1,049 reasons why same-sex marriages should be allowed.

On November 2nd, in addition to voting for the next President, residents of Michigan will also be voting on Proposal 2—also known as the Marriage Protection Act—an amendment to the state constitution that would ban same-sex marriages or a “similar union for any purpose.” This amendment would not only reinforce already existing Michigan laws that deny same-sex couples the right to marry, but it also effectively makes it illegal for companies or organizations to offer domestic partnership benefits to same-sex and heterosexual couples, which is something many companies do provide.

Opponents of same-sex marriage like to paint the issue as one of gays seeking “special rights” when the reality is that they’re simply seeking the same rights as heterosexuals. Getting married brings with it a huge number of automatic benefits under not just state law, but federal law as well. In fact, the GAO sat down and compiled a list of 1,049 laws in which marital status is a factor(PDF file) that grant all manner of rights and benefits. Gina Trapani over at Scribbling.net lists off some of the rights gay couples are being denied:

Hospital Visitation Rights

Married couples have the automatic right to visit each other in the hospital and make medical decisions. Same sex couples can be denied the right to visit a sick or injured partner in the hospital.

Terra and I are registered as domestic partners in New York City, which means we could visit one another in a hospital within the five boroughs. However, if we took a car trip across the bridge to New Jersey and got into an accident, we’re screwed.

Health insurance

Many public and private employers provide medical coverage to the legal spouses of their employees, but most employers do not provide coverage to the same-sex partners of their employees. LGBT employees who do receive health coverage for their same-sex partners must pay federal income taxes on the value of the insurance. Same-sex couples cannot even buy a family health insurance policy on the open market.

Terra’s employer does not include unmarried partners in their health coverage. As a result, since I’m self-employed, I pay about $350 a month for health insurance. A friend called this the “lesbian tax.”

Spousal Privilege

Spousal privilege, granted to married couples, is the right of a person to refuse to testify against their spouse in the court of law.

That means if Terra was sued, I could be called on to testify against her. And every email, phonecall, letter, IM and conversation between us would not be protected by spousal privilege, and could be entered into evidence.

Inheritance rights

When a married person’s spouse dies, the survivor can automatically inherit a substantial share from the deceased spouse’s estate regardless of whether a will exists. Without marriage, a same-sex partner has no automatic right to inherit.

This means Terra and I have to write wills to guarantee either of us inherits from the other if one of us dies. How many people do you know under thirty who have a will?

Family leave

Married workers in many workplaces are legally entitled to unpaid leave from their jobs to care for an ill spouse but workers with same-sex partners have no right to family leave.

Pensions

After the death of a worker, most pension plans pay survivor benefits only to a legal spouse of the participant – so surviving same-sex partners get no pension support for their surviving partners. Any pension dies with the worker.

Nursing homes

Married couples have a legal right to live together in nursing homes. An unmarried and elderly same-sex couple does not have the right to spend their final days together in a nursing home.

Home protection

Laws protect married seniors from being forced to sell their homes to pay high nursing-home bills; seniors in same-sex relationships have no such protection. A non-married partner can be forced to sell his or her own house to repay a state lien for nursing home care. A non-married partner who lives in the home but does not own it could even be forced from the home to pay nursing home costs.

Retirement savings

While a married person can roll over a deceased spouse’s 401(k) or IRA funds into an IRA without paying taxes, surviving partners in same-sex relationships must withdraw the entire amount, pay income taxes on it and also lose the tax deferral benefits of these accounts.

Taxes

Estate taxes. A spouse who dies may leave an unlimited amount of property to the surviving spouse without paying any state or federal estate taxes. Without the benefit of marriage, any amount of property over the federal or state exclusion amounts is taxed.

Income tax. Every year, Terra and I are forced to file our taxes separately, as “single” people, ineligible for the tax benefits afforded to married couples.

Social Security benefits

Married people receive Social Security payments upon the death of a spouse. Despite paying payroll taxes, surviving partners in same-sex relationships receive no Social Security survivor benefits resulting in an average annual income loss of $5,528 upon the death of a partner.

