Special marriage rights cost us $4,799 in higher taxes

Leo Schuman currently serves as Vice Chair of the DPO GLBT Caucus/Oregon's Stonewall Democrats. Software saved him from the law.

While we are domestic partners under Oregon law, and so can legally file a joint Oregon tax return, it is illegal for us to file joint Federal taxes. So, we must pay extra tax consultant fees to have an artificial, “as if”, joint Federal return prepared, from which our joint Oregon taxes are calculated. Then we must throw it away and file our Federal taxes “as if” we were single. As a result, we know exactly how much tax we would have paid were we allowed to file a joint Federal tax return, and therefore exactly how much more we were forced to pay for being gay, despite our longer than heterosexual average relationship. And, all of this due to the so-called “Defense” of Marriage Act (DOMA).

$4,799.00 we’d still have in the bank if we were straight has been taken away, because some Americans are worried their marriages must be “defended” against people like us. Which makes me laugh. As a recovering divorce lawyer, I know first hand just how short and sordid many so-called “traditional” marriages can be ( Jason Alexander and Britney Spears: 55 hours ).

Straights need no help degrading the institution of marriage. Matthew 7:3 is so very apt, for those who read the Bible, instead of selectively beat people with it.

$4,799.00 is a lot of money. While my partner and I are fortunate to have work, I don’t think many people avoid the worries and what-if’s these days. That money would have kept us going a few tight months if we lost our jobs. Or it could have employed a contractor for some home repairs we need. Or it could have helped one of our nieces with their education. Or it could have even helped the Oregon economy ( we like to spend our dollars locally ) if we manage to take a vacation this Summer.

Unfortunately, because we’re a same-sex couple, we’re forced to pay higher taxes and effectively subsidize the special Federal tax rights given to straight married people who file jointly.

So as everyone contemplates abstract questions of basic fairness and fundamental justice, don’t forget that the bigoted ideal of special rights for “traditional” marriage has a stiff tax whack and reverberating economic impact.

Second class citizenship is expensive.

Comments

  • Jesse O (unverified)
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    Nice post. Beyond the discriminatory nature of our tax code, one interesting thing to note is about the tax penalty of being single... we're all subsidizing the special rights of opposite gender marriages.

    Single people and gay partnered people outnumber the others!

  • Jonathan Radmacher (unverified)
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    Coming from the single perspective, I think it's a policy in favor of a particular kind of marriage -- leaving out people who are single. DOMA puts gay and married couples on the single side of the equation. I suppose this just means we want to encourage straight marriage with tax policy; but since marriage rates consistently decline, why not just scrap that policy altogether? (Frankly, if people get married for tax reasons, I'm not sure we really want to encourage them to get married.)

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    Thanks for explicating this, Leo. I was hearing a radio report yesterday about the things that Obama's very recent presidential action (I think it was called a "memorandum" which I'd never heard of as having executive force before, and wonder if it means anything that it wasn't an executive order, in terms of strength or security/ atability) & it seems to me that it said that it didn't address this kind of discrimination, nor benefits.

    I guess this probably is beyond executive order, that it will take legislation to change. Do you think a push for an equivalent to Oregon's domestic partner law on this issue would be worth pursuing at the federal level?

  • Kurt Chapman (unverified)
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    Leo, I am sorry that you and your partner are subject to this issue. My sister and her partner up in Washington state go through the same set of hoops annually. Certianly there has got to be a better way - like marriage? Or at least a federally recognized domestic partnership with equal tax and right od survivorship rights?

    Perhaps this is also yet another good argument to abolish the state and federal tax codes and go to a true flat rate tax system.

  • (Show?)
    Chris Lowe wrote: "Do you think a push for an equivalent to Oregon's domestic partner law on this issue would be worth pursuing at the federal level?"

    I certainly support immediate repeal of the so-called "Defense" of Marriage Act (DOMA). I'm unsure whether the Federal tax code could be modified to permit joint filing by same-sex couples short of doing so. I'm aware that DOMA will significantly restrict the practical effect of Obama's upcoming extension of benefits to same-sex partners.

