'Marriage Equality' and the Public Interest
At the Empire State Pride Agenda's Fall Dinner, shortly before he was elected governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo declared:
I don't want to be the governor who just proposes marriage equality. I don't want to be the governor who lobbies for marriage equality. I don't want to be the governor who fights for marriage equality. I want to be the governor who signs the law that makes equality a reality in the state of New York. [Italics added.]
And that he did. But was the lack of "marriage equality" really a problem in the state of New York? Perhaps Gov. Cuomo was concerned that unmarried gays weren't equally as miserable as married straights. Not to be outdone on "marriage equality," Pres. Obama has finally owned up to his support for gay marriage. On ABC News, he said:
You know when I go to college campuses, sometimes I talk to college Republicans who think that I have terrible policies on the economy, on foreign policy, but are very clear that when it comes to same-sex equality or, you know, sexual orientation, that they believe in equality. [Italics added.]
The argument from the political left is that bans on gay marriage constitute inequality. But inequality doesn't figure into bans on gay marriage, as heterosexuals can't marry anyone of the same sex, either. However, as long as it's with someone of the opposite sex, it's perfectly legal for gays and straights to intermarry. (Perhaps that should also be illegal. Look what it did to Arianna Huffington.)
A big problem with gay marriage is that government retirement programs were set up for traditional marriage. Not long ago, many married women didn't work outside the home and therefore didn't pay into Social Security and Medicare. But they were still covered because their husbands did pay into those programs. And when their husbands died, widows continued to receive these government benefits until their own deaths.
But if same-sex marriage is to be truly equal with traditional marriage, then same-sex "wives" who never paid the payroll tax would receive Social Security and Medicare benefits after the deaths of their same-sex "husbands." And since we're on the subject of equality, look at the way such public retirement programs treat not just gays, but all single persons. No loved one of an unmarried person is eligible to receive his Social Security and Medicare benefits, even if that unmarried person paid the maximum in payroll taxes for his entire working life.
Singles, including gays, have been subsidizing traditional married couples since at least the New Deal. One principle that all equality-minded folks should be able to agree on is that those who are required to pay into a government program should be eligible for the same benefits as everyone else paying into it. If such basic equality were applied to single folks, it might explode the finances of already strained federal retirement programs.
These inequalities are entirely the creation of government. None of this would have been a problem if Social Security and Medicare were private systems. But as we brace ourselves for yet another bailout of these systems, consider this: what is marriage for?
The purpose of a "government-sponsored relationship" (GSR?), like marriage, is to promote societal stability. And with traditional marriage, that's mainly about the protection and nurturance of children, and secondarily of women. The government has enough to do without raising everyone's children (although leftists would like it to).
The reason government favors the GSR of marriage with special treatment is to get wayward parents to take care of their spawn. But there is an even more vital public interest in promoting traditional marriage, and that's to actually get folks to spawn. We need an unending supply of new citizens coming online or we're doomed. America, like all nations, needs breeders. Russia, which is in a demographic death spiral, is now paying Russians to become breeders and make more Russians.
There is a genuine public interest in traditional marriage because traditional couples are breeders. Children, however, are not the expected outcome of gay unions. Gay couples must get a little "help" from outside their union if they are to be breeders.
However, gays can drag their kids from their former traditional marriages into their new arrangements, lesbians can be artificially inseminated, gay men can hire surrogates, and if approved by adoption agencies, gays and straight singles can adopt. And, gays can and do adopt kids that others don't want. Therefore, there is a real public interest in at least some gay couples getting the same government benefits as straight couples do.
But the idea that government should institute gay marriage for the sake of some spurious equality or so that gays can marry the ones they love is ludicrous. There is no compelling public interest in the government recognizing any "romantic relations," gay or straight. The private sector can take care of that all by itself, thank you very much.
Jon N. Hall is a programmer/analyst from Kansas City.