The following is from the Winter 2010 issue of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy:
Although some libertarians propose to “privatize” marriage, treating marriages the way we treat baptisms and bar mitzvahs, supporters of limited government should recognize that marriage privatization would be a catastrophe for limited government. In the absence of a flourishing marriage culture, families often fail to form, or to achieve and maintain stability. As absentee fathers and out‐of‐wedlock births become common, a train of social pathologies follows. Naturally, the demand for governmental policing and social services grows.
…Strengthening the marriage culture improves children’s shot at becoming upright and productive members of society. In other words, our reasons for enshrining any conception of marriage, and our reasons for believing that the conjugal understanding of marriage is the correct one, are one and the same: the deep link between marriage and children.
In an idealized world where government simply does not respond to increases in a demand for services, the argument above would not be relevant. But in the world we actually live in, it makes a lot of sense.