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Bye-Bye, DOMA, Bye-Bye

It simply isn't the government's business to lavish things on people for being married.

by
Stephen Green

Bio

June 26, 2013 - 12:00 pm

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Did anyone else notice that the Supreme Court just knocked down a goodly-sized portion of Bill Clinton’s legal legacy?

Fancy that:

The justices issued two 5-4 rulings in their final session of the term. One decision wiped away part of a federal anti-gay marriage law that has kept legally married same-sex couples from receiving tax, health and pension benefits.

The other was a technical legal ruling that said nothing at all about same-sex marriage, but left in place a trial court’s declaration that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional. That outcome probably will allow state officials to order the resumption of same-sex weddings in the nation’s most populous state in about a month.

The high court said nothing about the validity of gay marriage bans in California and roughly three dozen other states.

The only part I have any real trouble with is covered in that first graf — marriage shouldn’t come with any tax, health, or government pension benefits. It simply isn’t the government’s business to lavish things on people for being married.

What’s interesting is the non-ideological split of the 5-4 vote. There aren’t many issues where the winning team consists of Chief Justice John Roberts and justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Antonin Scalia. It’s disappointing (but not entirely surprising) not to see Clarence Thomas in there making it 6-3.

The best part is Roberts’ ringing defense of federalism regarding California’s Prop 8. He wrote, “We have no authority to decide this case on the merits, and neither did the 9th Circuit.” Exactly right. Although I suspect Ginsburg and Kagan found themselves siding with Roberts out of a conviction favoring gay marriage, rather than a conviction that there are any real limits to what Washington may tell the states to do. It’s a good guess that’s one reason Roberts wrote the decision himself.

A SCOTUS win is a SCOTUS win, but a well-reasoned SCOTUS win is a thing of beauty and healthful to the Republic. But I’ll give my Twitter self the last word on this one.

Tweet

CORRECTION: I’ll give the last word to the President instead.

BMO

*****

image courtesy shutterstock / Syda Productions

Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

Stephen Green began blogging at VodkaPundit.com in early 2002, and has served as PJMedia's Denver editor since 2008. He's one of the hosts on PJTV, and one-third of PJTV's Trifecta team with Scott Ott and Bill Whittle. Steve lives with his wife and sons in the hills and woods of Monument, Colorado, where he enjoys the occasional lovely adult beverage.

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Top Rated Comments   
A society may be presumed to have the right to perpetuate itself. Perpetuation requires the production of new citizens. In order to promote the production of new citizens, certain benefits, both economic and social, may be provided to those capable of the production. Male female pairs are the only ones capable of producing new citizens. In order to promote the optimal circumstances for the production of new citizens, long term bonds of male/female pairs should be promoted. Thus, marriage between men and women, with the potential of producing new citizens and continuing the society, provides a particular benefit to the society and is worthy of the social and economic incentives. Homosexual marriage provides nothing of value to the society and is thus not worthy of receiving incentives/benefits from the society.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
To me, my marriage license is only a recognition from the state and institution of mankind. My husband and I made sure we said our vows before God, and in his eyes, we are and always will remain married. I could scrap every single legal protection or the state could strip them away tomorrow and he and I would remain married. What God has joined, let no man put asunder. Even though we had a private ceremony, we made sure we swore our vows before a minister in a church, before God for just that reason - we wanted to be married in His eyes, not just the eyes of the state.

God sees that a marriage is all those things you say - it's about a creating a strong, abiding foundation in which a man and woman agree to join their lives into one for the creation of a family in which their children can grow and feel protected and loved and be well cared for. It isn't about just two people who love each other so much that they want to be exclusive sex partners like modern society apparently believes and it won't confer eternal happiness on you. If it did, we wouldn't have so many divorces.

With today's ruling, not only has the SCOTUS declared me an enemy of someone for believing what I do about what a marriage is and is not, but it has also opened the door to making marriage simply about conferring preferred legal status on a person's sex buddy of the moment. It's not about the state understanding that strong, whole families are the preferred unit for society. In essence, I feel that the state has betrayed me and my state issued license is a symbol of that betrayal. It cheapens the very meaning of what my husband and I have and share.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Do you trust your wife, Stephen? It's not a rhetorical question. Trust is an essential in a marriage. You need it to make the marriage work, and marriages are an essential element to raising well-adjusted children, and thus, well-adjusted adults of the next generation.