    As for pushing for Federal civil unions, that is a fraught question. Is separate equal?

  • Scott J (unverified)
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    Leo,

    I can sympathize with the frustration on taxes.

    The use of a biblical verse loses me though. There are failures and hypocrites in all walks and veins of life. This verse speaks to that.

    This verse does not speak to the participants of marriage, which is what your post is about.

    Since you entered the Bible into your logic, please tell me where the Lord's word support marriage between two men.

    Specific verse or verses please. And yes, I can provide specifics where the Bible defines marriage between male and female.

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    Actually, Scott, here's a look at ALL the types of marriages the Bible endorses. Frankly, gays should feel grateful for being left off the list! Yikes!

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    Scott,

    Matthew 7:3 calls out the hypocrisy of heterosexual Christians who condemn homosexuals for our struggles with fidelity and similar mores related to committed relationship, without acknowledging similar and often much worse struggles among heterosexuals (worse, because children are very commonly impacted by heterosexual domestic violence and divorce). We all struggle with morality, straight and gay, yet there are far more straight than gay people, and therefore proportionately far more social damage is caused by the straight community's many sexual and relational foibles than the gay community's.

    That is the intent of my reference to Matthew 7:3 (or perhaps instead, "physician, heal thyself", Luke 4:23, or even "the lady doth protest too much", as said by Gertrude in Shakespeare's Hamlet)

    Beyond this, in terms of Christian biblical proof-texting, I'd have to first ask which translation(s) of the Christian Bible you wish to cite? Particularly on questions of gender, and on what precise legal relationship is meant by the word "marriage", much depends on the source language of the text (Aramaic, Greek, etc.) and the social and political bias of the particular English translator. Those two languages do not translate so neatly to English as some believe (cf., the work of Dr. Neal Douglas-Klotz), leaving much room for the translator's opinion. Also, are we discussing just the texts approved by the First Council of Nicea in 325 CE (commonly called "the Bible"), or all early Christian texts?

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    Since you entered the Bible into your logic, please tell me where the Lord's word support marriage between two men.

    Separation of church and state - please.

    Basic rights are to be granted equally - according to the US Constitution, a document agreed upon and ratified by actual human beings.

    The Flying Spaghetti Monster recently declared (in a bowl of linguini) that Catholic priests may no longer "marry" invisible Christian deities (apparently He's not enough).

    But much as I may worship and respect His Noodliness, the latest supernatural googleplex encyclical probably shouldn't determine US law..! Isn't that obvious..?

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    But Leo that sucks about your taxes.

    And thanks to the Stonewall Democrats for pulling out of Barack "equal marriage rights equals incestuous relationships" Obama's upcoming DNC money begging bash...

  • Boats (unverified)
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    Is separate equal?

    Are carrots zucchini?

    They are both still vegetables. Gays want marriage, but they cannot have it, by definition. Words mean something (as a lawyer should be well aware), so "gay marriage" is oxymoronic and "straight marriage" is redundant.

    Bride=female gender role. Groom=male gender role.

    Bride+groom+official observance=marriage. Every other combo under the sun is what it is, but it ain't ever going to be marriage.

    Why some gays militantly insist on aping straight culture on this one topic is somewhat mystifying given the usual contempt for "breeders."

    Dare to be different, it should come naturally. Come up with your own culturally relevant institution and get that enshrined into the law.

    Trying to co-opt marriage was always guaranteed to prompt a backlash.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    Bride=female gender role, Race X. Groom=male gender role, Race X.

    Bride+groom (BOTH Race X) +official observance=marriage. Every other combo under the sun is what it is, but it ain't ever going to be marriage.

    Now, call me crazy, but that sounds a little racist to me. Oh, and homophobic, too!

    But hey, someday you'll evolve here. My husband and our kids and I are entitled to the same civil protections that you enjoy. Even though you're both white.

    The "culturally relevant institution" here is called marriage - a basic civil right.

