Forgive me if I missed something in last nights Vice Presidential debate. Did Joe Biden and Madame Palin really say that they were for equal rights for homosexuals but not for redefining marriage? I fail to see how you can truly have “equal” rights without such “redefining.” The nuances of the words marriage and redefining can be argued, but truly, making statements effectually stating that it’s ok for gay people to enter into contracts to give them the same rights as heterosexual couples entering into marriage is… well… not equal!
I use terminology here applicable to Texas, some states may call documents by other variations, but they are essentially the same. Lets say I wanted to enter into a “contract” in order to make health care decisions on the part of my partner – assuming he were too ill to make those decisions himself. This would be a “Medical Power of Attorney.” In addition to that, I’m going to need access to his bank accounts and other financial records, now I need a “Statutory Durable Power of Attorney.” You also need a will to pass the property on to your partner should you pass away or vice versa. Depending on the amount of your assets you can expect to pay between $1,000 – $15,000.00 for an attorney to draft these documents. Unless you have a large estate, all of these documents can be done away with by getting married. Texas, being a community property state, allows for the assets of one spouse to pass to the other without a will or in testate (although its a good idea to have one). Further, no Powers of Attorneys are needed for married couples. Cost of a marriage license in Bexar County, Texas is $66.00.
Further, should a married couple wish to buy a house or car jointly, there is no need for a formalized contract between the two parties, as such contract already exists as a contract for marriage via the issuance of a marriage certificate. Should a homosexual couple wish to do the same, it would require a contractual agreement between the parties (one way to do this is to form a business partnership to maintain the assets). As you can imagine, doing so would be costly. There are alternative ways, all of which would likely require an attorney and fees for document filing and registration far in excess of $66.00.
We homos have to consider tax issues that married couples don’t. For example, let’s adopt a baby. Assuming you live in a state that allows adoption by a gay couple, what does this mean for federal taxation? Who gets the tax benefit of a dependent as Federal Tax law does not recognize same sex couples? Assuming you live in a State that allows single people to adopt, who should be the adoptive parent? Likely, you would answer this question by asking, who would get the largest Federal Tax benefit. Thus, you would likely need to consult your CPA or other qualified tax professional and again incur additional expenses married couples would not.
Some companies offer domestic partner benefits to their employees. A wonderful perk, but did you know that your partners health benefits are taxed against you if you utilize those benefits? Not so for married couples.
There are hundreds of these issues for we the homos that make us separate and distinctly unequal from our heterosexual counterparts under the laws of our states and even under Federal Law. Each issue builds on the next and each question leads to more questions. So, how do you fill the gap of equal treatment without redefining marriage? Some state the answer is through Domestic Partnerships. Although this is a wonderful compromise and a step in the right direction, it is not an equal right under the law, it is a special right, as marriage is a special right assigned to heterosexuals.
You simply cannot apply equal rights to homosexual couples without redefining marriage to some degree and by redefining marriage, you will then need to redefine divorce. After all, 100% of divorces in the U.S. directly result from marriage. For me, no recognization of same sex marriage IS the ultimate Bridge to Nowhere…