One of the many reasons for legal marriage is protection from the State. You have to be able to tell your spouse things about yourself that you wouldn't tell anyone else. One of the benefits of legal marriage is spousal privilege. The State legally cannot force your wife to testify against you, because you are considered to be legally one entity.

This is not some lavish benefit given by the State as a reward for marriage. It is a quid pro quo. The State benefits from well-adjusted citizens who result from marriage.

That is one of many examples. You Libertarians do not understand the connection. You benefit from these things, but think the State should not be proffering these things, because you see it as the State giving goodies. It is not. These things are earned and are a necessary function for an orderly society. When you support gay marriage, you are removing the quo part of the equation. You are supporting the very thing you say you are against. When the government can just give out legal marriage status, and thus the quid, to just anyone, without the quo, then you are supporting government giveaways.

Libertarians believe there should be no legal marriage at all, which is destructive to society, as it removes the protections of marriage, or they recommend letting everyone have it, which is supporting government ownership of marriage, instead of it being a reciprocal arrangement. Either position is destructive to society. You simply do not understand what the purpose is of legal marriage, while you enjoy the benefits.

What if you die, Stephen? Without legal marriage, your wealth, whatever it is, goes into probate and gets taxed. With legal marriage, your wife, and thus your kids, continue to benefit from what you accumulated, because legally, you are considered one entity and your wife has full ownership. There is no "transfer of ownership", so the State does not get to rob your wife and kids, just because you pass away. This protects mainly the kids, as adults can have all kinds of financial arrangements. It's all about the next generation of well-adjusted citizens for the State, and a protected family, protected from the State, for you.

You take your marriage, and its protections, for granted, Stephen. You should give it some thought. Legal marriage was not some whim. It was not government meddling. It is protection FROM the State. You'd think a Libertarian would get that instinctively.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (61)
All Comments   (61)
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The Republican Party is truly the stupid party. One faction goes along with the Democrat's plan to change the political demographic by legalizing a hoard of Mexicans and the other faction wants turn American Society into the ghetto by abolishing marriage. Both Rubio and Green are morons. The alternative is that they are just agent provocatures in a Trust-like deception operation.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Thank you Steve. It's nice to see that somebody recognizes the problems of the "statism for things I like" position.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So, let's say we have Civil Unions that give any two non-related of-age persons, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, all the legal benefits and tax breaks that Uncle Sam lavishes on traditionally married couples.

Great, I want to marry my male roommate to get the tax breaks. Oh, we're both hetero and have girlfriends. Is that a problem? Why? We meet all the criterion; we're just not in love or having sex with each other. Lots of hetero couples have been in loveless and sexless marriages, and are just in it for the perks. Why not me and my roommate?

Will Uncle Sam have to have proof that civil unions are solely between two people who are actively having sex with each other? Will this apply to hetero couples too? Will everyone have to submit homemade porn vids to Obama to prove the veracity of their civil union? Or will homosexuals be singled out as having to somehow prove their sexual lives to the Federal Government?

I find the concept beyond reprehensible. This will lead to unutterably creepy Governmental intrusion on an unprecedented scale. Just wait.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The state has a vested interest in its survival, and no state can survive for long it the birthrate is negative. Children and families are of vital or essential concerns of any state. These concerns are promoted by various rules, regulations, and laws. Giving tax incentives to married couples encourages procreation; however, our society has now encouraged "marriages" that cannot procreate. No one can define what a family is. What started out as something that made sense no longer makes sense. I have come to the conclusion that with the current state of insanity, there is no reason for the government to be giving financial incentives to "married" couples.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Governments are in the business of bestowing benefit or sanction on X for political advantage, political expediency or financial gain for the ruling class. Occasionally they do so for other reasons that can include he rule of law, justice and equity. SSM is a dog and pony show for the rubes on both sides of the issue that distract and enable the grown up business of pillaging the country's governing political and financial institutions to continue apace.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The stat "lavishes" benefits on marriage because the state benefits from the production, and raising, of more taxpaying citizens. That is so easy to understand, that I wonder why so many "Liberatarians", ignore what is so obvious.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The state has an interest in defending our liberty -- and that's it. You big-government "conservatives" made Obama possible.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sweet baby John the Baptist; this made me physically roll my eyes.
Just as 'Labor' doesn't spring from a hole in the ground and 'skilled labor' does not emerge, fully-trained. from the forehead of Ayn Rand, citizens and taxpayers don't grow on trees. Parents face huge costs, both direct and indirect, in order to have and raise children. The government recognizing this isn't "big government".
Further, since when does a Libertarian think that "not taxing someone" = "lavish benefits"?
As for the scare quotes around conservative - crack a political science textbook - Libertarians aren't Conservatives, they're Liberals.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You had me going there until the end. Still, I got a good chuckle.

