Twisting a Rite to Deny Rights

Yesterday, presidential candidate Mitt Romney blasted the ruling put forth by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals:

“Today, unelected judges cast aside the will of the people of California who voted to protect traditional marriage,” Romney said. “This decision does not end this fight, and I expect it to go to the Supreme Court. That prospect underscores the vital importance of this election and the movement to preserve our values. I believe marriage is between a man and a woman and, as president, I will protect traditional marriage and appoint judges who interpret the Constitution as it is written and not according to their own politics and prejudices.”

And like Romney, conservative media pundits piled thickly on that theme claiming the court had “no” right to overturn a majority of the voters. Excuse me? Apparently conservatives believe that if a majority of Americans voted to say that black Americans had no right to vote, or that women had no rights to property that would be acceptable to them as well?

I’m sorry Mr. Romney, but I agree with the 2-1 ruling of the Circuit Court Panel which said, “Proposition 8 served no purpose, and had no effect, other than to lessen the status and human dignity of gays and lesbians in California.” Proposition 8 may have been approved by 52% of California’s voters, but a majority vote should never be the standard for denying equality of rights to any of American’s citizens. “Proposition 8 served no purpose and had not effect, other ban to lessen the status and human dignity of gays-and-lesbians, in California.” As such, the Panel declared Proposition “unconstitutional” under the U.S. Constitution.

The whole issue of “marriage” is a tricky thing. If marriage were just a religious rite, that would be one thing, but marriage goes far beyond just a religious rite. Marriage is a legal construct recognized within our tax code that bestows beneficial tax privileges to such couples, not just annually, in terms of what couples jointly are required to pay, but in terms of property inheritance rights as well. There are also other legal ramifications relative to who can or cannot speak for your interests when you’re incapacitated, and even who might be handed this country’s flag when one’s partner makes the ultimate sacrifice for this country.  Denying the right to marry to gay and lesbian couples legalizes discrimination against them in the following ways:

  • Denying more preferential “joint income” tax rates by the IRS and state taxing authorities
  • Denying them the ability to create “family partnerships” which would allow them to divide their small business income amongst family members
  • Denying them the ability to “inherit” a share of a spouse’s estate without tax consequence.
  • Denying them any exemptions from estate and gift taxes
  • Denying them the ability to set up estate trusts that are restricted to just “married” couples
  • Denying them priority in being appointed as a “conservator” for your partner’s (spouse’s) affairs when he/she is incapacitated
  • Denying them the ability to obtain spousal benefits under government Social Security, Medicare, or disability programs
  • Denying them the ability to obtain veterans/military benefits as spouses
  • Denying them the ability to draw spousal retirement plan benefits as the spouse of the deceased plan member
  • Denying them the ability to take bereavement leave for the death of their partner (spouse).
  • Denying them the ability to be considered as “immediate family” for purposes of being able to visit in an ICU
  • Need I go on?

Gay and Lesbian couples had been given, by law, the right to marry. Then in 2008, a majority of voters participating in the 2008 election decided they wanted to take that fundamental, given right away for no reasonable and necessary reason. In addition, it would have “legalized” discrimination in terms of taxation and other allowable rights against an entire class of people in our society. If we permit this type of discrimination and taking of rights for this one class of citizens, who or what is next? How long would it take for our nation to approach they type of tyranny that was every present in pre-WWII Nazi Germany where millions of it’s citizens were ultimately condemned and went up in the smoke of a large number of incinerators.

Well, Mr. Romney, who’s the Nazi now?

Read more about the Rights and Benefits of Marriage the Right wants to deny to Same-Sex couples here