  • dddave (unverified)
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    Leo, Would you at least admit that if the laws allowed you to file appropriately to save you the money, that wouldn't really matter to you anyway? What you really want is to legislate societal acceptance of your lifestyle. Fine, I am all for it, just call it something other than marriage.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    Race based discrimination regarding marriage was baseless. On the basis of the slippery and mutable characteristic called "sexual orientation" or "sexual preference?" Not so much.

    The specious conflation of race and homosexuality is a major part of the reason that so-called "gay marriage" enjoys such piss poor minority support.

    And spare me the trite homophobia charge, that word is so played out as to have lost any potency it ever had.

    Your poorly educated attempt to maul the English language into suiting your crotch politics agenda will only work after the proportion of ignoramuses in this country rises dramatically past its current November 2008 high water mark.

    Hopefully by then I will have long since died.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    What you really want is to legislate societal acceptance of your lifestyle.

    I think Catholics have an utterly appalling lifestyle, promoting scientific illiteracy, restricting healthcare options for women, and paying to support unmarried "imams" who engage in abuse and spew lots of ridiculous, unfounded nonsense.

    But I would never in a million years think to deny basic constitutionally guaranteed civil rights just to Catholics because they have a different "lifestyle" (though I support vigorous enforcement of child protection laws, good science education, etc.)

    Why don't YOU call marriage something else? That's your right (freedom of speech), and I defend it. Really, call it whatever the hell you want. But if the state offers a civil marriage contract, they must offer it equally. My family gets it too.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    Civil marriage contracts in Oregon have constitutional subject matter preconditions which you do not willingly meet. You create something else and call it what you will. "Marriage" is spoken for.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    Race based discrimination regarding marriage was baseless. On the basis of the slippery and mutable characteristic called "sexual orientation" or "sexual preference?" Not so much.

    Why? Cause you personally don't like gays and lesbians? The comparison with interracial marriage is spot on. A lot of good Christians didn't like that one either. In fact, a huge majority of Americans (around 80%) opposed interracial marriage when the court ruled for marriage equality in Loving versus Virginia in 1967.

    Hey Boats -

    We are all human beings (veggies?), and my family is as real as yours. And as an American, I expect and demand equal protection under the law.

    Even Megan McCain gets that one!

    http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2009-06-19/why-i-posed-against-prop-8/?cid=hp:mainpromo3

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    Civil marriage contracts in Oregon have constitutional subject matter preconditions which you do not willingly meet. You create something else and call it what you will. "Marriage" is spoken for.

    True enough. Catholic and Mormon parishioners did donate to the successful Measure 36 campaign, which selectively denied my family equal protection in this state.

    So again, the comparison with anti-miscegenation laws is apt. It will now take a US Supreme Court decision (like Loving vs. Virginia, 1967) to declare that particular line of religious prejudice null and void.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Leo, I share some of your pain as a single parent all of these years, in terms of the benefits my married, home-owning friends enjoyed. I too have experienced the onerous tax burden of being a non-hetero family that paid the single tax rate all the way around, while enjoying the benefits of a certain level of watchfulness socially, and preparedness psychologically... there is a hefty fatigue factor to all of this.

    I resonate with all that you say about the slurs and negative characterizations of non-hetero marriages of soul as mere sordid hookups.

    I hope we all keep the noise going towards this administration so as to ensure they do not come to a standstill.

    Thank you also for sharing your bonafides. I do not tend to Google people, and so I salute your background as solidly-informing your rhetoric and frame of reference.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Boats, you need to inspect your terms for where they really came from. You are solidly locked into a specific rhetorical thread that comes from embarrassing places when you look to see.

    Your -centric rigidity is something to behold. Is it wrong for us to wish to be standardly accepted across the board? Accessing all aspects of human social interface accorded certain groups by mere sociological ascription?

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    Boats, your usage of the term gender role shows clearly you don't have the slightest idea what the term means. There are two sexes; there are far more than two gender roles. The latter are created and defined by a combination of both biological and social factors.