That’s just 11 examples out of 1,049 laws. I’ve asked before if there was anyone who could provide me with one rational reason that doesn’t involve religion as to why gays shouldn’t be allowed to marry and the one person who tried fell back on unsubstantiated stereotypes. These laws are nothing more than good old fashioned discrimination at its worst.

If you live in Michigan, or any of the other states that will be voting on similar legislation come November, I urge you to make every effort to get out and vote to defeat these proposals.  In Michigan you can learn more and offer to help the cause by visiting The Coalition for a Fair Michigan website. Plus you can order your own lawn signs.

Link found via ***Dave’s blog.

24 thoughts on “1,049 reasons why same-sex marriages should be allowed.

  1. “but it also effectively makes it illegal for companies or organizations to offer domestic partnership benefits to same-sex and heterosexual couples, which is something many companies do provide.”

    This should be a big concern to everyone.

  2. I find it ironic that those who are most ostensibly “pro-business” and in favor of businesses being able to set their own policies on, say, benefits and the like are associated so closely with those who would prevent businesses from doing just that, should they choose.

    Idiots.

  3. In California, at least, homosexual couples have special rights as opposed to heterosexual couples.  And I, much to my regret, voted for it.  While a gay person can have his partner added to his auto insurance policy, heterosexual couples who are not married do not have that right.  The gay couple gets extra privileges based on being gay, which should have no relevance whatsoever.  The only thing that matters is human rights, and that is why I voted for the measure.  I wrongly assumed that this was about being fair toward human beings, when that was not at all the spirit of the measure.  The word “marriage” should remain as it is in its various applications, legal or social – involving a man and a woman.  The concept of human rights, such as health benefits, hospital visiting rights, etc. should be equally applicable to all human beings.  Gays should be able to form legal partnerships if that is what they want, and I think it’s fine for them to get whatever legal benefits they can by doing so.  Just leave the WORD marriage alone.  Redefining and expanding meanings is a lame marketing attempt of those who would wish to promote their own special interests.

  4. While a gay person can have his partner added to his auto insurance policy, heterosexual couples who are not married do not have that right.

    Uh, HELLO?  It’s to make up for the fact that he and his partner CAN’T GET MARRIED.  If they COULD, you wouldn’t have to have this special law to give them equivalent rights for an equivalent commitment.  What part of this don’t you WANT to understand??

    Gays should be able to form legal partnerships if that is what they want, and I think it’s fine for them to get whatever legal benefits they can by doing so.

    This is what the law that you voted for was all about.  It’s not an “extra” privilege; it’s the same one that heterosexuals get with the use of the word “marriage.”  If you don’t want gay couples to be able to use “your word” (bwah), then they should get all the laws passed necessary to give them the same rights anyway.

    Clearly you have no idea what you’re talking about, except your clear bigotry (which is usually founded on ignorance to begin with).

  5. A rose by any other name, in other words, right?

    Ridiculous.

    If the foundation of the word “marriage” is so shaky, and built on such a house of cards that it cannot incorporate same-sex relationships, then it’s not got much value anyway, in my opinion.

    What’s the point of creating a new term for same-sex relationships, if they get all the same benefits?  Is it so the heteros can say, “Well, I’m married, but your little thing over there is just fine, too.  I still respect you.”

    Les is right, it’s discrimination, plain and simple.  Equal rights are not afforded to homosexuals. 

    The argument, however, that heterosexual couples don’t have the same benefits of gay couples if they aren’t married is specious.  Heterosexual couples have a CHOICE about marriage.  If they choose not to exercise their right to marriage and all it’s privelege, fuck ‘em.  That’s a decision they made. 

    Gay couples currently have no choice.  And if a gay couple WERE to be afforded the same option for marriage, and chose not to exercise that legal bond, then fuck them too.  We can’t have laws on the books for every damn contingency.

    We’re voting here in Oregon on Measure 36, which attempts to rewrite the state constitution to define marriage as exclusively between one man and one woman.  It’s wrong on multiple levels, and I’m voting against it.

