Misguided Gay Marriage Arguments?

by Ryan on March 27, 2013

in Anything Else,Culture,Politics,Pop Culture,Stupid government

Perhaps gay rights activists in this country are aiming too high.  Rather than create massive grassroots campaigns impacting local and state law, they’ve gone right to the top.  Listening to Andrew Wilkow this afternoon, he made an interesting argument about the gay marriage debate:  that the typical arguments in support of gay marriage don’t really support gay marriage, but other kinds of government reforms.

Argument #1:  Gays can’t pass on Social Security benefits to their same-sex partner, so gay marriage would solve that.  Rebuttal:  what that argues in favor of is portable Social Security accounts, not so much gay marriage.

Argument #2:  Hospital visits which are limited to spouses/family may leave out same-sex partners, so gay marriage would fix that.  Rebuttal:  what that argues in favor of is having hospitals allow any patient to decide whoever can visit them in the hospital, not so much gay marriage.

Argument #3:  Same-sex couples cannot file jointly on federal tax returns, so gay marriage would enable them to.  Rebuttal:  what that argues in favor of is limiting or discouraging the federal government from making those decisions for the individual, not so much gay marriage.  Actually if one really wanted to argue 14th Amendment “equality,” then supporters of “tax equality” should argue vigorously for a flat tax too.  But, once again, it’s not really an argument for gay marriage specifically.

Again, these scenarios were from Wilkow’s show (not my brain), but do bring to light a misguided emphasis on certain problems for gays in our country which aren’t fundamentally problems specifically victimizing the gay community.  Of course, nothing about this exercise will change opinions, but perhaps those in favor of gay marriage should focus on government reforms in Social Security, tax law, hospital visitation rights, etc. as well as marriage.  The civil rights protesters of the 1950s and 1960s hit all areas of public life which impacted them, not just one.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike March 27, 2013 at 4:12 pm

To be fair, most people I’ve dealt with who support gay marriage do so from a personal liberty argument. More persuasive are those who argue from a perspective based on human dignity. That’s not to say I agree that those arguments support state recognition of something that is not marriage as marriage, but it is a reminder that most of those on the other side are well intentioned and are not pushing this out of malice.

Those who throw the word “bigot” around left, right, and center on the other hand would do well to recognize that those of us who support marriage as marriage don’t do so out of hate.


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