    Gay marriage and other relationships has been accepted by a number of societies throughout place and history. Increasingly this includes our own. If you don't wish to have a gay marriage, that's a matter of your gender role decision. If you wish to belong to a religious organization that does not recognize gay marriage; that's also your business, again largely influenced by factors you appear not to appreciate. But your desire to prevent equal recognition of contracted partnerships between those in other gender roles than the two you recognize is the heart of the problem.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    First things first--Megan McCain is an old school bimbo. The difference between what she gets and what she doesn't is the difference between a puddle in July and the Pacific Ocean.

    Secondly, I am an atheist, so the usual "the supernatural boogeyman told me to hate them" argument is not where I am coming from.

    My opposition to "gay marriage" is entirely secularly based:

    In English marriage has, and always has been for the entirety of the history of this country, an institution between one man and one woman. Marriage linguistically has two required parties, a bride, which no matter which way it is parsed, is a role filled by a female--and a bridegroom, an equivalent role filled by a man. Marriage is therefore an explicitly heterosexual institution. Race doesn't enter the picture, only natural born gender. Thus, Loving v. Virgina was correctly decided. By that same token, nothing about Loving is spot on as applied to homosexuality.

    Whether the lens used to analyze the formulation "gay marriage" be logic, language, or truth, it fails to be that which it purports to be. It is linguistic nonsense. It is not logical and it cannot be truth.

    That said, what is being attempted through the folly of fallacy is certainly possible via other means. Create an analogous legal construct for taxes, inheritance, illness directives, etc., and call it something else. Apparently that makes too much sense to be followed by sensible people who want what they otherwise are not entitled by dint of being disqualified for the original institution.

    Of course that approach takes away the normative aspect of the so-called "gay marriage" effort so it is avoided, being dismissed out of hand as "separate but unequal."

    Of course if there is true parity in the law on all of the demanded tax, inheritance, decision making, etc., and not some Jim Crow style mockery of point for point legal equality, this debate is really reduced to being about a word activists are trying to torture beyond its historical definition to satisfy some ego trip.

    I oppose that effort. "Marriage" means what it means and the word is taken.

  • dddave (unverified)
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    "But your desire to prevent equal recognition of contracted partnerships between those in other gender roles than the two you recognize is the heart of the problem."

    No, you can have the equal recognition, you just can't call it marriage, as it is not the same, as established by a very long and correct tradition.

    But this gets to the crux of the matter, that you want all of society to say to you "we accept your lifestyle" even if by force or point of a gun or tax policy. Sorry, not buying it, never will. It is not in the best interest of our society.

    Can you answer a simple question? What is the best family makeup to raise children?

  • Boats (unverified)
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    BTW, I know fully the property/chattel/animal husbandry origins of the "bride" and "groom." Tradition is sometimes hard to defend with a straight face, but I'll take those nasty anachronisms any day over "Party A" and "Party B" and the ridiculousness those PC terms presaged when briefly employed in California.

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    "Marriage" means what it means and the word is taken.

    And all this texting. Gotta stop!

    And this Facebook/MySpace stuff. Don't understand it, don't like it, and never will.

  • (Show?)

    "In English marriage has, and always has been for the entirety of the history of this country, an institution between one man and one woman."

    Except that English marriage in England itself now includes gay marriage! (Of course, "in this country" is a bizarre qualifier on its own given our multi-ethnic society.) Even if it didn't, despite your claims to enlightenment via atheism, your argument boils down to "it's always been done this way so we always have to." That's no different than blindly following the translated scribblings of the bronze-age literary traditions you claim to scorn. Whiff and whiff again, boats. Quote all the irrelevant sources you want--it's clear where your opinions actually stem from.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Stuttering Dave: CORRECT tradition? Now what in hell does that mean? Please please don't tell me some species of "this is the RIGHT way, the ONLY way, the BEST way" is what you mean?

  • Boats (unverified)
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    Oh? Do tell Kreskin.

    "English" was bolded because for better or worse, that is the language of the land, "in this country," that bizarre and arbitrary place where the laws are made in conformity with the wishes of the majority, even when that majority is chock full of dimwits, half-wits and no wits as it is now.

