Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Being against gay marriage is not a conservative position

Image from egnorance.blogspot,com

For the purposes of this blog post, let's use the word "civil union" describe the relationships between homosexual couples that are ratified by law. Quite frankly, although the government may use the word "marriage" when it comes to describing the equivalent between an man and a woman, it is essentially a civil union anyway - you get a new set of civil rules that go along with being wed. Marriage, essentially, has more to do with what Jesus, Allah or any of those boys have to say about it. Civil law is dictated by government, not anyone's particular deity (in many cases).

Plus, we only use the term "civil union" in laws about gays to keep straight people calm. States/countries where there are proper civil unions? Pretty much the same thing as where there is marriage. 

The gay marriage we want is civil. Gay marriage is not about coming into your church and taking it over, it is about the civil benefits the government gives citizens when they decide to tie the knot. 

It would include such things (these are American examples):
- joint tax returns
- taxed as a couple, not two individuals (and at a lower rate)
- next of kin (and therefore inheritance - plus you pay more in death taxes if there is no official next of kin. Where there is no gay marriage, there is no spouse, even if the couple has been together for 30 years.)
- being regarded as family (officially) entitling one to visit the other in hospital
- mutual benefits: spouse can be a dependent when it comes to medical aid/healthcare plans, work benefits, in pension plans and so on
- immigration (as the foreign half of a couple in the US, I can verify this is blatantly discriminatory)
- joint filing of bankruptcy
- custodial rights to children (and, incidentally, joint adoption) (note: this assumes that gay couples are already permitted to adopt children - legalising gay marriage and gay couples adopting are different things)
- protection against domestic violence
- Spousal privilege (spouses cannot be compelled to testify against each other in court)
and so on

None of these mess with anyone's religious convictions whatsoever. These are solely civil benefits and were not passed down from Heaven or Nirvana. They came from the desk of the governor (or in South Africa's case, the President). 

Forcing people to pay higher tax rates, or not be allowed next-of-kin laws, or to visit each other in hospital purely because their genitals match: none of this is because of conservative ideals, or threats to religious freedom. It is because people dont like gays. 

Being against these civil rights is not a conservative position. It is a bigoted position. 

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