Anyway, take it up with your state -- where it belongs. Because the Supreme Court is on my side.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
So....
That's it? 'The Supereme Court is on your side' is all you;ve got?
Rather than get into it about Kelo, etc., and how you feel about THOSE SCOTUS decisions, let's focus on my direct statements and questions.
1) Since when does a Libertarian think that reducing taxes on someone is a 'lavish benefit'? [Yes, I know, it is a paraphrase]
2) What is the issue with these tax benefits accruing to citizens facing the costs of creating more citizens?
3) Since it is obvious, why *don't* you understand that Libertarians are Liberals?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm ignoring your silly assertions because they silly assertions, authorized nowhere in the Constitution.

I'm ignoring your that point about libertarians because... actually, I'm not ignoring it at all. I'm chuckling at it, because it is your silliest assertion.

But one thing I will address directly: I'd rather have liberty and SCOTUS on my side than silly assertions. SCOTUS doesn't always land on the right side, of course, but the issue of gay marriage is now settled at the Federal level -- by knocking down a law Congress never had the authority to enact.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I was forced to 'like' this comment, Stephen, I really was.
My question What is the issue with these tax benefits accruing to citizens facing the costs of creating more citizens? is not just an assertion, it is a silly one.
Now, how is a question an assertion? And why is it a silly one?
Again, the majority of the legal benefits of marriage involve tax breaks - since when is a tax break anathema to a Libertarian?
Please note! This is *also* a question, not an assertion! They are very different things!
Also, 'Conservative' means 'a social and political position that promotes the retention of traditional social structures, institutions, and traditions. Conservatism tends to promote traditional ideas of marriage, morals, and society'.
Of course, 'Liberal' is defined as 'a political and social ideology that focuses on ideas of liberty and equality, and generally promotes private property, free trade, and individualism'
This is textbook stuff Stephen, PoliSci 220.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If you're going to use the classical definition of liberal, then I'll gladly wear the label. I thought you were using it in the modern, oxymoronic sense of "vile progressive."

A tax code should raise revenue, not reward or punish particular behaviors -- no matter how benign the motive or laudable the behavior. Our tax code today is inherently corrupt and corrupting precisely because we've abandoned the principles of the 1986 tax simplification, and gotten deeply into behavior modification. It's just a hop, skip, and a jump from child tax credits to targeting Tea Party groups.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
It has been almost a day, Stephen - are you ever going to answer those direct questions I asked?
You know, the ones you thought were assertions?
Of course, I do appreciate your concession that yes, when you use the words as they are defined, Libertarians are Liberals, so thanks, but as I pointed out - that is an obvious fact.
But you consistently failed to answer my direct questions even after I explained my reasoning, etc.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If I had meant 'Progressive' I would have said 'Progressive'.
"A tax code should raise revenue, not reward or punish particular behaviors"
Let me guess - you also don't think laws should 'legislate morality', right?
Let's break this down, OK?
"A tax code should raise revenue..."
Granted.
Now, which makes more sense to a business owner - to maximize his immediate, short-term profits or to invest in long-term growth?
Let's make that even more pointed: which is better for a business owner, to maximize short-term profits *at the cost of shrinking his total customer base over time* or to provide economic incentives, in the form of discounts, to those customers that grow his market?
I hope the answer is obvious.
Providing tax breaks to parents and potential parents is just good stewardship, an acknowledgement of the parent's PERSONAL costs which result in PUBLIC weal. Otherwise you are, essentially, collectivizing the benefits of children while privatizing the costs - the government is the Free Rider of the parents.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Or we could, you know, have a tax system that doesn't let the state "nudge" people.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Until the income tax is repealed the reality is that parents are disadvantaged without tax breaks. Repeal the income ax and we'll talk.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Not even slightly true. Treat all individuals income alike, boom, no marriage penalty.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
As mentioned above, parents face large direct and opportunity costs not faced by non-parents. Since the result of cost is more income tax payers, which benefits everyone - collective benefits, private costs. Giving parents a rather mild tax break is nothing compared to that.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A society may be presumed to have the right to perpetuate itself. Perpetuation requires the production of new citizens. In order to promote the production of new citizens, certain benefits, both economic and social, may be provided to those capable of the production. Male female pairs are the only ones capable of producing new citizens. In order to promote the optimal circumstances for the production of new citizens, long term bonds of male/female pairs should be promoted. Thus, marriage between men and women, with the potential of producing new citizens and continuing the society, provides a particular benefit to the society and is worthy of the social and economic incentives. Homosexual marriage provides nothing of value to the society and is thus not worthy of receiving incentives/benefits from the society.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I've always been kind of tickled by the idea that women should get a lump sum for every baby they have. I imagine no man would undergo that experience for less than about $250,000.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Does that mean that straight marriages should receive no benefit until they produce children, and none after they are no longer of reproductive age?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Do you trust your wife, Stephen? It's not a rhetorical question. Trust is an essential in a marriage. You need it to make the marriage work, and marriages are an essential element to raising well-adjusted children, and thus, well-adjusted adults of the next generation.

