This would be that "career" thing I've heard so much about...

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The...

Just got back from Washington DC, where we attended a wedding and visited the nation's capital. We were actually seated in the Senate when Diane Feinstein (possibly the only democrat present) told the three republicans present-

(seriously, I thought senators actually sat in the senate and debated things. Apparently they either wait until television prime time or they only show up for a vote. There were literally 3 pages per senator when I counted, and, if you're wondering, no, those pages didn't have anything to do that I could tell. I briefly - once again waiving the flag for nerds everywhere - fantasized about being a Congressional Page, and these fantasies always involved me running extremely important papers to and fro between senators. Yeah, these kids were parked on a carpeted ledge chewing gum and giggling quietly amongst themselves.)

-to stop pursuing the "constitutional amendment for a ban of gay-marriage" issue when there are many more serious issues facing our country. (Sorry, dad, I'm still a democrat - but I love you!)

There were three (and I say this with no judgment - it is the factual truth, and if CSPAN had tilted up about 30 degrees you could buy the tape and check this for yourselves) fat white southerners on the bench in front of us who were fit to be tied by the hint of a suggestion that all the people in this country should be able to join into a legal, life long commitment with a beloved partner. I say a "hint of a suggestion", because that was not want DF was arguing. She was basically saying that this whole debate on a constitutional amendment was a waste of the Senate's precious time since it didn't have anywhere near the votes (as was evidenced today: Washington Post) to make it into serious discussion.

How do I know they were Southern, you ask? Well, despite the clearly printed NOTICE TO VISITORS in the Senate handbook that guests are prohibited from making displays of agreement or disagreement, these folks were hemming and hawing and rocking back and forth and (to say "foaming at the mouth" would be taking it a step too far, but not by much) generally making it known to the entire visitors' balcony that they believed, as the two Republican Senators who followed testified, that allowing gays to marry would destroy the fabric of American Society.

If anyone reading this can offer a translation - all I want to understand is how the two Republican senators figure that allowing a woman and a woman to marry is going to destroy the fabric of America. I don't care if YOU believe it - I just want someone to explain to me what this means. I honestly can't wrap my head around it. Seriously - so Lisa and Betty get married... and suddenly the economy tanks? Or we are seen as weak and are bombed by other countries? Or cows stop giving milk and the land dries up?

Is it just me or does anyone else feel this desperate dread when listening to a religious crusader pushing for the government to amend the Constitution of the United States to restrict privileges to one section of the population while banning a whole group of people from the right to a legally recognized life-long partnership? Isn't this one of the most fundamental tenants of our country? The separation of church and state?

Okay - sorry. My dad is never going to read my blog again.


Blogger Moose Tucker said...

Okay, now I am not tremendously well versed in this area, but I actually believe that the rationale behind not wanting to allow legal gay marriage is truthfully a tax issue. Married couples get a tax benefit (not to mention the possibility for corporate benefits, but I will get to that in a moment.) If every gay couple out there decides to get married, we would be getting less revenue from them as a country. (Although I have to admit, I don't think there would be a stampede for marriage that would seriously alter I don't know what the big problem is.)

From the corporate standpoint, there are certain protective laws that specify that you have to offer benefits to both the employee and their spouse and dependents. This is so that it is not unreasonable for a working family to care for their children or their stay at home spouse. If a company is over a certain size, you have to offer employees medical benefits. They don't have to be grand, but they have to exist. Another possible argument would be that corporate America would not be able to support a massive increase in medical benefit payout because of a jump in quantity of married employees.

Now here is the kicker. A lot of company's, especially in more progressive states like California, offer something called a "Domestic Partner" benefit. This is a benefit that will extend to your "partner" if you meet certain criteria, such as you share insurance, you have a joint account, you have lived in the same domicile for at least two years, etc. If you meet these criteria, you can sign your "partner" up to be included on your benefits. I have actually done this with SF so that he could have a good dental plan. It is intended to skirt the legal mumbo jumbo regarding gay partnership and allow for committed individuals to support each other. (While at the same time not discriminating against any employee.)

Now, and this may be difficult to swallow, there is one other element of this argument that has not really been discussed yet that is a factor. There are ACTUALLY right wing Christians out there who believe it is immoral to marry someone of your same sex. Not only to marry, but to love, to be intimate with, etc. It can't be overlooked that this is actually a moral issue to some people. And yes, they DO beleive that legalizing gay marriage will corrupt and destroy the MORAL fabric of America. For them it isn't necessarily a religious conviction as a moral one, which can be more dangerous. Anyone who considers love a sickness has some issues in my book, but I guarantee you that they are a driving force. And also, they are a large voting group. They unfortunately show up to the polls more consistently and in greater numbers and Republican politicians know that. It would not be completely unbelieveable that some politicians support this and are not really invested in the full meaning of the bill.

Oh, and the cows. The cows would no longer give milk. It's been proven.

8:59 AM

Blogger JQ said...

Hence: SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. What if some religious group demanded that marriages in which the couple had had premarital sex were null and void (assuming they could test such a thing). The founders of this country deliberately wrote in seperation of church and state into our constitution BECAUSE they'd lived under an oppressive fanatical religious regime (and I'm not talking about England).

11:27 AM

Blogger Moose Tucker said...

No argument here. I think the whole thing is crazy. Especially when we just handed power over to Iraq. I think we have MUCH BIGGER FISH to fry, and this is absolutely a conflict of church and state. I don't know what is wrong with people. Why can't they just let everyone be who they are?

You are really impassioned about this!! Are you going to pursue further education in poli-sci? I know that you had mentioned it before.

9:41 AM


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