Marriage is Totally Gay

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Hugh Akston
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Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Hugh Akston » 24 Jun 2011, 16:25

I don't think we have a gay marriage thread yet, or at least not one as tastefully decorated as this one.

Anyway, interesting article in the NYT about the mixed blessing of gay marriage legalization in the Empire State.

Tl;dr: Where many companies currently extend benefits to same-sex domestic partners, the passage of same-sex marriage could mean that gays would have to get married in order to share benefits, as is currently the case with breeders.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Mo » 24 Jun 2011, 16:30

Hugh Akston wrote:Tl;dr: Where many companies currently extend benefits to same-sex domestic partners, the passage of same-sex marriage could mean that gays would have to get married in order to share benefits, as is currently the case with breeders.
Meh. Doesn't bother me at all.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Highway » 24 Jun 2011, 17:09

Yeah, that doesn't bother me at all either. Right now, companies offer shared benefits to 'partners' or whatever because there aren't recognized 'marriages'. The question I have is "Do those companies offer those same shared benefits to other non-marriage domestic partnerships?" Because I would find that just as wrong and unequal as not offering benefits to same-sex marriage partners.

If the situation arises where all people can enter a 'marriage' or 'civil partnership' or whatever, then I think that limiting benefit packages to the people who accept that recognized construct is fine. I personally think that there are plenty more 'committed relationships' that don't revolve around sex that should get the benefit of shared benefits. For instance, siblings living together, close long-term roommates, etc. I realize that as you name more situations, the number of people added to the group gets smaller and more marginal, but I don't really see why 'domestic commitment' should be tied to 'sex' at all.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Aresen » 24 Jun 2011, 20:59

Highway wrote:Yeah, that doesn't bother me at all either. Right now, companies offer shared benefits to 'partners' or whatever because there aren't recognized 'marriages'. The question I have is "Do those companies offer those same shared benefits to other non-marriage domestic partnerships?" Because I would find that just as wrong and unequal as not offering benefits to same-sex marriage partners.

If the situation arises where all people can enter a 'marriage' or 'civil partnership' or whatever, then I think that limiting benefit packages to the people who accept that recognized construct is fine. I personally think that there are plenty more 'committed relationships' that don't revolve around sex that should get the benefit of shared benefits. For instance, siblings living together, close long-term roommates, etc. I realize that as you name more situations, the number of people added to the group gets smaller and more marginal, but I don't really see why 'domestic commitment' should be tied to 'sex' at all.
Most companies in Canada are pretty liberal in the definition of 'partners', allowing gay couples or common-law couples to claim joint benefits. The only limitation appears to be no more than two adults involved.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Ayn_Randian » 25 Jun 2011, 12:20

Hugh Akston wrote:I don't think we have a gay marriage thread yet, or at least not one as tastefully decorated as this one.

Anyway, interesting article in the NYT about the mixed blessing of gay marriage legalization in the Empire State.

Tl;dr: Where many companies currently extend benefits to same-sex domestic partners, the passage of same-sex marriage could mean that gays would have to get married in order to share benefits, as is currently the case with breeders.
I still maintain that State and corporate benefits' apparatus (or apparatuses, my declensions being a bit shaky) are categorically discriminatory to the detriment of single and non-monogamous people. I was engaged for much of my tour in Afghanistan, which meant that I was provided with significantly less legal and financial benefits than those who had undergone the "magical ceremony". Why should asexuals, the promiscuous, and the serially monogamous either be denied tax breaks and additional insurance and whatnot because of their orientation?

Anyway, this is the most important piece of commentary on the subject.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by thoreau » 25 Jun 2011, 13:31

I like Radley's take:
New York legalizes gay marriage. In protest, Newt Gingrich promptly divorces his third wife.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Mo » 25 Jun 2011, 14:09

Actually, the tax code is designed against married people. Due to the tax code, my wife and I will have to pay higher taxes than if we were two cohabitating single people. In addition, things like Roth and regular IRAs have a lower income caps fr married couples than two single people. Sure being married is great for your taxes in a single earner household (or are in a household where one earner makes significantly more), but those are rarer and rarer these days. For a lot of the contract stuff, those exist for singles as well, however, unless you're in a long term monogamous relationship, there's little point in going through all of that paperwork repeatedly.