    BTW, not that it matters, but I have been married to the same woman for thirteen years.  We both agree that this is the civil rights movement of our generation, and I don’t think the battle will be given over easily.  It’s barbaric, after all the progress we’ve made in other areas of society, to ask homosexuals to simply crawl back into the closet, and expect them to quietly stand by while a narrow-minded public denies them the basic rights we heteros have come to take for granted.

  6. And just why should couples have to get married in order to get human rights?  I fail to understand why marriage needs to be a legal arrangement, as commitment is entirely unrelated to legal validation.

    “If you don’t want gay couples to be able to use “your word

  7. Human rights and civil rights are two different things.

    You say in your last statement that “these militant people promoting their own personal interests” (and by that I’m guessing you mean gays) should “expend their energy toward loftier goals.”  How much loftier a goal should they shoot for, if not equal civil rights for all citizens, regardless of race, color, creed, sex, or sexual orientation?

    Human rights apply to all humans.  Hence the name.  They include things like the right to not be sold into slavery, or tortured like a lab rat.  Aside from the Geneva convention, and a couple of other such documents, human rights are rarely documented, and tend to be more nebulous.  However, they are basic precepts that MOST right-thinking and rational people would agree are inherent to all people who inhabit the earth, whether they are allowed to exercise those rights or not.

    Civil rights, however, are those afforded to us by federal and state laws, and our constitution.  You have the right to bear arms, but you don’t have to.  You have the right to an attorney during questioning by the police, but you don’t have to.  You have the right (as a heterosexual couple) to be married, and thereby gain the benefits associated with such a union, but you don’t have to.

    See a pattern?

    Marriage, as a civil union, is a vehicle for a couple to obtain certain rights, completely separate from any religious connotations.  By that one simple act, they purchase for themselves a complete package of rights AND responsibilities that is unparalleled.  You would have to have a stack of legal documents six inches thick to afford someone the same priveleges in all areas, were you to attempt to cover all bases outside of the marriage act.

    A gay couple does not have this option, and therefore, those people are not afforded the same civil rights as heterosexuals.  This is discrimination.

    Now, for a heterosexual couple to go through all those legal hoops to gain the same benefits, when they could just get married is, well, just fucking stupid.  What’s the point?  “Oh, I don’t want to HAVE to get married, just because society says I do.”  Grow the fuck up, or move to the Netherlands, if they’ll have you.  Otherwise, quit bitching.

  8. Any two people ought to be able to have the civil rights and human rights associated with a legal/civil union “regardless of race, color, creed, sex, or sexual orientation?”  Key word:  regardless – not because of.  I have no opposition to gays, heterosexuals, asexuals or any other kind of people who wish to have a domestic partnership being afforded these rights.  My concerns are that basic human rights are violated daily, and depriving people of basic human needs constitutes the worst kind of violation.  The word marriage has long been understood to apply to a man and a woman, and I see no reason to redefine it.  I see reason to leave it alone, because I believe that the ones behind making this change have an agenda which is beyond ensuring civil rights.  Redefining, expanding definitions, and labeling (as in when the DSM labeled homosexuality a mental illness, and then changing their “expert” designation because of social pressure) makes me uncomfortable.  I equally dislike that senility/senile dementia, well known for as long as I can remember, was renamed Alzheimer’s in order to add legitimacy and attention to a known condition, for the purpose of promoting funding to the medical industry.

    Just as abortion (a personal and medical issue) should have no place in politics, neither should sexuality be acknowledged in affording human and civil rights.

  9. Opponents of same-sex marriage like to paint the issue as one of gays seeking “special rights

  10. neither should sexuality be acknowledged in affording human and civil rights.

    Should race be acknowledged in affording human and civil rights?

    Should gender?

    Should religious beliefs?

  11. LV, your comment on Alzheimer’s disease is simply astounding.  There are many causes of senile dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is one specific type.  Other causes include stroke, dehydration, hardening of the arteries, and severe depression.  Each deserves to be researched and effective treatments found.

