Tuesday, March 21, 2006

A gay financial partnership

Dennis York and Elliott have commented on Monday's op-ed by a Glendale woman repenting of her gay marriage to a man.

Amanda Seligman wrote that she would not want to "join a club" that discriminates, but, at the end of the day, you can't argue with the numbers. She wanted the bennies. Money talks, principle walks.

Now she is starting to regret it because she's married, but gay people aren't. Maybe it would have been better to boycott this marriage thing. She is embarrassed.

I think she illustrates my point about the threat to marriage posed by its redefinition. I am sure that Ms. Seligman loves and is committed to her husband. But she apparently regards what she calls a "holy union" as something that she entered into in order to get health insurance and a double stepped up basis in marital assets so she can avoid capital gains taxes after her husband dies. She may love him until death do them apart but the marriage bit is about money. It's kind of like joining Sam's Club. She wouldn't want to do that if Sam's discriminated no matter how much she could save on items purchased in bulk.

In fairness, I am sure Ms. Seligman would agree that marriage is not about getting a discount card, but committing to a person; of choosing to enter into a relationship. You choose that without regard of what it will get you in benefits and official recognition.

What benefits and burdens result from that choice depend on the nature of the relationship and what is likely to result from it. That is the debate we need to have. To say that a certain group people "feel excluded" because they cannot do what another group can does not tell us anything about whether there are relevant distinctions between the two groups.

To reduce marriage to an economic arrangement obscures the question.

No comments: