What the state can gain from marriage equality

April 29, 2013

About a month ago, the Supreme Court decided to hear two separate cases related to marriage: a challenge to the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) and the constitutionality of Proposition 8, a ballot measure that nullified the legalization of gay marriage in the state of California.

That day, my Facebook page lit up with people coming out in favor of gay marriage, which heartened me. They started changing their profile pictures to a red square with two, pink, parallel bars depicting an equal sign. It showed their support of marriage equality.

But while I appreciate my very progressive friends with whom I agree, I also, unfortunately, have a minority of friends who would every so often post the link to a poorly researched blog post arguing against gay marriage.

Reading them made me feel like this.

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I couldn’t reply or post to any of it without ruining my journalistic street cred, so I had to vent to patient best friends instead. Then I remembered I had a fairly anonymous blog.

One of my Facebook friends posted an article entitled “The secular case against gay marriage” in which the writer makes a case against gay marriage because it serves no quantifiable purpose to society.

When a state recognizes a marriage, it bestows upon the couple certain benefits which are costly to both the state and other individuals. Collecting a deceased spouse’s social security, claiming an extra tax exemption for a spouse, and having the right to be covered under a spouse’s health insurance policy are just a few examples of the costly benefits associated with marriage. In a sense, a married couple receives a subsidy. Why? Because a marriage between two unrelated heterosexuals is likely to result in a family with children, and propagation of society is a compelling state interest. For this reason, states have, in varying degrees, restricted from marriage couples unlikely to produce children.

Except for the fact that no one has restricted old people from getting married. But whatever.

He continues.

Homosexual relationships do nothing to serve the state interest of propagating society, so there is no reason for the state to grant them the costly benefits of marriage, unless they serve some other state interest. The burden of proof, therefore, is on the advocates of gay marriage to show what state interest these marriages serve. Thus far, this burden has not been met.

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Some background. In my last reporting job, I did a huge enterprise/feature project on foster care. In the reporting process, I learned some startling statistics. For example:

  • On any given day, there are approximately 400,000 children in foster care in the United States
  • This means the U.S. spends $5 billion every year to take care of these foster children (and it’s not nearly enough)
  • 11 percent (26,000 children) age out of the system every year, and most of them have no safety net in place upon aging out
  • Because there is no safety net, the majority of these children usually don’t graduate high school and end up in jail (or dead)

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Yeah. Exactly.

So here are some gay adoption statistics:

  • According to a 2011 story in the New York Times, 19 percent of gay couples raising children have adopted
  • But only 4 percent of adopted children in the country live in a household led by a gay couple

There are only two states in the country that forbid gay couples from adopting: Utah and Mississippi. So why are the numbers so small? Because adopting without a valid, state-recognized marriage is damn near impossible. And guess what? There are still too few states who recognize gay marriage.

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(No, Tom Hiddleston. I’m not joking.)

There aren’t any hard or fast numbers, and I don’t purport to be a clairvoyant, but I’m willing to bet if you legalized gay marriage it would possibly mean:

  • A larger pool of couples able to adopt children who need loving homes which would possibly mean less foster children
  • Which would also possibly mean the government would have to spend less (taxpayer) money on fostering programs
  • Which would also possibly mean less former foster children in prison
  • Which would also possibly mean the government would have to spend less on prisoners

So I think it’s safe to say the state has a lot to gain by legalizing gay marriage.

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I’m convinced Nancy Pelosi is secretly an alien

November 15, 2012

Elections are over. Life is back to normal.

Except not really.

Now that all the stupid posturing and empty rhetoric is over, the real grunt work is just beginning. And by that, I mean the negotiations on the FISCAL CLIFF.

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In addition to continued partisan bickering, both congressional chambers are going through their leadership elections this week. After trolling Politico after a long day at work (because I’m a glutton for punishment and a total nerd), I stumbled across this interesting story and it got my ears steaming.

Brace yourselves. It’s a two-part rant.

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Part I:

If you’re too lazy to go up there and click the link to read the story for yourself, Nancy Pelosi held a press conference Thursday announcing that she was…

…get ready…

…going to stay on as House Minority Leader.

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La-dee-freakin-dah.

Aside from the fact that this surprises absolutely no one, why the hell did she feel the need to announce it so fucking dramatically? Pelosi kept mum about her leadership plans for the 113th Congress in the days leading up to this announcement she termed “D-Day,” which drove everyone crazy with speculation. Her uncharacteristic silence and the dramatic build-up to the press conference Thursday morning led everyone to believe she was going to retire or step down from congressional leadership or announce that her planet had finally contacted her and she was going back home where she belongs.

Look, if she was getting ready to step down from congressional leadership, then I’d be surprised. Then I’d totally understand the need for a huge-ass press conference. Then I’d forgive her (kind of) for building up to the big announcement.

But since she decided to stay, her “D-Day” press conference was completely unwarranted. Why do you have to announce it? Whoop-de-doo, you get to run your party into the ground for another two years. It’s like throwing confetti when you walk into work Monday morning and shouting, “Surprise! I decided to show up after all!” and everyone’s just staring at you like, “Well no duh, asshole, we expected it.”

In short: Nancy Pelosi is a total drama queen.

Part II:

At this the unwarranted press conference, Luke Russert of NBC asked whether her decision to remain the House Minority Leader would prevent younger Democratic representatives from taking the reins this year and perhaps later on down the line.

Pelosi and her flunkies took this as a slight on her age and booed him for having the audacity to point out that the Minority Leader is about as old and weathered as the Sphinx.

First of all, this is a perfectly legitimate question. The problem with politics and politicians in general is this incestuous culture and emphasis on seniority within the system. This system usually results in 72-year-old hags staying in Congress for decades, clutching onto power with their gnarled, dragon-lady fingernails until they croak. While there’s definitely something to be said about age and its relationship to wisdom, there’s an equally important and often ignored argument about younger elected officials and fresher perspectives. Change is imperative, and if the Democratic party wants to keep up, they’re eventually going to have to start training some of these young’uns to take over.

But it seems that Pelosi is either going to: A) live forever or B) stick it out until her home planet calls her back home.

And here’s another thing: Pelosi and her flunkies actually booed Russert for asking his legitimate question.

Look, I get it. Government officials don’t like the media. To you we’re that dog that hangs out underneath the dinner table, begging for the crappy scraps you’re willing to toss us. We’re a necessary evil to get your bullshit messages of “bipartisanship” and “patriotism” out to the poor, unsuspecting public. You think we’re nothing but glorified rumor-mongers with mass distribution capabilities and Internet access.

But believe it or not, our job description does not include being your megaphone. We don’t ask you the questions you want to be asked because that would be doing a disservice to our audience. We ask you the questions that make you cringe and boo because they make you uncomfortable. When our audience of taxpayers are the ones signing your fat checks and funding your private jets, you are obligated to answer to them, and we are obligated to ask the questions they want answers to. You don’t get to scoff at us, belittle our questions and swat us away like we’re annoying gnats.

It’s politicians like you, Nancy Pelosi, that continue to erode the faith of the American people and scare good, decent reporters from asking questions that need answers. If you continue to criticize the smart, tenacious reporters with good questions, it will eventually scare away any semblance of critical thinking in our media. And that is just unacceptable.

So fuck you, Pelosi. And next time answer the damn question.

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