    My beloved neighbor died – slowly – of Alzheimer’s, and it is the cruellest fate you can imagine.  (Well, that I can imagine… I don’t know what’s crawling around in your little brain.) 

    As for “redefining” marriage, or homosexuality for that matter, you seem to want human progress to come to a screeching halt.  After all, schitzophrenia used to be called demon posession and was “treated” by torture. 

    The Earth turns ‘round 15 degrees per hour, and as dawn comes, we might see in the light of day that some menacing shadows are nothing to be afraid of. So it is with homosexuality.

    And which “definition” of marriage?  There have been quite a few over the years.  A life-partner looking out for you, and for whom you are looking out, seems to be the core concept.  Or would you deny such a blessing to someone who just makes you uneasy.

  12. Acknowledging race, gender, religious beliefs –

    Race should have no bearing; the only relevant race in dispensing human and civil rights is the human race.

    Women can and do have babies; it is specific to the gender.  Thus women’s rights may differ based on this.

    We are told that we have freedom of religion.  Religion is indeed a choice, and because we have formally been given the right to our religion of choice, we may have unique rights based on our particular religion.  Unfortunately, these rights are often violated if our religion of choice strays from social convention, and we have to put up a fight for something that should not be in question – like Jehovah’s Witnesses refusing blood for their children, or Christian Scientists refusing medical care.  It’s not much of a right if you have to fight for it.

    And do I have multiple personalities?  Probably…

  13. Wow.  Once again it seems that passed a law that treats a symptom but fails to address the problem.

    Before LadyVeronica went off the deep end, she raised an interesting point.  ‘Why should a (unmarried)homosexual couple be afforded any rights that are not afforded to a (unmarried)heterosexual couples?’

    IMHO this is a form of discrimination.  Either all couples receive equal rights or none do.  The way to fix this is to simply allow gays to assume the rights and responsibilities of marriage.  With the current in laws in place it makes it quite easy to see where wide-spread abuse and discrimination could occur.  Half-measures of government seem to cause more problems than they fix.

  14. Two of my family members have suffered from senile dementia, and a third is suffering from it now.  It is far from new, and perhaps research can bring effective treatments.  Does giving it a new name make it more important and worthy of investigation?  Not as far as I’m concerned.  Progress is working with what you have and what you know, and making it better.  Marketing and psychological manipulation in the name of public education is another matter.

    I acknowledge your statement that Alzheimer’s is a specific type of dementia, but I constantly see the term used in place of the word senility.  Much to my chagrin, I have to use the word myself in talking to doctors about my relative, who is senile.  I understand that I have to use the correct term for effective communication.

  15. Hey, i’d all be for not allowing gay marriage IF marriage had NO LEGAL STATUS.

    But, it does.

    It’s high time we abolish state sanctioned marriages and force EVERYONE into civil unions.

    If not everyone, then NO ONE.

    rob@egoz.org says “make marriage illegal!”

  16. Okay, I think I finally know what this is really about.  You see, this is all about words and their definitions. 
    LV has a problem with words changing definitions, or having new definitions added to these same said words.  However, creating new words isn’t a viable option either because that would be giving a group a new word based on sexual preference alone.  Also, this rearranging, redefining, and naming, according to LV, is all just ‘marketing’.  Definition: The act or process of buying and selling in a market. 
    Obviously, this word ‘marketing’ has a negative connotation for LV.  Which is sad, because we do after all rely on ‘marketing’ in many ways in our capitalist society.  This hatred of an ideal is much the same thing as hating lawyers, doctors, and those pesky advertisers – until you happen to need them. 
    Marketing isn’t a four letter word, LV.  It has 9 letters in it.  Just letting you know.
    Anywho… allowing a group to share a ‘word’ isn’t a bad thing.  As society changes it often becomes necessary to broaden definitions and meanings.  For instance, the word ‘vote’ and ‘voting’ meant, not so long ago, the right for a white man to give his political endorsement in an election or to resolve an issue. 
    “Lady”Veronica, aren’t you glad our society changed the meaning of the word ‘vote’ in this country?  Or is that just marketing to you?
          – Matt

  17. I wasn’t aware of the change in the definition of voting, and have only known the word in its current context.

    Sometimes it is appropriate to broaden the definition of a term, but more often, it is done beyond the limits of good taste – completely destroying original meaning.  As it stands, we all have our own perspectives on meaning, but the further we go from original meaning, the harder it becomes to communicate with effectiveness and understanding.

