Oct 242011

On Sunday’s episode of Philosophy in Action Radio, Greg Perkins and I answered questions on state involvement in marriage, last names in marriage, marrying someone for a Green Card, being too much crazy in love, and more. The podcast of that episode is now available for streaming or downloading.

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Whole Podcast: 23 October 2011

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Podcast Segments: 23 October 2011

You can download or listen to my answers to individual questions from this episode below.


My News of the Week: As usual, I’ve been tending to Dr. Gimpy. I’ve also been programming for new web site, particularly splitting the audio files per question for the archives. Everything should be ready for launch in the first webcast in November, if not a bit sooner!

Question 1: State Involvement in Marriage

Question: Should the state be involved in marriage contracts? Many people say that gay marriage shouldn’t be a political issue, because the state shouldn’t be involved in defining marriage at all. Is that right? Why or why not?

My Answer, In Brief: We ought to separate politics and marriage, by treating marriage like any other contract. The state has a limited but crucial role to play in marriage to ensure that marriage contracts are objective, voluntary, and enforced. However, the state should not play social engineer by deciding who can get married or the terms of that marriage.

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To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 2: Last Names in Marriage

Question: Should women adopt the last names of their husbands? In today’s culture, some newly-married women adopt the family name of their husbands. Some keep their own last name. Some hyphenate their names together. Some use their maiden name for work, but their married name in their personal life. Some couples adopt a wholly new name for themselves. What do you think of these various options? Should the possibility of divorce affect a woman’s decision? Should the husband have a say in the woman’s decision? Should men be more willing to change their own last name to that of their new wife?

My Answer, In Brief: A married couple has a wide range of options in last names, and they ought to choose whatever suits them best… except hyphenation.

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To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 3: Marrying Someone for a Green Card

Question: Is it moral to marry someone just to obtain a green card? Given the difficulties of immigrating to the United States, is it immoral to circumvent those bad laws by marrying someone solely to obtain a green card? Would it matter if the person were a good friend?

My Answer, In Brief: America’s current immigration laws systematically violate rights, so it’s not immoral to break them per se. But in this case, the sacrifice required would likely be too great.

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To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Question 4: Being Too Much Crazy in Love

Question: Is it irrational to be “crazy in love” with your boyfriend or girlfriend – such as wanting to keep an old shirt and other discarded items? Does it matter whether the relationship is in an early or later stage?

My Answer, In Brief: Everything depends on what, how, and why is done, but people shouldn’t invent attachments that don’t yet or might never exist.

Listen or Download:

To comment on this question or my answer, visit its comment thread.

Rapid Fire Questions


  • Can it be written in the marriage contract that anyone can end their marriage at will?
  • What should you do to defuse an e-mail conversation that has gotten too heated?

Listen or Download:

  • Start Time: 1:01:32
  • Duration: 3:41
  • Download: MP3 Segment

To comment on these questions or my answers, visit its comment thread.


Be sure to check out the topics scheduled for upcoming episodes! Don’t forget to submit and vote on questions for future episodes too!

  • Start Time: 1:05:14

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Philosophy in Action Radio focuses on the application of rational principles to the challenges of real life. It broadcasts live on most Sunday mornings and many Thursday evenings over the internet. For information on upcoming shows, visit the Episodes on Tap. For podcasts of past shows, visit the Show Archives.

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Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha