Unequal Treatment

>> Wednesday, October 26, 2011

There are a number of people out there who have a considerable issue with homosexuality, often to the point of rabid ranting and even violence. I won't pretend to understand such vehement hatred, particularly given that whether or not someone loves (or is sexually attracted to) individual(s) of the same gender is unlikely to have the slightest effect on anyone other than the parties in question and, notably, is unlikely to have the tiniest effect on those same rabid haters.

Personally, I think this world never has too much love and don't see any reason why people can't go about finding it however they choose, as long as everyone involved is a responsible party and consenting. But that's just how I see it. I don't care if someone wants to see it differently, but that opinion (no matter how extreme) should not have an effect on the parties in question given that who people love in the gay/lesbian community has pretty much no effect on us.

I think most people think much more moderately than the vocal anti-gay community, whether it personally gives people the willies or not. Most people are not so ungenerous as to wish ill on others, even if they don't understand their sexual preferences. Or, I certainly hope that's the case. However, that laissez faire attitude is currently allowing real and appreciable harm to these same individuals.

In good conscience, I think it's important to be aware that, as long as our federal government refuses to acknowledge gay marriage, a sizable portion of our populace suffers real and appreciable damage, measurable damage, that effectively make them second-class citizens. People, who have done us no ill are suffering unnecessarily and to no benefit for the rest of us. I don't see why this should continue and thought I'd point out some of it, for those of you who might have thought this was a non-issue, one of semantics only.

Even if it were semantics only, of course, I'd be against it. Our government is expressly forbidden from making laws based on religion: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." And there is no legal reason adults couldn't choose any other consenting adult as a lifetime companion to marry. Ironically, it's the same yahoos yelling for smaller government that demand the government dictate who we are and aren't allowed to love (as well as wanting the government to dictate what pregnant women can do to their bodies, but I digress). So I'm against precluding gay marriage on principle.

But, given the real damage it does, the harm and pain it causes, I can't see how people in good conscience can let those restrictions continue. Or how, with our constitution, they could be legal.
Let's start with taxes, since I played with these numbers while I did the other tax problems:

Think marriage doesn't make a difference? Here's a gay couple, with each partner netting:
1/2 income Joint income Tax Married Tax Difference

8500 17000 2125 1700 425

34500 69000 13375 9500 3875

83600 167200 40433 34885.5 5547.5

174400 348800 100001 92558.5 7442.5

379150 758300 244381.5 235920.5 8461

Any gay couple making professional level salaries can expect to pay thousands more in taxes every year because they aren't "married." They will not get social security survivor benefits. Insurance companies do not have to include them on policies as "family" (though this and some of the other aspects might not be true in states that permit or acknowledge same sex marriage). They may not be permitted to make end-of-life choices (despite written requests) or even visit their loved ones in the hospital as they aren't acknowledged "family."

When people wed, they put their lives in the hands of another. They agree to share their lives with another, their worldly wealth, their trust, their world with the person they love.

Shouldn't every citizen have the right to decide for him/herself who it is they are willing to trust with so much? Don't they have the right to have those choices respected by the rest of us? Right now we respect those rights for knocked-up teenagers and drunken strangers who meet for the first time the morning after in Las Vegas.

Why can't we do it for people who truly choose with their hearts?


  • Roy

    Hear, hear!

  • Project Savior

    Great Post.

  • Quadmama

    My belief is life is too short to worry about who someone else loves.

  • Shakespeare

    I don't understand the hate, either. Why THAT particular "sin" bothers people more than any other, I can't figure out.

    Then again, if one knows one isn't gay (and since we're born that way, we know), it's perhaps the safest sin to hate. We'll never wake up and discover we have the same tendencies, and this makes it easier to see the issue as black and white.

    The problem? We will NEVER experience the hatred that we dish out, so we will never realize how much our hate makes others' lives terrible. It's vicious, really.

  • Stephanie Barr

    Actually, there's a couple things here, Shakespeare. Although I agree that many people are born, black and white, one direction or the other, I'm not sure it's that clear for many others. There are plenty of bisexuals and many people who didn't discover their real preference except by circumstance because they weren't STRONGLY pulled one direction or the other. There has been good research indicating that some people are genetically gay - I'm not arguing that. What I don't know (and am not sure can be proved) is that some people who may not be demonstrably genetically gay may have the same tendencies.

    Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. And, just because something isn't genetically coded doesn't mean the preference doesn't exist. I wouldn't want to be the one to tell someone who's genes weren't as expected: "No, you're not allowed to be gay."

    But I fear the issue is more complex than that. For many the drive is very compelling but they've been taught so assiduously that it's wrong, they deny it in themselves. They become anti-gay crusaders because they fear the temptation to be themselves. If it becomes acceptable, then everything they've been denying all their lives may be a lie. That's hard for many to live with. It's not a coincidence that many of the most vehement and vociferous homophobes have been caught with their pants down with someone of the same gender.

    Ironically, people who are truly comfortable with their sexual preferences are far less prone to be concerned about those that don't share it.

    The other big reason why a significant segment of the populace (particularly the male populace) is nervous around gay men in particularly is because, rare as it might be, only gay men pose a rape threat to other men. That possibility, however remote, can mess with a man's mind given that he doesn't have to worry about that with any other segment of the population.

    Or, that's what I think.

  • Relax Max

    "...only gay men pose a rape threat to other men."

    Really? I hate to break this to you, but rape is a crime of violence and bullying and mental domination, not a crime of sexual passion.

    All the 80-year-old grandmas who get raped are raped because they are so sexually irresistible? All the rapes in our prisons occur because all the inmate rapists are queer?

    Since you value being factual so much, I wish you would rethink this statement and substitute facts. I think you may be drifting out into the realm of psychiatry more than you may be qualified for. Further, your opinion on why rape occurs and by whom is hardly mainstream science.

    A woman can be sexually assaulted anytime, anywhere by anyone of any sex or orientation. So can a man.

  • Stephanie Barr

    That is a fair objection, RM. There is a perception (which, ironically, I don't share) that only gay men pose a rape threat to other men.

    Rape IS a crime of violence, not passion, and, in fact, in my next post, I was going to use statistical data and experience with serial killers that target children that refutes that kind of thinking.

    I personally think that sodomy frightens men (and therefore gets disproportionate hatred aimed at it) because it's the only form of rape men are susceptible to. If one believes (and I don't) that only someone gay would do that to another person, that an explanation for the overt hatred.

    Nice of you to anticipate one of my future arguments and to insist on clarity on an ambiguous and misleading statement I made. The statement in my comment should have been "because, rare as it might be, there is a perception that only gay men pose a rape threat to other men..." Thanks for keeping me honest.

  • Relax Max

    I don't have anything to disagree with the tax part of your post. This discrimination is disgraceful.

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