Tuesday, December 27, 2011

With Liberty and Justice for Some

I was perusing Google News today and came across an interesting article that talked about how same-sex couples end up having to pay thousands of dollars more in taxes than straight couples because they cannot file jointly since they aren't able to marry in most states. Furthermore, as the federal government doesn't recognize gay marriages as a result of DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act), even if the couples are allowed to marry in their home states, their federal tax payments still can't be filed jointly. The continued opposition to gay marriage in the U.S. never ceases to baffle me. 

For instance, back when Obama was trying to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the Department of Defense conducted an extensive study and survey across the military. They asked soldiers if serving with openly gay and lesbian soldiers and officers would negatively affect their performance and ability to perform their duties. Not surprisingly, most surveyed said that it would not. Even in the face of overwhelming evidence that most people who serve in the armed forces didn't care if they were fighting beside someone who was homosexual, the passage of the bill was still opposed by all but 8 Republicans. So why, in the face of overwhelming evidence and support, would such a thing be opposed? 

Their argument that it would be difficult to undertake during wartime seems dubious at best, since the study conducted clearly showed otherwise. So it really seems like any opposition to this stems from some sort of bigotry. Why shouldn't gays and lesbians have the same rights as everybody else? Isn't that the principle that America was founded on? Liberty and equality for all people always, not just when it happens to be convenient. 

In any case, back to the issue at hand. Since the Obama administration decided to stop defending the the Defense of Marriage Act, John Boehner and congressional Republicans (most of them, there are always exceptions) have moved to try to reverse this decision. On the one hand, this is wasteful, in that it costs hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to continue defending DOMA. So spending federal dollars on this is okay, but Social Security and Medicare need to get cut down to size? On the other hand, it goes against the wishes of the people. In a recent Gallup poll, 53% of Americans believed that gay marriages should be legally recognized, versus 45% who didn't. That's a clear majority. So why this remains such a big issue is beyond me. Legalize gay marriage. The religious opposition to it flies in the face of the separation of church and state. Spain legalized it and it's a very Catholic nation. Those saying that it'll wreck American society should take a look at other countries that have legalized it. I don't see anyone bemoaning the demise of Canada at the hands of married homosexual couples.

Also, aren't Republicans supposed to be against making people pay higher taxes?