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End Marriage Privileging
Consider this: Marriage, as it's currently practiced in our society, is a violation of the separation of church and state. Gays and lesbians can't do it, why? Because it isn't in keeping with a lot of people's religion, that's why.

Moreover, if we are passing out tax breaks, it's unfair that they don't go to everyone; only the people who get married under religiously acceptable terms. Check out how it works for people who can't get married even if they want to, via an e-mail from a gay man received by Andrew Sullivan:

In my own case, my partner and I are selling my house here in California - and I will have more than $600,000 in gains. We've been together 4 years. If I gifted him half the house - he would be taxed. A couple who could have married however, would get a $500,000 flat excusion for gains under the tax code. As a single, unmarried man I get only a $250,000 exclusion - meaning that I am paying in just this one instance more than $100,000 penalty in taxes that a married couple would not have.

Next, let's look at the health insurance issue. First of all, I don't think employers should be paying people's health insurance at all. Reason's Tim Cavanaugh has a very good point:

If it's unreasonable to expect a boss to insure multiple spouses, why is it reasonable when we force her to insure just one? Single people already subsidize their married co-workers and fellow taxpayers in numerous ways; perhaps it's worth reconsidering the social engineering arguments that created this situation.

In short, gays and lesbians, and people like me, who don't believe in marriage, but are in longterm relationships, get fewer rights and protections, and fewer benefits than any straight taxpayer -- and a heavier tax burden to boot. So much for the guarantee of equal protection under the law.

Posted by aalkon at May 2, 2006 11:21 AM

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Comments

Your friend Ms Seipp would point out that you have the same exact rights as everyone else: you have the right to enter a heterosexual marriage.

Then again, your friend Ms. Seipp is crazy as a loon on some topics.

Posted by: franko at May 2, 2006 10:58 AM

I propose that we truly separate church and state: any two people who want the legal protections of marriage (and some of them do make sense, like inheritance and decision making ability for the other in life-and-death situations) they enter into a civil union which is available to everyone straight, gay or other. Anyone who wants their union "sanctified by God" can go ahead and do that...totally separately from the civil union process. You can do one, the other or both, but a religious ceremony itself has no legal standing. See, everyone wins!

Posted by: deja pseu at May 2, 2006 1:46 PM

I have been puzzled about this for some time... not about the inequities faced by some, because they could see or should have seen that coming, but because some people still deny or don't know that the tribe still has an interest in what legal efforts you undertake.

Make no mistake about this: the laws of inheritance are far simpler for "nuclear" families, however they break up or down, than for those whose affiliations are "unconventional" - and that includes heteros who decide not to declare for each other down at the magistrates office. It has looked to me for years as though people talking about this issue are trying to get the approval of fundamental agencies, to force the agencies to change for them. How logical is that, even given the idea of equal protection under the law?

Meanwhile, let me ask a question: do you [i]really[/i] want government notice of your relationships when the State is NOT preparing for new citizens, i.e., offspring? Isn't that hypocritical of those who, on every other issue, insist that governmental involvement be less?

Posted by: Radwaste at May 2, 2006 2:45 PM

It sounds to me like the makings of a constitutional issue. What do you suppose John Roberts, et al, would have to say about it.

Posted by: cmballer at May 2, 2006 3:51 PM

As your former compadre in the advice giving game, Ann Landers, would say :"wake up and smell the coffee, toots". This country is run by the married or formerly married or soon to be married or hope to be married and us singles get the shaft. It's all about the children, little shits, and they better be ready to pony up when I start collecting my soc sec checks.

Posted by: bart at May 2, 2006 4:15 PM

> You can do one, the other or both, but a religious ceremony itself has no legal standing.


....as is already the case in UK and, I think, France. Dunno about the rest of EU.


> why? Because it isn't in keeping with a lot of people's religion, that's why.


I don't think that's it. I think it's that the State has no interest in a union that cannot possibly have issue. Yes I know, man/woman combinations can be irrevocably infertile, too. If you force me, I'd have to agree that logically they should not have access to the state of marriage either. Seems a bit cruel, though -- I'd rather continue pretending that some yet-to-be-discovered medical procedure might change the situation.

Posted by: Stu "El Inglés" Harris at May 2, 2006 4:27 PM

> everyone wins!

It would work if people wanted to compromise, but it looks like neither side does. GM advocates want their marriages to be 'just like' straight ones, and GM opponents are offering no concessions.

Posted by: Crid at May 2, 2006 4:39 PM

There is another reason.

There is the assumption that it is in society's best interest to have stable, monogamous, heterosexual marriages. Those assumptions can be supported by statistics--that, for example, children from stable homes with both biological parents are much less likely to end up being in prison or institutionalized, etc., and so cost society less.

Based on this assumption, supporting (or at least not getting in the way of) traditional marriage is in society's best interest for very basic, non-religeous reasons. In fact, one could speculate that both the church and the state privilege marriage for the same reasons.

Arguments to the contrary always assume that marriage is a right, which it clearly is not.

There are, of course, areas where the privileges marriage have been given have probably gone overboard--such as not supporting homosexual partners with insurance, etc. But its a fine line, and not as clear cut as either the blog or the responses seem to make it.

Thanks for listening.

Todd

Posted by: Todd at May 3, 2006 10:43 AM

GM advocates want their marriages to be 'just like' straight ones

Actually the GM advocates I've read just want to have the same rules for everyone. So if both straight and gay couples had to enter into a civil union to get the legal benefits, they'd be fine with that, as opposed to the two-tiered or even non-existant options open to gay/lesbian couples now.

Posted by: deja pseu at May 3, 2006 4:17 PM

We're all equal under the law; what else could we ask for?

Posted by: Crid at May 4, 2006 2:26 AM

IF we were all equal under the law, that would be great. All we have to do is make all marriages civil marriages. If you have religion in your life, you're free to have a ceremony at your preferred place of voodoo.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at May 4, 2006 6:34 AM

Athiests get married all the time. Hell, I did it once. The spot where it went down is now an auto dealership.

Posted by: Crid at May 4, 2006 9:14 AM

A civil ceremony for straight atheists is not the same thing as allowing gays/lesbians to enter into a civil union. You had that option, they don't.

Posted by: deja pseu at May 4, 2006 5:03 PM

Is this thread too old?

> You had that option, they don't.

Well, they don't with each other. But claims of unequal treatment under the law really don't apply. People supporting gay marriage want to lowball their description of the change they want to make; it's cowardly and it's illogical.

Posted by: Crid at May 7, 2006 11:11 AM

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