Lots of people have gathered this week in front of the Supreme Court to show the Justice's they either hate DOMA or love it. I imagine the conversations between the 2 camps is completely rational and based in logic. That's sarcasm. Rather than get caught in the crossfire of a snap off vs "it's not Adam & Steve" shouting match I figured I'd type up my thoughts here.
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Being married in America comes with 1049 federal laws that confer benefits upon the couple. Here's a partial benefit list. Homosexuals say that it is unconstitutional to offer benefits to heterosexual married couples exclusively. I ask why? Because if it is unconstitutional for the government to offer benefits to straight married couples but not gay married couples, it would also be unconstitutional to deny benefits to non-couples aka single people. Please allow me to break it down, not from a religious view, but rather a constitutional view. The claim that straights are given benefits that are unobtainable to gays, if true, may be interpreted as unconstitutional. But are they?
One of the marriage benefits that is often cited is visitation rights while a partner is in the hospital. And I agree that people should have the right for their partner to visit them, whether straight, gay or single. Thankfully President Obama remedied that problem 3 years ago with an executive order. Another benefit that is touted for married people is the avoidance of estate taxes. A lot of news stories focus on the case of Edie Windsor who has been in court since 2007 because her partner died and left her everything. But because their union isn't recognized by the federal government, Edie had to pay $363,000 in estate taxes. Her chant is "If my Thea had been Theo I wouldn't have to pay those taxes". Before we go any further, understand that less than 2 tenths of one percent of all people dying leave an inheritance large enough to qualify for taxes according to NPR. The first 5 million dollars is exempt. But even for those 2 tenths of 1 percent, they could have avoided paying the tax with better estate planning. So there's no benefit there either. Obviously we don't have the time to go through all 1049 laws. But a lot of those benefits are already available to gay, straight, or single people if they do some homework.
But what about those benefits that clearly benefit straight married people over everyone else? I'll get to that in a second.
The big argument I've been hearing lately on behalf of striking down DOMA as unconstitutional has been; "the pursuit of happiness is guaranteed, and I can't pursue it if I can't marry the one I love". Bull crap! There are millions of people who can't marry the one they love because the one they love doesn't love them back. Otherwise it was unconstitutional for Stacy Keibler to not marry me and end up dating George Clooney.
"Oh you're playing word games" you say. Maybe... But the pursuit of happiness isn't denied based on things the government grants you, but rather things the government takes away. There was a time when our federal government said they could arrest you for same sex or even bi-racial loving. The final sodomy laws were struck down in 2003. While the Racial Integrity Act died in 1967. Those was unconstitutional because they prohibited you from loving someone. You are now free to love whomever you want and that is the way it should be. So follow your heart and pursue happiness with whomever you desire, as is your constitutional right! But in order for your rights to be violated, the government would have to prohibit you from pursuing love.
Do you want the government granted "benefits" of marriage? Well then you can have them... in exchange for marrying someone of the opposite sex. However the government giving benefits to married couples isn't denying any rights of gays or even straights who want to keep their options open a little while longer. What do you think about this? We'll be talking about this today after 3 or you can leave a respectful comment on our Facebook page.