    One cannot arbitrarily change the definition of words and in turn expect the subsequent linguistic malpractices to garner any respect.

    "Gay marriage" is a contradiction in terms. No two ways about it.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Boats, you pretend you do not come from religion's early core. All who are in reaction-to are in relation to. Atheist you pretend to be, but anti-religionist you most assuredly are. Subtle proof can be found in the fact that former discussions of "marriage" here teased out the fact that this is an overtly religious/sanctioned ceremony above and beyond the legal one that can be had an any Justice of the Peace' window. The point your ilk arrived at in THAT discussion was that how dare the faggots and lezzies et. al. countenance to FORCE the churches to "marry" them. Use civil unions and be satisfied. Ummmm...

    Boats and Stutterin' Dave and friends, you honestly can't have it all six ways. It's either religious in etiology or it ain't.

    Marriage, according to the last go-round on this, is performed by a state AND spiritual institution-sanctioned personage. Civil unions or basic courthouse bindings are performed only by those sanctioned by the basic legal systems of the state.

    I know we talk of being "married" by the Justice of the Peace... but the word "marriage" is more-deeply freighted than that, and you yourself reference English law as somehow the proper kind of law and the only right kind of law for us.... I may be ignorant of the deeper hx on this, but I don't recall non-church weddings being de rigeur back in sixteen hunnerd an' ten...

  • rw (unverified)
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    "Archie, is that you? Izzat yooooo awcheeee? Ooooo awchee, youwah awfullll!" quoth Edith Bunker.

    Ummmm, Boats, take a hint.

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    Legal equality and social acceptance are two distinct issues.

    The first can be legislated, the second cannot.

    At the same time, you cannot have two sets of equal legal rights written into the laws, with no difference between them but the name ("marriage" vs. "domestic partnership", "civil union", etc.), unless that name is itself somehow legally significant. But, if it is, then those two sets of legal rights aren't actually equal, creating a Fourteenth Amendment "equal protection" problem.

    Further, if the separation of the term "marriage" is intended to respect religious sentiments, then there is a First Amendment "establishment" problem ("Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, nor the free exercise thereof").

    That's the big picture legal problem in a nutshell. So what, as a society, do we do about it?

  • rw (unverified)
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    Good one, Leo. I hate it though, that every time this issue comes up, we circularly discuss every point that was discussed three months ago and six months ago. It is stultifying, and we get nowhere, nowhere. We talk to each other acceptingly, and absolutely do NOT change any hearts or bigoted minds that care to be visiting at the time of new discussion. So who are we talking to here? Who are we writing for? Clearly not the posters: it is for the silent visitors who allegedly check in here to check the breezes?

  • Boats (unverified)
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    So now I am a pretend atheist? Is that because it is far easier to beat up on religious bigots than it is to take on language snobs?

    I cannot believe how obstinate people can be. How difficult is it to grasp the objective fact that the word marriage has long been defined? The peculiar fetishism at play that demands not only all of the trappings of marriage but that the word itself be drained of all practical meaning reminds me of nothing less than the intellectually juvenile spelling of "womyn" that was en vogue among certain radical feminists before it died an apathetic death.

    Grow up.

    As inconvenient as it may be, nowhere but in the playhouse imaginings of homosexual activists, are centuries of socially freighted language just unbound on the say so. No one as yet has bothered to explain why exactly mimicking straight society in this one area is so important if it be not about some forlorn hope of greater societal acceptance.

    Win the language win the war is it? Perhaps you will capture and torture the word marriage to never again need the oxymoronic gay modifier. Should that come to pass, don't get too offended by the air quotes that a significant fraction of society will still use.

    Ex. Thelma and Louise got "married" last weekend.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    "Archie, is that you? Izzat yooooo awcheeee? Ooooo awchee, youwah awfullll!" quoth Edith Bunker.

    Ummmm, Boats, take a hint.

