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I Hate Marriage - I Want Marriage

 

I HATE MARRIAGE - I WANT MARRIAGE

(Seeing the Civil Rights Through the Veil of Religious Dogma) 

published by www.gaymarriagelawyers.com with permission of the author

March 27, 2004 

By: Mark M. Gonzalez
Attorney at Law
210 Baronne Street, Suite 1800
New Orleans, Louisiana
70112
(504) 236-5898 / 525-4361

Being gay, and growing up around and through "marriage" (parents happily married for decades - and never divorcing) I realized early on that marriage was not for me. First, I was gay. (For some of you sheltered breeders out there - that does not end the issue. Lots of gay people are and have been married to people of the opposite sex for any number of reasons: bisexuality, social pressures, self realization, etc.). But more so for me - I saw marriage as an essentially oppressive tool of religion, government, men and society in general. Perhaps also, I never found "that right someone" - the very concept of which I find narrow-minded. 

So, like many civil libertarians - many of which are lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgendered (LGBT), the proper solution to this whole issue seemed to be so simple and clear: Civil Unions / Domestic Partnership laws. Also, being a civil right attorney - I had advised many clients on the "ins and outs" of this legal labyrinth: (Wills, Living Wills, Powers of Attorney, Medical Powers of Attorney, Life Insurance, Estate Planning.... it goes on and on.) 

That last point - IS THE POINT - and it shows the ever widening crack in the logic of the argument for Civil Unions. (An argument, again, which I espoused for years!) You see - there are not just a couple of "hoops" the same sexed couple have to jump through in order to be on an equal footing with a straight couple: There are MANY, many legal documents that have to be carefully executed (and paid for!) and still the same sex couple will never obtain some of the most important benefits of marriage. 

What is that, you ask? Well, let me tell you. These are not small potatoes and the point should be made all the clearer as Tax Time approaches: 

      First: For all of us (but the rich), a substantial portion of the money we send to Uncle Sam - either this month or throughout the year is for Social Security. (Rich people pay it only on a small percent of their overall income.) If you are married and die - your contributions then go to your spouse. If not (and you have no dependant children) they are lost to you and your loved ones, period. 

      Secondly:  Not a penny of the Medical Expenses you might make on behalf of your partner are deductible to you - which they would be if you were married. You can*t start to imagine what a difference this would have made and would make in the lives of people with serious illnesses - where one partner is ill and the other has a good job. We aren*t even talking health insurance here - just some help in paying the often huge cost of medical expenses for drugs and treatment. 

      Third: Causes of Action. There are at least two ways in which this can be critical. First, if the spouse of a married person dies in an accident - the survivor has the legal right in every state of the union to sue a liable party for that loss. Non-married partners, no matter how close and loving do not have that remedy. 

          Secondly, short of death, if an injury to one partner affects the health and well   being of the relationship - there is often a cause of action for "loss of consortium" by the partner not directly injured. People often think this is just for damage to the sexual relations - but that is not the case, it can include lots of other effects on the relationship. 

      Fourth: Health Insurance. While some cities and states and corporations have (through political pressure and economic realities) come around to seeing the benefit to THEM of offering health care coverage to domestic partners - this is the exception and not the rule. It ends up costing non-married couples a tremendous amount of their income - a benefit married couples enjoy automatically. 

      Fifth and more: Rights to Pension Plans, Adoption & Guardianship of Children, Public Assistance, Spousal Support at Separation, etc.. 

These are the things that for the most part, Civil Union laws would not address, or if they would - only after a great number of other laws in every state of the union also was changed to add the benefits for Civil Unions. Use some common sense: Will there be a fight at every legislature over the amendment to each and every one of these benefits being offered to gay people? Or will the religious right wing in this country - having lost the battle on Civil Unions, just cave in and allow all of these other laws to change? 

What "Gay Marriage" comes down to - once we see through the smoke screen of its "historical" (read religious) definition and the silly arguments about tradition (where women were chattel up until recently, and couldn*t own property, etc., etc.) - is that this is a very important civil rights issue for a significant number of our friends, relatives, children, neighbors, and loved ones. A significant number of citizens. A significant number of people who contribute to this society and are getting short changed on the most important life issues, summed up as "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."  

There is another important aspect of this "hot" political issue. If the national discussion is narrowly defined, like it has been (limiting it to historical / traditional) - then the American People will vote by their gut reaction - (based on how they were brought up) - and not vote by using their heads. This is dangerous for all of us - regardless of your stand on marriage because it can serve to re-elect the despot presently called "president." "Gay Marriage" is a red herring issue - just like crime and terrorism. Bush has clearly attempted to wrap himself in the cloak of defending the country against terror. He will do the same thing with marriage as the election draws nearer. Only if the American People see this for what it is - a civil rights issue - will they not be taken in by this lie.  

published by www.gaymarriagelawyers.com with permission of the author

March 27, 2004 

By: Mark M. Gonzalez
Attorney at Law
210 Baronne Street, Suite 1800
New Orleans, Louisiana
70112
(504) 236-5898 / 525-4361