Thursday, May 07, 2009

Gay Marriage and the Tax Code

Would gays (and lesbians) still push for "marriage" if there were no tax advantages to being married? At the Federal level, as of now, that is an advantage married couples enjoy that civil unionized couples don't. There are other benefits as well: Social Security Survivor benefits, immigration sponsorship, and others I'm not aware of. (Health benefits, pensions, and health care directives are matters of private contract.)

I'm beginning to lean more toward abolishing marriage as a state institution altogether. The State would sanction only civil unions; if a couple wants to get "married" (however they may define it), they can, in a church or other organization.

I read one gay commenter who whined that his friends and family didn't celebrate his civil union with his partner, but did celebrate their "marriage." I wonder if the couple sent out announcements, registered at local stores, and had a party when they received their civil union? (You want presents? Host a bash!) The expectation of receiving presents, as Miss Manners would primly inform him, is not why you get married and have a party. But that's another subject.

When the City of San Francisco decided that all employers had to offer family health benefits, including to "registered domestic partners," the Archdiocese of San Francisco objected. They lost. So the Archdiocese decided that their employees could designate any one adult to include under their health insurance. A parent could include an adult child. An adult child could include a parent or a grandparent. You could cover your roommate. I thought that was a brilliant solution. In fact, I would love to include DS#1 under my insurance, since he is a student and has "aged out" of the "Dependent" category. There are a lot of other parents in my situation: their adult children, for whatever reason, are currently without medical coverage. I don't expect it to be free; I expect to be charged, much as I would be under any Family Coverage plan.

When Hubs and I were first married, we actually paid more in taxes than we would had we been single. It was known as "the marriage penalty tax." And no one was beating down the door demanding to be able to join us (except other old-fashioned, heterosexual couples).

From their rhetoric, gay marriage proponents want equality. Fine. Let's eliminate marriage all together and reconfigure the tax code to suit. Is that what they really want? What will they demand next?

Update: See Doc Zero's thoughtful post, The Tyranny of False Choices, over in the Green Room at Hot Air