    The hint I choose to take is this:

    "Hey, Meathead, is that you being an idjit on the computer again?"

  • rw (unverified)
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    Boats: you are an intransigent phool. Sigh. You are using the line of logic that seeks to keep people in their accustomed places by intractibly grasping onto old customs and touting them as eternal, and eternally right and good.

    You are not a language snob necessarily, though you may wish to be so erudite. YOu are more rightly clinging to archaic tradition so as to forgo a meaningful, current-day and human-hearted discussion as to whether that custom treats all humans as human.

    A completely rationalized fool.

  • rw (unverified)
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    "Homosexual activists". Hahahah...

  • rw (unverified)
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    Hey boats, dontcha mean FACTION of society, as in the inveterately schisming crowd? Or, well, you are right, FRACTION it is, and a disappearingly small and incoherent fraction at that!

    You ARE good with words! Thanks for playing!

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    I oppose that effort. "Marriage" means what it means and the word is taken.

    So what's linguistically "logical" (which, I guess in your interpretation, means "immutable"), about marriage? Why just a white Christian man and a white Christian woman? "Marriage" has changed rather dramatically in the last few thousand years; even the last 50. (check out http://www.stephaniecoontz.com/books/marriage/)

    However, I do agree that the term is culturally loaded, because in this country many people confuse the civil marriage contract with the imam hopping around on one foot and invoking the Holy Goat.

    For true secular types, only the former counts.

    And legally, only the former counts as well.

    But the problem with selectively denying civil marriage to gay and lesbian couples is the failure of equal protection. It's still a federal constitutional guarantee. My family is real and thriving (we are here! we are here!), and deserves the same legal protections as yours.

    And offering us "domestic partnerships" or "civil unions," while reserving "marriage" for you, sets up an untenable, unequal situation. Our marriage (performed in Canada) is recognized legally in many European countries, and practically the entire Northeast United States. But an Oregon "domestic partnership" fails utterly at the state line...

    I think your "linguistic" concerns here are a cover (and a linguistically confusing one..!) for prejudice. And not liking other Americans should not translate into selective denial of their equal access to basic civil rights.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    If marriage is so archaic and wrong, why do gays want it? They don't want the old straight and exploitative institution, they want the word for their pantomime of the original concept. How compelling.

    Is someone, anyone going to mount a better case for the misappropriation of the word/concept "marriage" for homosexual cohabitational pursuits than rw is managing through ad hominem?

  • Oregon Bill (unverified)
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    At the same time, you cannot have two sets of equal legal rights written into the laws, with no difference between them but the name ("marriage" vs. "domestic partnership", "civil union", etc.), unless that name is itself somehow legally significant. But, if it is, then those two sets of legal rights aren't actually equal, creating a Fourteenth Amendment "equal protection" problem.

    Exactly.

    But, odious and annoying as he/she is, Boats is also right that in Oregon, the term "marriage" is now legally reserved for straight couples. It's in the state constitution, thanks to successful Catholic, Mormon and Christian efforts to pass Measure 36.

    And unfortunately, it will now take a U.S. Supreme Court decision to erase this prejudice. Other states (Iowa, and most of New England) are way more progressive than self-congratulatory "Blue Oregonians" when it comes to civil rights.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    I do love it when people pop off on complicated legal concepts like "equal protection," itself a phrase freighted with nearly 150 years of argument, counter argument, promotion, negation, suspect classifications, selective incorporation, fundamental and non-fundamental rights of federal citizens as opposed to the rights of citizens of the several states, etc., ad nauseam, and apparently believe that the phrase is some debate ending magical incantation.

    If the Hon. Sonia Sotomayor can deny that gun ownership rights are "fundamental" when they are explicitly mentioned in the Bill of Rights and after the same was expounded upon as pretty freakin' fundamental in Heller v. DC, there is going to be just a wee little bit of a problem getting jurists to find that "gay marriage" was intended to be a fundamental right of the American people under the "due process clause" of the Fourteenth Amendment, passed in the Reconstruction era, no?