    You are right that marketing is akin to a four-letter word to me. 

    “Also, this rearranging, redefining, and naming, according to LV, is all just ‘marketing’.  Definition: The act or process of buying and selling in a market”

    The selling of goods and the selling of ideas, religions and beliefs constitute marketing to me.  When it is ideas that are being marketed, I am automatically suspicious and get the sense that my freedom is being infringed upon.  I don’t want to be told how to think.  I see it as psychological manipulation.  I don’t believe everything I hear, and the speaker having a special expert title or degree doesn’t make me assume his legitimacy.

    Telemarketers annoy me to no end, as I pay for phone service to serve the members of this household.  It is a major invasion of privacy, which for the most part has been solved by Caller ID.  But lately I have been getting calls from local numbers, and it is candidates marketing themselves in order to get elected next month.  Even the Sheriff’s Department left a message (not a local number) telling us who we ought to vote for.  It’s hard to make a voting decision based on whether or not the candidates telemarket you, since so many of them do it, but I can say that two of them implanted their names in my memory and will not be getting my vote.

  18. You weren’t aware that voting has changed?  That a new definition has been applied?  Hmmm.  Anywho…
    What you are suggesting is that marriage between a man and a man, or a woman and a woman would completely ‘destroy’ the original meaning of the word marriage?  That is interesting, and I would love to know how you arrived at this idea. 
    I tend to believe that the divorce rate has more of an effect on the meaning of marriage rather than allowing two people of any gender to marry.  But, I suppose this just goes back to what Les has already said about, “provide me with one rational reason that doesn’t involve religion”. 
    Oh, and yes, I agree that Telemarketers are very annoying… One question, however: Which do you enjoy more, apples or oranges? 
            – Matt

  19. Sometimes it is appropriate to broaden the definition of a term, but more often, it is done beyond the limits of good taste – completely destroying original meaning.  As it stands, we all have our own perspectives on meaning, but the further we go from original meaning, the harder it becomes to communicate with effectiveness and understanding.

    The term “marriage”, believe it or not, was once a lot broader in Christianity than it is in this present day.

    Before BlackDeath in Europe marriage between two males was not that uncommon.  FACT:  Many a church registry in pre-BlackDeath Europe logged marriages between two males.  This is the type of fact that modern, especially American, Christians try to ignore—or just censure out of their education.  But, facts or reason are less important than their own carnal, divisive, ideology.

    Jesus of Nazareth never sounded like these present day American Christians, with all their hate.

    G-d help them.

    rob@egoz.org

  20. Wow Rob, I was completely ignorant of that, and with me being a history buff and all. I’m going to have to go back to the books on this one.

    And yes, every one of those reasons is valid and irrefutable. I’m not too big a fan of the advantages married couples get over unmarried couples, but if they’re going to exist, there’s no reason beyond simple bigotry why same sex couples shouldn’t have access to them too.

  21. Mick,
    Being a history buff, you may find the following of interest: “Reich Legal Director Hans Frank in 1938 issued orders for more rigorous surveillance: Particular attention should be addressed to homosexuality, which is clearly expressive of a disposition opposed to the normal national community. Homosexual activity means the negation of the community as it must be constituted if the race is not to perish. That is why homosexual behaviour, in particular, merits no mercy.” You can find this at: http://infopt.demon.co.uk/nazi.htm

  22. i think same sex marriage should be allowed to happen its not like were asking ppl to marry the same sex if they dun want tyo or anything like that. even if there not aloud to get married chances are they are still going to do the same stuff if tyhey were married or not,

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