As for corporate benefits, companies aren't required to offer spousal coverage (and even still, they generally subsidize to a lesser extent). If a company wanted to, they could extend domestic partner benefits to straight couples as well. The reason they don't is that there isn't much demand for it.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Hugh Akston » 25 Jun 2011, 14:26

Standard libertarian disclaimers apply and all that, but it doesn't make sense to me when companies that are obviously fine extending benefits to non-married domestic partners when they are of the same sex declines to do so when they are of opposite sex.

Seems to me that the benefits language in employee handbooks should be moving toward eligibility for the employee and one (1) domestic partner, plus any dependent children.

That is, assuming companies should continue to offer benefits at all.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by thoreau » 25 Jun 2011, 14:59

Hugh Akston wrote:Standard libertarian disclaimers apply and all that, but it doesn't make sense to me when companies that are obviously fine extending benefits to non-married domestic partners when they are of the same sex declines to do so when they are of opposite sex.
I suspect that companies would be perfectly happy to have benefit rules that are stricter rather than laxer. A black-and-white legal designation like marriage is clear, and the commitment required (outside of Las Vegas, Hollywood, and the Gingrich household) means that they won't have employees just designating some friend or whoever as their partner for benefits. Which means, on the margin, a few less benefit recipients.

But they went with a looser standard for gays when marriage wasn't available because they didn't want to be on the losing side of the culture war and alienate potential hires and potential customers. As marriage becomes more available for gays, I expect companies to start requiring gay couples to get married for benefits, just like straight couples.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by the innominate one » 25 Jun 2011, 15:33

Mo wrote:Actually, the tax code is designed against married people. Due to the tax code, my wife and I will have to pay higher taxes than if we were two cohabitating single people. In addition, things like Roth and regular IRAs have a lower income caps fr married couples than two single people. Sure being married is great for your taxes in a single earner household (or are in a household where one earner makes significantly more), but those are rarer and rarer these days. For a lot of the contract stuff, those exist for singles as well, however, unless you're in a long term monogamous relationship, there's little point in going through all of that paperwork repeatedly.

As for corporate benefits, companies aren't required to offer spousal coverage (and even still, they generally subsidize to a lesser extent). If a company wanted to, they could extend domestic partner benefits to straight couples as well. The reason they don't is that there isn't much demand for it.
So, just to be a semantic dick (to no one's surprise), let me retranslate Mo's statement and simplify it: sometimes the tax code benefits married couples, sometimes it doesn't. So, the statement that the tax code is designed against married people isn't universally true, and therefore, isn't true.

AR is right that the state sensu lato shouldn't structure laws to discriminate against (or for) individuals based on their marital status. If private organizations, such as corporations, do so, I won't like it, but have no strong philosophical argument against it.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Mo » 25 Jun 2011, 16:45

Yeah, I was a bit overarching when said that the tax code was designed against married people. It was likely designed to be, on average, a wash. However, the changing nature of earning in most marriages has made marriage to be a bad deal, once again on average, for the married couple. Though unless we moved to a flat tax with a standard deduction per person* (perhaps a higher one for kids than adults), it's difficult to design a tax code that is neutral for married couples vs. unmarried couples. With married couples having, on average, more community property and assets than the unmarried, one would need to create a way for them to file jointly without having to incorporate to simply tax filing.