    It is little wonder that some gay activists are latching on to gun rights cases working their way up to the Supreme Court, arguing for a resurrection of the 14th's "privileges and immunities" clause all but read out of the amendment in the Slaughterhouse Cases.

    Why do that were the issue of "equal protection" so clear cut?

  • Boats (unverified)
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    You are aware that in little ol' blue Oregon, Christians and Mormons have no hope of carrying 57% of the electorate by their lonesome? You have traitors in your midst on this issue. It's not just unapologetic conservatives keeping marriage straight in this state.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Well, my take on it is that just as with other human rights and social justice issues, this will evolve to a level well beyond this posturing muddle. Just give this new generation time.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Boats, quick question -- do atheists simply not-believe in Gawd? Do you happen to believe in the human spirit?

    I was curious if you happened to be channeling William F. Buckley Jr.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Hey Boatsy, you have not been around here very long. If you think this is me doing ad hominem, you are a pasty li'l pansy. This is me playing. Honest. If I got a serious burr under my saddle, I would be saying things like "Vex!" and "Spite!" and much, much worse. Believe me. I am not stung by you nor am I really taking you much of seriously - folks who know me know the difference between me out of control and me just poking around to make a person fume some. :)... I'm on my very best behaviour, I assure you darling man. Assuming you are a man. It is too rare that I find a woman posturing quite as you do. Typically there are at least subtle "tells" viz gender socialization, even in posts, tho I've been accused of being male when I got on my most vexatious rationalized bean.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Last thought - Boats, I often get cranked by OB when he gets cranked on this issue. I find him to be approaching you with tremendous forbearance and respect, and lots of logic laid out in invitations to talk. You seem to be going in the direction of defense and unable to perceive anything but attack now, and it will get worse pretty quick if I know anything about this.

    Bill did not say marriage as an institution is odious. BIll said it has changed radically over time, and if you WANTED to open your mind to that fact, he shared a resource with you. Your characterization is similar to that of good white folks when they first embrace black folks through their filters -- still distanced by feeling sure the blacks want what the whites have, are not happy in their own reality. It takes considerable personal work on bias, acculturation, to find out that they LOVE their own special culture mileue, and do not necessarily need any of ours... but they might enjoy a special helping of equality in fact and on the face, eh? Your characterization of gays wanting this crappy and broken down thing so as to pretend to be like the straights... sigh.. You really do not get it yet. BUT: by the very fact that you even deign to grapple that reverse concept, you are engaged. And therein lies hope. And if you can seek not to descend into defense and parry here, you are minimally engaged. And perhaps somehow our hearts will humanize in the crucible of the moment.

    A girl can dream. Bill, thanks for trying. I think time and diligent patience will solve these things. Our children are solving it now in their living. I am sure your children, like my son, assess the world through the eyes of a boy raised to name that tune on its face when it's bigotry, bias, prejudice. My hope is that because they grew up with these concepts, conversations, they will NOT engage these understandings only in their own self interest.

    A girl will dream.

  • Ms Mel Harmon (unverified)
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    Equal rights for all.

    Boats, I'm only going to make one comment to you and I'm not coming back on this thread to play:

    You are correct that language IS important....the word "marriage" is THE word to describe what the participants plan/hope will be a lifelong commitment. This word, not civil unions or domestic partnerships, actually DOES describe the relationship that many gays are already having--they simply can't get the state to legally call it that. Why go through the trouble of having the state and society copy over the entire set of rights and benefits of marriage to another relationship title? WHy not simply acknowledge what it is? Marriage.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    Because it is not. It is something else entirely and not yet adequately or accurately defined.

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    The term "marriage" isn't well-defined for anyone, straight or gay. Google up "Betty Bowers Traditional Marriage" for an irreverent look at this point. And research the legal history of divorce laws for a scholarly look at this point.

    Is it a revocable legal contract? Irrevocable? A state-sanctioned blessing from God? A mechanism for dynastic families to handle multi-generational property transfers? A diplomatic tool? A way to sell a female child? A way to force a male child to seize assets for the family? A way for a man to get multiple women to bear and raise his children (as still practiced in parts of Utah, Texas, HBO, and elsewhere)?

