August 09, 2004
That Whole Gay Marriage Thing
Posted by scott at August 09, 2004 04:12 PM
Personally, I support gay marriage. Well, maybe that's too strong a word... let's say I certainly don't oppose it. I think this world is plenty tough and lonely enough, and if you find someone you want to share it with what difference does it make if they have the same equipment as you? I thought the constitutional amendment thing was stupid, predictable grandstanding, and I find it amazing anyone ever took it seriously. Virginia Postrel has this nifty take on the "gay marriage is the new abortion rights" thing:
The comparison doesn't hold in one, very important respect: Abortions are sad. Weddings are happy ...
People support abortion rights out of fear. They support gay marriage out of love ... That changes the politics, particularly with time and experience.
Yeah, that sounds about right.
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Interesting we have consensus on this matter. For as long as a person pays their taxes and doesn't undermine the government, who their married too doesn't really keep me up at night. If people believe that it going to lead someone to burn in hell, what business is it of theirs? All the lifestyle issues that the Republican party runs on are just that way. I ranted about the 3G's of the Republian campaign in May. You should check it out here.
Thing is, there are all sorts of legal rights and protections that married couples have. Divorce courts, child support, and special tax brackets are just a few of the services that government provides married couples, and naturally gay couples want access to those services, too.
The problem is, there are costs involved in running these things, and while the benefits of a stable male-female marriage (especially for their offspring) are well known, the benefits gay couples provide society are not (and any efforts to impartially research them inevitably lead to accusations of "gay-bashing").
My opinion is that, even if the entire government somehow ended up being made entirely of homosexuals, that the government's support of traditional marriages would be ended, instead of homosexual marriage being supported. Reality doesn't change just because some segment of society wants it to, and our social services branch is a massive drain on our economic resources already; any further burden and it would have to be cut free for our government to survive.
My understanding of the services that you refer to, other than the policing of them, are at a per cost rate. If, and I stress if because I'm not certain, this is the case, then it isn't a huge deal as they would have to pay for the services themselves. If not, then the costs introduced by the support of gay marriage are incremental to the overall effect - probably in the area of less than 1% or so of an increase (I don't think there are that many gay marriages waiting to happen that we'd be inundated.).
As for the benefits of gay marriage to our society, I don't think there's been a reliable study showing one or the other viewpoint to be valid. While there have been studies showing that stable male-female marriages are critical for a child's development (or that unstable marriages are bad, for that matter), I don't think that introduction of gay marriages will have any real impact on the future of our children. If these marriages have the same stability level as the rest of the country, then it isn't a big deal, and I haven't seen anything to prove that there'd be a significant deviation from the norm in this regard.
Summary: Until someone can show that there will be a large incremental cost to the taxpayers or that there is a significant decrease in the quality of a child's development, then legalize it and have at it.
Besides we must not forget about the marriage penalty. They are volunteering to fall into the marriage tax trap, I say more power to them. They can jump in start sharing some of my tax burden.
As for the government getting rid of traditional marriage, I find that hard to believe. I mean I've never heard a gay person advocate against traditional relationships. I think that's just one of those myths about gays been ultra permissive and trying to convert everyone. As a general rule, I doubt that they are any different than the normal human population for permissiveness despite the stereotype.
It's not a matter of gays wanting to end traditional marriage, just another example the law of unintended consequences. The legal support structures for traditional marriage will have to be scaled back, if not eliminated entirely, if homosexual couples start receiving their benefits; the long slow slide that their current economic burden is causing will turn into a free-fall with the addition of the effort necessary to determine homosexual couples' exact legal standing, let alone processing their legal claims.
I have yet to meet any homosexuals who have thought this issue through rationally. Even Andrew Sullivan, normally the voice of reason, turns into a gibbering screaming emotional wreck at even the slightest suggestion that legalizing homosexual marriage might have unintended consequences. And, throughout history, emotion has always been a poor substitute for reason.