the basic rights expressed in the Constitution kept students engaged.

Deroy Murdock
 Deroy Murdock

“In order to be a good soldier, you don’t have to be straight, you just have to shoot straight,” said Murdock referring to the federal “Don’t ask, Don’t tell” policy and quoting the conservative icon and late United States Sen. Barry Goldwater (R-Ariz.)

Noting that the policy was recently repealed, Murdock pointed out the loss of many qualified, highly ranked, and often bilingual soldiers and officers forced to resign while the policy was in place.

Murdock cited several recent cases, including Boy Scouts of America v. Dale and discrimination lawsuits against the dating site eHarmony, to show students a variety of court cases centered on the issue of gay rights.

He also discussed the policy debates for and against the legalization of gay marriage but explained, “The best way to handle marriage is to keep the government out of it.”

Admitting that it can be difficult to satisfy social conservatives and pro marriage activists, Murdock offered several proposals that focused less on a ban of gay marriage and more on ensuring that people in traditional marriages abide by their own marital vows.

 Murdock suggested that heterosexuals in traditional marriages look at the high divorce rate and focus on improving their own marital relations.  He suggested that instead of restricting gay marriages, people should think about banning divorces in traditional marriages or limiting marriage licenses to one per person. Murdock suggested these ideas may be more effective since they would give people in traditional marriages one chance to “get it right.”

Ultimately, Murdock is a supporter of limited government interference, a free market, and believes that people should be able to associate or not associate with whomever they choose.

Murdock’s presentation was so popular that many students remained afterwards to ask Murdock nuanced questions about legal issues that continue to surround gay rights.

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