I usually write about opera, but something has been bothering me that I have to get off my chest. I don’t give a rat’s ass about the “sanctity of marriage” argument. Frankly, calling out public figures who fail in the exercise of their own religious beliefs and marital commitments does little to help anyone, and seems to me to be childish. “Look! You can’t do it either!” is what we seem to be saying, when the issue of monogamy or fidelity is not even on the table. The fact that people straight and gay have conflated — wrongly, in my opinion — legal union with religious marriage for generations in the US is not our primary issue. In fact, enlightened Christian churches have been offering some degree of equality in religious union rites for years.
The real argument is the innumerable legal rights and privileges afforded to straight married couples that were denied same-sex married couples until the recent Supreme Court decision. It will take years to sort it all out. There have been many cases in the news of one partner being denied access to another when the second was hospitalized. Of one partner losing the shared home and meeting financial ruin upon the death of another. One lesbian comic joked about being able to look her partner in the eyes and utter those three magic words: Married Filing Jointly. Did you know that without marriage equality, if an employer contributed toward a straight spouse’s share of joint health coverage (and don’t get me started on that subject!) it was untaxed income to the employee, the same as the contributions toward his own health coverage, but if the employer contributed to a same-sex partner’s share of joint health coverage, it was taxed income?
Yes, it might be amusing to some to point and laugh at people who fail at their own widely publicized high standards. That’s a part of human nature I haven’t really understood since I was 14, but I can’t deny I’m in the minority. But I think it gets us off track. The real question is legal differences between straight and gay couples who have legal unions. I am thankful The Supreme Court decided those differences were intolerable in a nation where all men and women are created equal.
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