    Whatever "marriage" may mean from decade to decade, to the extent it is a specific legal arrangement recognizing a long term mutual support agreement between two people, and for the benefit of their dependents, LGBT Americans have as much right to it as any other American. And to the extent it is a non-legal social or religious arrangement, it has no business being in public legislation which denies it to some while permitting it to others based on gender or special religious recognition. (And please, before whipping out the "social interest in promoting child-rearing" canard, go research planetary over-population, the ethics of eugenics, and the history of adoption.)

    I don't appreciate being forced to pay the IRS an extra $4,799 just so some straight couples can feel special. This is wrong. This is expensive. And, anyone reading this would scream too walking in my shoes on this.

    I do, though, much appreciate all the straight folks who understand and are willing to throw political will behind keeping this change on the long and important agenda we're all pushing for here in America. Speaking for myself, this doesn't need to be the first issue, but it is a serious issue for a respectable part of the population, and must be addressed.

  • Leslie (unverified)
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    When we come to think the genitals of a couple determine a "marriage," that certainly is a degraded union.

    Have plumbers or doctors screen the applicants and perform those "ceremonies" you think qualify as a "marriage."

    You cannot reserve the word "marriage" for straight couples anymore than you can exclude "love" and "family" from gay couples.

    Law cannot be made a simple dictionary or cookbook. And it is always a poor substitute for scripture.

  • rw (unverified)
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    I'll tell it again. While living among my in-laws in Indian Country, we experienced every kind of twistedness, pathology and lack of trust-keeping you can deliver in a family/kinship circle context. The first trustworthy family my son experienced were the LGBT community under whose auspices I opened my anonymous/confidential HIV test site, needle exchange and HIV/AIDS education org. I serviced an utterly unserved rural population of over 200,000 in a four-county area of OK. We left when he was four, and came back to my origins.

    When he was eight or so, we had The Talk. I had to explain to him in detail that heteros really were just as good as gays. That we are all human. I had no idea he had this ideation that gays were more kind, more aware, more committed. For we'd had the usual diversity of friendship and all of my personal instability since coming back to Oregon.

    But his experience, direct and unfiltered by me, was that heteros did not know how to act, how to do family, how to commit for real. I thank my family and my ex's for delivering my son handily to the frame of reference inside out. I believe he will always be radically compassionate as a happily accidental result of those first years.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    What is this "two people" nonsense? From the founding of this country up until the very recent language corruption foisted upon the concept of marriage by courts and legislatures primarily in the Northeast, those "two people" have always been one man and one woman. The weaseling on that fact is telling.

    Polygamy was only "legal" when it was extraterritorial. What other cultures have done in other times is wholly irrelevant to the 232 years of history of this country.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Boats, you are a fuddy duddy. An anachronism. A social luddite. And for your information, those rackety contraptions are called cars, telephones, trains. Come into this Century any time you like.

  • rw (unverified)
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    Thus begins ad hominem.

  • Boats (unverified)
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    All this century has had on offer to date is the spectacle of the bleeding edge of stupidity trying to hack down common sense.

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    Okay, Boats, since you're so proud of the history of marriage in this country, how about the fact that it is legal for you to marry an American girl as young as age 13, depending on the state issuing the license (e.g., New Hampshire)? And, in many states, it is still legal for you to marry your first cousin.

    I'm sure all that's just "common sense", though, right?

  • rw (unverified)
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    Hey Leo, I tried to backtrack to find your email addy. It has disappeared downstream in an exhausted thread.

    You know what? I think I had you conflated with Oregon Bill. Nearly sure of it now. Sorry.

  • Assegai Up Jacksey (unverified)
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    News flash: Creating a retrograde society costs you more than you can afford, period!

  • Joe White (unverified)
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    Interesting that Leo quotes the Bible to try to make his point.

    I thought liberals believed in separation of church and state?

    I guess only when it's convenient.

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