Monday, June 08, 2009

LGBT Pride Month

President Obama has proclaimed that June is LGBT Pride Month. So I guess I need to post my thoughts on same-sex marriage.

I see marriage as a ritual that builds a spiritual vehicle. The lovers involved are pledging not only to uphold and maintain each other, but to uphold and maintain the spiritual vehicle. Participating in a marriage is the process of building something larger than, and inclusive of, the participants. I think the usual phrase is called, "building a household."

Socially, for good or for ill, marriage is one of those milestones our society uses to judge if you are a Real Person or some kind of unhappy, unloved, juvenile delinquent.

Mark will probably say something wildly practical, like "marriage is doing the dishes for each other."

On the spiritual front, if a particular religious flavor wants to reserve the ritual of marriage to a certain set of people, well gee -- that's their religion. My preference is to reserve marriage to lovers -- emancipated adults able to choose whom they love.

However, in the USA, marriage is also a business contract. Straight married people receive all sorts of tax breaks prohibited to same-sex couples. Oregon's actually pretty nice about some credits; but if either Mark or I kick off, we do not receive the other's Social Security benefits because the Federal government does not recognize same-sex marriage partners. My health insurance, granted through Mark's employer, is a taxable benefit -- the same benefit would not be taxed were we straight and married.

And it doesn't stop there. Hardy Meyers, then acting Attorney General for Oregon, pointed out in an opinion a few years ago that children of same-sex couples are monetarily discriminated against by the government because of the sexual orientation of their parents. This makes them a minority class deserving of special protection -- which they don't get.

So. Yeah. It's Pride Month. You know what I think I'd like more than a proclamation? Or a parade? I'd like it if religions were left alone to have whatever religious marriage ceremonies they can come up with and I'd like it if all married couples had the same taxes regardless of the genders of the spouses involved. It'd be easy to do -- either give everyone the same tax breaks, or abolish marriage tax breaks.

I think this is the part where I'm supposed to conclude with, "Yes, We Can."
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