Thursday, September 21, 2006

What You Get for Marriage Equality, 1 of 3

May as well start putting my arguments up for gay and lesbian couples to have equal legal treatment for their unions. I’ll start with what the majority gets.

I. Save Money

1--Get gays off welfare. Right now all US citizens are paying people welfare who live in great comfort. Because, in gay couples, a homemaker is technically an unmarried parent with no income and next to no assets, they can and some do get welfare and special tax breaks. We couldn’t stomach this, but, besides the approximately 5K/year “single mther” welfare, we could even get food stamps and Medicare.

2--Keep gays from taking other advantages in being legally “single”, yet married in all other ways. There are many other things “single” couples can do that married couples can’t. For example, R could rack up all sorts of credit card debt, declare bankruptcy, and make you pay for it, all the while still living comfortably for the rest of his life in our home. He could do it as many times as they’d offer credit. But, if we were legally married, I’d be part responsible too. For another example, I’ve done some business with the state and I’ve been made to grantee the person on the other side of the agreement is not “family”, by blood or legal marriage, for the obvious reasons. But I could just ignore all that and take advantage.

Now, you may say, “But that’s not right!” I’d agree with you, but it is legal and the majority wanted it that way. R and I can’t do such things; both ethically and emotionally we can’t act legally single, even though my state legislators want exactly that. So you all benefit by my recalcitrance ;-), but many gays would rather force the anti-gay politicians to put their money where their mouth is, and they’ll take whatever they can get for being “single”. If you want to blame those gays for acting like something they aren’t, remember also who first forced them, by law, to be treated like something they aren’t.

It’s tough to both push someone outside societal rules and then expect them to play by them nonetheless.

3--Make gays responsible for their obligations. Many homemakers can just be jettisoned from their home with nothing, and often, in Utah, they are their kids only legal parent. While their partner had made promises and in rare cases even signed contracts, they may be found unenforceable without marriage law and the public ends up paying for the newly made welfare mom or dad.

4--Spend less on health care, and lost productivity. Keeping same-sex relationships hidden and shameful significantly contributes to anonymous sex and short-term relationships. It leads to stress, compulsiveness, and drugs; it leads to what most call the “gay lifestyle” in the pejorative sense. If only I obsessed about gay sex half as much as the average closeted guy :-).

Eventually, we all pay for it when people get infected, in the loss of their productivity and health care costs. If you want a healthier society, hold monogamy up in acclaim for gay couples too; encourage them to consider all the friends, blood relatives, and in-laws they’d hurt if they were unfaithful. Encourage them to take on the legal consequences if they cheat. If it’s secret, and outside the realm of US culture, it’s easy to consider little but yourself.

It simply has to be kept in mind that forcing other couples to be legally single, and pay more taxes and health insurance than you doesn’t automatically mean you’re coming out on top. We both pay more in dollars (and I think gay rights opponents pay an intangible price on top of that). There are welfare programs, and divorces without divorce law, and debts, and emergency room visits without insurance, and other societal effects that must be considered. I mean, we could get back in “single mother” welfare near what I spend extra on taxes each year for not having a legal marriage--maybe if I could get incensed enough we would ;-)--but someone would still have to pay for the government bureaucrat shuffling the money around, when it could simply stay in my pocket.

By allowing one person the tools to take care of and be responsible for another, saves us all the cost.

For those who want numbers, these following studies, on both the federal and state level, show the projected savings to the taxpayer (my bold):

---The Potential Budgetary Impact of Recognizing Same-Sex Marriages”, Congressional Budget Office, here.

“On balance, legalization of same-sex marriages would have only a small impact on federal tax revenues, CBO estimates. Revenues would be slightly higher: by less than $400 million a year from 2005 through 2010 and by $500 million to $700 million annually from 2011 through 2014. Those amounts represent less than 0.1 percent of total federal revenues.”

In some cases, recognizing same-sex marriages would increase outlays and revenues; in other cases, it would have the opposite effect. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that on net, those impacts would improve the budget's bottom line to a small extent: by less than $1 billion in each of the next 10 years (CBO's usual estimating period). That result assumes that same-sex marriages are legalized in all 50 states and recognized by the federal government.”

---"Equal Rights, Fiscal Responsibility: The Impact of A.B. 205 on California’s Budget," by M. V. Lee Badgett, Ph.D., IGLSS, Department of Economics, University of Massachusetts, and R. Bradley Sears, J.D., Williams Project, UCLA School of Law, University of California, Los Angeles, May 2003. here

“In conclusion, the positive impacts of AB 205 on means-tested benefit programs and tax revenues from tourism will outweigh a loss in income tax revenues and insignificant costs associated with the State's court system, State employee benefits, and administrative costs. The net impact of AB 205 on California's budget will be a positive impact of $8.1 to $10.6 million each year.

NOTE: this 8 to 10 mil savings for California includes an estimated 3 mil increase in tourism (Got to wonder how much San Francisco made with their noble civil disobedience/lawless publicity stunt?). Still, that strikes me as unreliable and, of course, totally void if many other states start offering the same; I’d subtract it out, 5 to 7 mil then.

---“Supporting Families, Saving Funds: A Fiscal Analysis of New Jersey’s Domestic Partnership Act," by Badgett and Sears with Suzanne Goldberg, J.D., Rutgers School of Law-Newark, December 2003. here.

“The only significant fiscal effects of the DPA will be on 1) expenditures for state public benefits programs, 2) expenditures for state employee benefits and 3) revenues from the transfer inheritance tax. We find that the savings from means-tested benefit programs will far outweigh any increased expenditures for state employee benefits and any loss in inheritance tax revenues. We estimate, conservatively, that the net impact of the DPA on New Jersey's budget will be over $61 million in savings each year.

No tourism in this one that I can see but it was conducted by an economist from the University of Massachusetts Amherst Institute for Gay and Lesbian Strategic Studies, so extra scrutiny should likely be applied. Not that I’ve found anything wrong with the study or want to tarnish the man’s character, but I know it’s easier to find reliable facts when I don’t care to find particular “facts”.


santorio said...

marriage can be a wonderful institution, why not share it with everyone?

Scot said...

Aw, they have their reasons :-)

I’ve been meaning to thank you, santorio, on this topic. Just couldn’t find the right place.

Thank you.

Switch said...

Found another article that uses a similar style argument that you use in favor of equal marriage.


This talks about all the legal loopholes being created to provide tiny shreds of protection for gay families with children, that comittment-resistant straight couples may now easily exploit.