One of the many reasons for legal marriage is protection from the State. You have to be able to tell your spouse things about yourself that you wouldn't tell anyone else. One of the benefits of legal marriage is spousal privilege. The State legally cannot force your wife to testify against you, because you are considered to be legally one entity.

This is not some lavish benefit given by the State as a reward for marriage. It is a quid pro quo. The State benefits from well-adjusted citizens who result from marriage.

That is one of many examples. You Libertarians do not understand the connection. You benefit from these things, but think the State should not be proffering these things, because you see it as the State giving goodies. It is not. These things are earned and are a necessary function for an orderly society. When you support gay marriage, you are removing the quo part of the equation. You are supporting the very thing you say you are against. When the government can just give out legal marriage status, and thus the quid, to just anyone, without the quo, then you are supporting government giveaways.

Libertarians believe there should be no legal marriage at all, which is destructive to society, as it removes the protections of marriage, or they recommend letting everyone have it, which is supporting government ownership of marriage, instead of it being a reciprocal arrangement. Either position is destructive to society. You simply do not understand what the purpose is of legal marriage, while you enjoy the benefits.

What if you die, Stephen? Without legal marriage, your wealth, whatever it is, goes into probate and gets taxed. With legal marriage, your wife, and thus your kids, continue to benefit from what you accumulated, because legally, you are considered one entity and your wife has full ownership. There is no "transfer of ownership", so the State does not get to rob your wife and kids, just because you pass away. This protects mainly the kids, as adults can have all kinds of financial arrangements. It's all about the next generation of well-adjusted citizens for the State, and a protected family, protected from the State, for you.

You take your marriage, and its protections, for granted, Stephen. You should give it some thought. Legal marriage was not some whim. It was not government meddling. It is protection FROM the State. You'd think a Libertarian would get that instinctively.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Marc Malone, I can't see an argument against gay marriage in there. Gay couples who stay together like Mary Cheney and Heather Poe are "earning" protection to a greater extent than childless serial marriers like Rush Limbaugh, aren't they?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Older and childless marriages help support the societal norm of marriage, also they can adopt and provide an environemnt for a child to grop up well adjusted. Additionally it was the Progressives who helped usher in precedent of "No Fault" divorce which has helped erode marriage as an institution. If it really was "until death do you part" or you can prove one or more of the the A's (Adultery, Abuse, or Abandonment) people might be more inclined to enter into marriage with the due consideration it deserves. No fault enables people to treat marriage like a high school relationship, just the break up is really expensive.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Your first sentence is the only one that addresses my question. It constitutes an objection only insofar as kids of gay couples (like Mary and Heather) can't "grow up well adjusted," which I have to deduce is your argument since you don't raise a specific objection to same-sex parents.

