Let's begin with some of the pros. The cons will come into the subject later.
I am also sure that when you asked this question and launched it into
the ether, you had no idea of who would answer it. You could not know
in advance if the researcher who locked it was going to be a
conservative or liberal, ultra-religious, not religious at all, or
even gay or straight. So naturally, there will be a great deal of
subjectivity to the answer depending on which of our varied researcher
personality types tackles it. and if it were possible to have several
researchers answer it, you would get as many opinions about the pros
and cons as the number who answered. It is not as though there is
some "official list" of pros and cons regarding gay marriage that
somebody can point to and say, "This is it."
There is a human rights issue here as well as the issue of simple humanity.
Millions of gay people are involved in long-term relationships. They
have built their lives together, created estates, bought homes and
invested together in time, effort and money just as have millions of
But be that as it may, many gay couples face a far higher risk of
living the last years of their lives in abject poverty due to the fact
that they are not eligible for many federal and state protections
ranging from social security survivors benefits, estate tax exemptions
and more. People who have been together for many years may be barred
from visiting their loved one in the hospital because of restrictive
"family only" rules. They may be denied shared quarters in a nursing
home and many will, and have, lost their homes if their partner needs
government help for long-term care.
Social security survivor benefits are denied. If one member of a
married couple dies, the surviving spouse can choose to retain his or
her own benefits or accept the spouse's, whichever is higher. The
benefits provide financial security for survivors who stayed home or
earned a lower income than their spouse. Gay couples live their lives
in the same manner. One earns more than the other, or one takes care
of the house while the other works. There are no differences. Yet
same-sex couples are ineligible for survivor benefits.
Married people can inherit unlimited assets from their spouses without
triggering federal estate taxes. That's not the case for gay couples.
If one partner dies, the other could pay estate taxes, even on a home
that was jointly owned.
And that is not the only tax penalty gay couples face. If a married
401-K owner dies, the surviving spouse has the option of rolling the
money into his or her own retirement plan, deferring tax until the
money is withdrawn. Gay beneficiaries are required to take the money
as a lump sum and pay income tax on the entire amount.
Then there is the out and out theft of a gay partners assets. Most
state inheritance laws don't recognize same-sex couples, which means
the deceased partner's assets will likely go to siblings or other
family members, even if they've been estranged. A gay couple may
have spent decades building an estate together and it can all be
grabbed away by the relatives of the deceased and this theft takes
place with the assistance of the legal system.
When a member of a married couple goes into a nursing home, the
government requires the couple to "spend down" most of their assets
before the individual is eligible for Medicaid. But the rules allow
the healthy spouse to keep enough money for living expenses. Also, the
home isn't counted as an asset, allowing the healthy spouse to remain
The emotional horror is just as real as the financial. Imagine a man
or woman in the hospital waiting area while their partner of many
decades is dying elsewhere inthe building. Because of restrictive
family only laws, they may never be able to see each other again or
But many of those who oppose gay marriage simply don't care. The
suffering means nothing against their personal sense of
self-rightousness or against the fact that government has saved a few
dollars in benefits. Even some of the "real" family visitors who
enter the parients room may not have seen him or her in years. But
there is a nice estate they will be able to snag onto as soon as the
Ending this travesty of financial and emotional abuse is the number
one "pro" of gay marriage. And it should outweigh any other
considerations the anti-gay marriage crowd may throw together.
One of the "cons" commonly brought up is that that marriage shouldn't
be defined in terms of the financial benefits it provides. Yet if
those financial benefits were going to be denied those who "commonly
bring it up," you would be able to hear the roar of protest in the
Many of these same opponents claim couples can protect their interests
through joint-ownership agreements, health care proxies and other
The fact is that it's impossible to replicate with contracts all the
protections marriage provides, which become increasingly important as
couples get older. Even civil unions, don't trigger any of the over
1,000 federal benefits and protections a marriage license triggers.
That same protection doesn't extend to gay couples. Many couples have
been forced to give up their homes so one partner can qualify for
Medicaid coverage. Once again it is a matter of legal theft with
It is a travesty and a national disgrace to force elderly people into
poverty because the person they loved was the same gender. And like
it or not, it is a disgrace to those who oppose gay marriage whatever
their reasoning might be.
Of course there are quite a few "cons" which really are personal to
the marriage rather than those caused by government or those tied to
some dogmatic absolutism that does not allow them to see past their
own self-rightous noses.
Marriage could save gay couples thousands in taxes or ot could mean
the trouble and expense of redoing wills which are rendered null and
void by marriage. If a couple splits up, it will mean somebody may
well have to pay alimony, with a cost in lawyers fees of course.
"When gay people are accorded the right to marry, it doesn't just
simply bring with it this big basket of benefits," said Susan A.
Huettner, chairman of the Massachusetts Bar Association's family law
section counsel. "It also brings with it a big basket of
So, I suppose there could be put together a list of pros and cons. Of
course any such list I put together will be highly opinionated as you
probably have gathered by now.
1 - Denying gay marriage is a violation of religious freedom (civil
and religious marriages are two separate institutions). While marriage
may have a religious basis in certain cultures and faiths, as far as
governmental agencies are concerned it is only a legal contract.
Those who would deny gay marriage for religious reasons also largely
claim their opposition is based on religious freedom and their desire
to prevent, what in their eyes is a sinful act. Yet while claiming
"religious freedom" they are more than willing to deny such freedom to
all others who do not follow their version of theology. Religious
freedom which defines itself as the freedom to impose their standards
on all others is a farce and it is wrong.
2 - Marriage benefits (such as joint ownership, medical
decision-making capacity) should be available to all couples. Of
course we covered much of that above.
3 - Homosexuality is an accepted lifestyle with a proven biological causation.
4 - Denying gay marriages is a form of minority discrimination.
5 - It doesn't hurt society or anyone in particular.
6 - The only thing that should matter in marriage is love. This of
course is of no concern to those who oppose gay marriage in that it
doesn't meet with their "socially and morally approved and stamped"
version of love.
7 - It encourages people to have strong family values and give up
high-risk sexual lifestyles.
Some of the "cons" most commonly heard:
1 - Most religions consider homosexuality a sin. See number 1 above.
2 - It would weaken the definition and respect for the institution of
marriage. I haven't the foggiest idea how. Marriage has already
evolved through many changes in the history of the world. Many of
those who oppose gay marriage also state that marriage is already
weakened in modern society. I'm scratching my head over that one.
Since there have been no gay marriages till just recently, I guess all
those straight people weakened the state of marriage in anticipation
of what was to come???????
3 - It would further weaken the traditional family values essential to
our society. I find it ludicrus to believe that what brings people
together in lasting relationships weakens family and values. This
argument is based largely on religious principles rather than any form
of pragmatic thinking. See number 1 above.
4 - It could provide a slippery slope in the legality of marriage
(e.g. having multiple wives or marrying an object could be next). On
my, as if multiple-wives were something new and never heard of before
and as far as marrying an "object?" - ok, I'll get this computer a
There is no way I can see anybody being hurt by providing the ability
for us to take care of one we love, emotionallyor financially.
With all the problems and violence in the world, I would think those
who oppose gay marriage should find something more worthwhile to
occupy their time other than sticking their noses in to one area where
love and security is trying to take root.
It is far more beneficial to society to provide a system where people
can take care of each other than it is to bow before the mean spirited
dictates of the dogmatic absolutist.
Search - none
Terms - my own personal views
Thank you for the question. I think it was one of the more important
we have had in a while.