Gay marriage activists have said that unless we allow gay marriage they will not be able to have long-term relationships. Sen. Jarrett Barrios, the only openly gay lawmaker to speak today, (who by the way said he and his partner and kids are “proud Catholics” who attend a particular parish) said that without gay marriage his kids won’t have proper health care coverage and if he died without being married his partner would not get his pension benefits and his kids wouldn’t be properly taken care of.
Where to start? For one thing, if someone is the legal parent or guardian of a child, then the child is eligible for health care under family health plans. (And as a lawmaker, Barrios gets much better health care coverage than the average person.) As for the pension benefits, even if he can’t designate his partner for Social Security and pension benefits, his kids can receive them. Why not just be honest?
Other activists have said, “If we don’t have gay marriage, we can’t have a lifelong commitment.” Says who? Why do you need the state to tell you can stay together?
Another argument goes, “If we love each other, who’s to say we can’t get married.” This is the most obvious one. The state doesn’t care if you love your partner. Love has nothing to do with the legal definition of marriage (while it has everything to do with the spiritual definition.) All the state cares about is what benefits a family provides to society and thus provides incentives to promote stable and productive families. That is what the law should be about. And a mom and a dad living in the same house, raising their kids, provide the sort of stable and healthy environment that produces stable and healthy adults. (By the way, this is also an argument against our too relaxed divorce laws that make it too easy to split up families and let them off the hook of working to provide good families to kids.)
What most fascinates me about the whole gay marriage debate is the poor quality of the arguments offered in some cases by both sides.