* Which, for the record, I'm all for.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by JasonL » 27 Jun 2011, 09:05

Employer benefits are a mess to be honest. Insurance is currently regulated by the states but most other forms of employer benefits are regulated by the feds under Internal Revenue Code and ERISA - both of which are subject to DOMA at present. The result is that MA can say "you must treat same sex couple substantially the same for all benefits in your company if you employ even a single resident of MA", but ERISA says "nope, for all areas covered by ERISA, DOMA applies and one man one woman thing, so there." So what if you want to offer an annuity payment stream directly in your 401k plan? It's insurance but its also retirements. Buncha poop.

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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by lunchstealer » 27 Jun 2011, 12:30

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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Kwix » 08 Jul 2011, 15:12

My biggest issue with government decreed "gay marriage" is that once this bloc gets it's wishes there will be no big population drive to extend "rights" to other classes (polyamory in particular).
I feel the same way about marijuana (only) legalization groups. Sure, legalizing pot is far better than having it illegal but since that bloc is the largest and loudest (not to mention biased) it will be hard to continue momentum to legalize the minority.
Carving exceptions is not the same as doing away with bad policy altogether even though the end result is the same for the majority.

EDIT:finished my thought.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by thoreau » 08 Jul 2011, 15:19

Kwix wrote:Sure, legalizing pot is far better than having it illegal but since that bloc is the largest and loudest (not to mention biased) it will be hard to continue momentum to legalize the minority.
Carving exceptions is not the same as doing away with bad policy altogether even though the end result is the same for the majority.
In the short term you're right. Pass of Prop 19-v2.0 will result in a lot of the campaigners going home to chill out and eat some snacks, rather than redouble their efforts to overturn bans on other drugs. OTOH, can you see legalization of anything else happening without the positive example of legalizing pot and not seeing the sky fall down?

I hold out hope that Prop 19-v2.0, coupled with a re-examination of the Afghan war in Romney's second term, might lead to a re-examination of policy on other drugs.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Kolohe » 08 Jul 2011, 17:08

thoreau wrote:I hold out hope that Prop 19-v2.0, coupled with a re-examination of the Afghan war in Romney's second term, might lead to a re-examination of policy on other drugs.
AKA, the Porcine Aviation Enabling Act of 2015. :)
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Warren » 08 Jul 2011, 17:23

I support any improvement over the status quo. But I have no patience for propositions that are less shitty alternatives to some other "inevitable" development.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Hugh Akston » 08 Jul 2011, 20:11

You guys I've tried, I really have, to understand what makes MARRIAGE different from mere cohabitation. I read the articles, I watch the videos, I observe my married and cohabbing friends. But nothing. I don't see it.

Neil Clark Warren (eHarmony guy) uses his AOLHufflePost column to talk about the challenges of long-term compatibility and the difficulty of finding a partner that is more than just sex and chemistry. I nodded my head several times while reading it, saying, yeah, that could apply to cohabitation too. But at least twice he makes the distinction between married people and cohabitationists.

Can someone who has participated in the ceremony explain the magical transformation that occurs, and maybe when? I thought I saw a green flash between cake and the chicken dance at my friends wedding a few years ago, but it turns out someone just spilled a beer on a power strip.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by thoreau » 08 Jul 2011, 20:15

Hugh Akston wrote:Can someone who has participated in the ceremony explain the magical transformation that occurs, and maybe when? I thought I saw a green flash between cake and the chicken dance at my friends wedding a few years ago, but it turns out someone just spilled a beer on a power strip.
The decision to make it a commitment is what matters. Not the ceremony itself. I tried to argue in favor of eloping, but I lost.

What's funny is that while we were engaged my then-fiance lost her job in LA and decided to move to Santa Barbara to be with me. We decided to move in together to save money, and I offered to make her a respectable woman by getting married at the courthouse. This would also mean that she could be on my insurance. I thought that I was offering to do the right thing: Take care of her, make a commitment, assume responsibilities. Her family, however, was opposed to this. They wanted the full shindig, even though it would mean lots of expense (for them) and planning, and would mean that we'd be living in sin for a year. In fact, they agreed to pay for COBRA coverage (I couldn't afford it, being a student) until the insurance kicked in at her new (and lower-paying) job, just so we wouldn't get hitched at the courthouse. As religious as they are, living in sin for a year was better than not having the full shindig.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Jadagul » 08 Jul 2011, 20:23

Hugh Akston wrote:You guys I've tried, I really have, to understand what makes MARRIAGE different from mere cohabitation. I read the articles, I watch the videos, I observe my married and cohabbing friends. But nothing. I don't see it.