Maybe you or aharris will admit that social conservatives and defenders of God are happy, when it favors them, to jump on no-fault divorce and to make "marriage simply about conferring preferred legal status on a person's sex buddy of the moment," though. I keep citing Rush Limbaugh because I don't know anyone else who's had four marriages and no kids.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Marc, despite Stephen's dismissive response, you are quite correct. Libertarians never seem to get the fact that all of those freedoms they demand don't come for free.

When they get old or infirm, just who is going to be paying the taxes to support all of the government assistance that they will draw on? Who is going to be running the businesses that their 401K's and retirement income depend on? Someone else’s kids; that's who!

Here is my deal with all of you Libertarians like Stephen, I’ll give you your point on Gay marriage, in exchange for not expecting my kids and grandkids to pay double in taxes to support both my wife and I, in our old age, as well as all of the childless Gay couples that contributed nothing towards producing society’s next generation of productive members.

In the end it’s all about the children; no children, no society. A society that no longer cares about investing it its next generation of children is a society that has decided to commit suicide.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The libertarian response is, we never wanted any of your money or support to begin with.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Don't treat me like a rube who has latched on to a trendy issue, Marc, and I won't treat you like a bigot.

Because I'm not, and I hope you aren't. But right not the evidence is trending in my favor.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Marc, if the State offers these benefits of which you speak, then it ought to offer them to everyone. If your religious beliefs say that you shouldn't marry another man, that's fine.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Stephen, the problem with the Supreme Court decision is that its another of Justice Kennedy's trademarked incoherent opinions. And like Lawrence v. Texas - itself an incoherent opinion - while you may laud the result, the sloppy reasoning has consequences.

Justice Scalia: " The penultimate sentence of the majority’s opinion is a naked declaration that “[t]his opinion and its holding are confined” to those couples “joined in same-sex marriages made lawful by the State.” Ante, at 26, 25. I have heard such “bald, unreasoned disclaimer[s]” before. Lawrence, 539 U. S., at 604. When the Court declared a constitutional right to homosexual sodomy, we were assured that the case had nothing, nothing at all to do with “whether the government must give formal recognition to any relationship that homosexual persons seek to enter.” Id., at 578. Now we are told that DOMA is invalid because it “demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects,” ante, at 23—with an accompanying citation of Lawrence. It takes real cheek for today’s majority to assure us, as it is going out the door, that a constitutional requirement to give formal recognition to same-sex marriage is not at issue here—when what has preceded that assurance is a lecture on how superior the majority’s moral judgment in favor of same-sex marriage is to the Congress’s hateful moral judgment against it. I promise you this: The only thing that will “confine” the Court’s holding is its sense of what it can get away with."
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All sort of talk-talk on this subject. To me, bottom line, in 99 times out of 100 families (give or take): one man and one woman committed to each other, and committed to their offspring, is the best of all possible worlds. A developing child who has a loving mother and father has an advantage over one who does not. I may be crazy, but I think that a child who grows up in either a two-father or a two-mother family unit is at a NATURAL disadvantage to one who has a mother and a father. Furthermore, to shift directions somewhat, I think that a child with either a mother or no (responsible) father, and vice versa, is likewise as at a disadvantage. This is not to say that the offspring of either same-sex or single-parent families is somehow lost, or doomed. Not at all. It is just that their development from infancy, to childhood, through puberty, to adulthood will be more difficult.

I guess that is why, through the millennia, it has not taken a rocket scientist to determine that the best thing for a kid is to have a mom and a dad, and, dare I say, a couple of siblings to get him or her started on the path of a happy, normal, human life.

NOT THAT THERE IS ANYTHING WRONG WITH BEING HOMOSEXUAL.

We are what we are. I have gay friends and relatives and acquaintances. They are all good people (otherwise I would ditch them). But the institution of Marriage is there for a reason. My Christian faith sanctifies that institution for a reason. Religions and cultures, through the centuries, have encouraged the institution of Marriage -- the swearing of one man to one woman -- for a reason. I believe that. I believe that there is that wise and age-tested reason out there that we would be idiotic (from a purely secular mindset) to ignor.

Mom, Dad, Buddy & Sis. It's a good thing. I know, it's corny; it's all retro-50s. But it is really important to extrapolate backwards, now and then, instead of always projecting forwards into counter-cultural theory that may or may not be wise.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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