supporting gay marriage is just another form of bigotry
Adventures in Awkwardness by Nick Keresztury
I started a minor shitstorm on my facebook wall about this topic, and I want to flesh out the issue a little more here. Don't trip and call me a homophobe, just give me a second. Here's the background: The voters of North Carolina passed an amendment to their state constitution further banning respect for gay marriages and civil unions in their state (NC actually already had law that banned gay marriage, they just expanded it and fortified with this amendment). Sucks to be the Democratic party who already planned its convention in that state this year. Gays everywhere cancel their Outer Banks reservations and book Rehoboth Beach instead. So President Obama fires back that gay people ought to be able to marry. Gays everywhere and their liberal hetero pals rejoice and vow to party like it's 1999.
Marriage is about a joke among most heteros, as evidenced by divorce rates, the neverending cultural vilification of in-laws, serial marriers (such as Elizabeth Taylor, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Larry King, Henry Fonda, Kenny Rogers, Billy Bob Thornton and many less famous average joes you know), abundant adulterers, and the many married people you know who talk vile shit on their spouses and generally treat them worse than they treat strangers.
But if you want the right to marry, of course you should have the right to do it. No matter who you are, as long as you are a willing adult capable of choosing to marry without coercion.
But if you think that legalizing gay marriage means equality for all, you are dead wrong.
Why should the government get to decide who your family is? Why shouldn't every individual get to choose who should get the rights and benefits that flow from legal relationships? A popular battle cry is "there are 11,000 laws that are implicated by marriage, gay couples should get to benefit from them just like straight couples" or something like that. Such a round number, it must be bogus. But bogus number aside certainly there are some laws that clearly provide benefits to married couples that we can talk about in concrete rather than hypothetical terms. Social Security and related Medicare eligibility, for example. Here's how it works: American worker earns paycheck, % is deducted from every dollar for most of us and for only the first $108,000 for the rich and put into fund to pay for retirement, disability insurance, and healthcare potentially for the worker, his spouse, and dependents. "Spouse" and "dependent" are defined by legal marriage and biology or legal adoption.
So American worker pays the same amount of tax whether his chosen family of adults and children fits those definitions or not, and therefore whether his family can ever get the benefits or not. Those benefits can add up to literally millions of dollars for a family unlucky enough to have serious treatable illness or injury.
By adding gay marriage to the definition we are still leaving millions of American workers whose choice of family doesn't fit the newly-expanded still-narrow definition. What about man with multiple wives? What about three people who have a plural marriage each to each other? what about a brother and sister who want to marry? Before you trip about the genetic problems of inbreeding, what if they are 70 yrs old? And think about all the people who aren't biologically related who have mutual genetic mutations that result in children born with disabilities. And even siblings of childbearing age could choose to have kids other ways, just like gay couple do. What about kinds of relationships you have never even thought of or heard of? Why shouldn't an American worker who pays the same taxes as a gay or straight person in a legal marriage get the same benefits?
Though the SS and M'care benefits in question here go directly for the spouse or dependent, think about the many ways the worker who paid the tax also benefits from his family members getting income and healthcare. The family members who get the benefits have additional time and capacity to help make his life better since they don't have to earn paychecks or go without medical care.
Here's the thing that is really pissing me off: by fighting for gay marriage we are not creating equality, we are merely demanding that the hetero majority share the bounty of rights and benefits with only who define family as a marriage of two people. Instead of demanding the gates of freedom be open for everyone it's like asking the overlords to just make other key for these people who look mostly like you. Keep the gate locked. Those people who look even less like you can stay out.
Even though I think most marriage is bullshit, if you want to marry, fine, but I propose that marriage no longer be a matter of government sanction. Rather, I think it should go back to where it came from: church. You know this whole political episode is just the religious right continuing its war to consume government and keep church and state hopelessly intertwined. Let churches create there own marriage eligibility requirements, so those who think the bible says one woman/one man can go to that church and get that, those who believe otherwise can find or make their own churches. Perhaps we should also add the possibility of marriage by contract, so atheists can get in on it, too. Let individuals make their own bargains with each other, in groups of two or more, with terms decided only amongst themselves. I think marriages would be so much happier and more meaningful if "til death do us part" got exchanged for "til our youngest kid turns 18 with option to renew every 5 yrs." Imagine how nice it would be when renewal time came around and your spouse felt compelled to butter you up to get you to re-up.
Let's let the worker decide who should receive the benefits of her payroll tax contributions. Let's start with healthcare for every citizen, a birthright, not a benefit from some job you don't even have a right to keep no matter how hard you work. We live in the most bountiful nation in the most prosperous time in human history, there is no reason not to provide a minimum plateful of resources to every one of us, no matter how we choose to define ourselves and our families.
Holy shit, did Penn Jillette read my blog before this past weekend's episode of Penn Sunday School? If not, it's almost eerie how similar our views on this. http://pennsundayschool.com/page/episodes it's Ep 13: his bat, his guy, we can laugh. Also, great rant from Penn about the bogus drug war and how Obama's cavalier remarks about it show his elitism.