Neil Clark Warren (eHarmony guy) uses his AOLHufflePost column to talk about the challenges of long-term compatibility and the difficulty of finding a partner that is more than just sex and chemistry. I nodded my head several times while reading it, saying, yeah, that could apply to cohabitation too. But at least twice he makes the distinction between married people and cohabitationists.

Can someone who has participated in the ceremony explain the magical transformation that occurs, and maybe when? I thought I saw a green flash between cake and the chicken dance at my friends wedding a few years ago, but it turns out someone just spilled a beer on a power strip.
My mother makes two points on the subject when we have this discussion. First, marriage requires you to make more or less permanent decisions--i.e. you can cohabitate without making a public lifelong commitment, and you can't marry without. (I think she--and a lot of other more philosophically minded traditionalists and semitraditionalists--would argue that if you have a public and lifelong commitment, it's marriage whether you've had a formal ceremony or not). Second is the much more live need to agree on kids.

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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Kwix » 08 Jul 2011, 20:43

Hugh Akston wrote:You guys I've tried, I really have, to understand what makes MARRIAGE different from mere cohabitation. I read the articles, I watch the videos, I observe my married and cohabbing friends. But nothing. I don't see it.

Neil Clark Warren (eHarmony guy) uses his AOLHufflePost column to talk about the challenges of long-term compatibility and the difficulty of finding a partner that is more than just sex and chemistry. I nodded my head several times while reading it, saying, yeah, that could apply to cohabitation too. But at least twice he makes the distinction between married people and cohabitationists.

Can someone who has participated in the ceremony explain the magical transformation that occurs, and maybe when? I thought I saw a green flash between cake and the chicken dance at my friends wedding a few years ago, but it turns out someone just spilled a beer on a power strip.
I've been with the same woman 15 years. I'm pretty sure 11 of those have been post ceremony. *checks calendar*.
Whoops, 10 years post and a total of 17 years.
In other words, green flash doesn't happen but the IRS sees differently.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Highway » 08 Jul 2011, 21:06

I think there's no difference if two people who commit to living long term with each other and are willing to make plans and decisions with the partnership in mind whether it's called 'marriage', 'cohabitation', 'schofledin' (a word I just made up) or 'civil union'. And there's no difference, no matter what it's called, if the people involved aren't making plans and decisions with the partnership in mind. This from someone who has been with the same person for 22 years, and married for 16.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Shem » 09 Jul 2011, 14:04

Kwix wrote:My biggest issue with government decreed "gay marriage" is that once this bloc gets it's wishes there will be no big population drive to extend "rights" to other classes (polyamory in particular).
Not today, but it's still an important stepping-stone. There was no population drive to keep going to gay marriage once Loving v. Virginia made interracial marriage legal, either, but it was still an obligatory step on the way to it. And it would have been a massive mistake not to take the victory just because it didn't fix every problem at once. The perfect is the enemy of the good, most especially in social issues, where you probably can't make one large jump anyway without facing a massive backlash that'll keep the issue live for decades.
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Re: Marriage is Totally Gay

Post by Kwix » 10 Jul 2011, 05:04

Shem,
I'll agree that perfect is the enemy of good, but if you will recall where the polls stood on the gay marriage initiative in Cali a couple of years ago with regards to racial breakdown you can see my concern.
Refresher
I'm not saying that progress should stop until everyone sees things my way but it just seems that the steps get harder and harder to make rather than snowballing as they should.

I could be wrong of course and it wouldn't be the first time I'd be happy to be in that position.
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