Marriage Equality has merit

If the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, then the way to an American voter’s heart is through the wallet. At least this year, judging by the way political candidates stumble over themselves to mention the economy and the $64,000 word, “jobs.”

Well, we have a solution to create jobs and spur the economy. Legalize gay marriage for all Americans.

Think about it, it is obvious that there is pent up demand from years of couples being denied weddings. Gays and lesbians are likely to marry, and at some expense, once the ban is lifted; that these couples are often older and childless makes them even bigger cash cows. If one asked an economist to write a recipe for a one-time demand shock, it could reasonably be expected to resemble a marriage license for your gay aunt or uncle. It makes perfect sense to allow “pink dollars” to lift us out of recession.

Some have argued that granting spousal benefits to same-sex partners, as well as allowing them greater rights to inherit and make medical decisions for them—all of which we will have to do once gay marriage is national reality—will burden the taxpayer. More pensions to pay out means more domestic debt. The antidote to this hairy contention to block gay marriages is, like Drano, two-fold. Firstly, a Keynesian would view the new government expenditure required as another stimulus to lubricate the gears of capitalism. To get to the second point, let us, purely for the sake of argument, assume that gay marriage will add more to state debt than they are worth in stimulus. Still, to bar them from marriage for this purpose seems like an ill-gotten savings.

Yet, maybe you read this argument from savings and still retain a taste for marriage bans. If that is the case then now, brothers and sisters, we must contend with first principles, namely those of equality.

In America, no individual nor private company may issue their own marriage contracts. No couple, no matter how diverse they are, may customize their marriage contract. If marriage were an ugly sweater, the tag would necessarily read “one size fits all.” Additionally, the government has the exclusive monopoly on knitting these contracts together—as no individual or corporation may issue their own.

If this is to remain the case (and it really should not) then the 14th Amendment requires—nay, demands—that the issuance be equal for everyone. No ability to discriminate escapes this duty. We cannot simultaneously conceive of gays as fully human people, and deny them the same rights as other citizens. Imagine this case. You are the head of an orphanage housing 100 children. One day you find that 10 children you thought you have been caring for were actually locked in a closet. Would you allow those children out of their cage and at the same time also deny them a place at the dinner table with the other orphans? Of course not. You recognize that it is your duty to treat equal cases equally.

So which will it be? Will do you believe that gay people are indeed fully human people, or do you believe that they may not be married. One cannot have both. You cannot have your cake and eat it, too.

To subvert human equality, a religious man might contend that God has ordained marriage as exclusively between man and woman and to constitute it otherwise would demean the institution. This argument invites unraveling. For one, it pretends to know the mind of God. At best, discerning God’s will, if it exists, is a fun parlor game, at worst a consensus on the matter is license to a vague and baseless oppression.

Secondly, we can all agree that marriage provides many benefits and protects from certain ills. Yet, we distribute it unevenly. Would our conscience allow for a fire department that, on principle, responds to only 90 percent of house calls? To say that putting out the last 10 percent of fires would do damage to the very idea of fire safety is absurdity.

Lastly, we defy God in all sorts of ways, wearing two clothes concurrently, allowing diverse cattle to graze together, or not marrying our bother’s widows. Why not this one more? It seems not even to be all that important to him. Consider this, there have always been people with transcendental ties to the divine. St. Teresa of Avila is a superb example. Throughout her life she experienced euphoric visions and periods of rapturous ecstasy where she literally in the presence God. (So much so that she was known to orgasm during her visions). Every time she came down from being “with God,” she reported that his message was love. Never once a rule to prohibit love, in any form.