March 02, 2004

Renewed Marriage Assault: The Single Strike Back

In an illustration of how other groups against the privileged marriage position of heterosexual monogamy will try to latch on to any success in legalizing gay marriage, the single have ramped up their longstanding criticisms of marriage.

The criticism of singles of the privileges of the married are of long standing. The marriage penalty in the tax code, for example, is the legacy of a previous generation's assault on the 'pro-marriage unfairness' of the original US tax code. The original 'marriage bonus' allowed a single earner two parent family to greatly reduce their tax liability vis a vis a single household. When two income families became more the norm, the tax code became unfair for the married and it took decades for elimination of the marriage penalty to be put into law.

The problem of preference of the married over the unmarried is one that needs to be addressed in any discussion of civil marriage. What are those that are privileged contributing that makes the preferential treatment deserved? The same arguments that gay marriage advocates are busy trying to discredit are the ones used in justifying the privilege over the single in the first place. Yet I haven't seen any gay marriage advocates seriously address how they are superior to single people and why they should be privileged in law over them.

If the conservative vision of gay marriage that Andrew Sullivan trumpets is to have any meaning whatsoever, gay marriage advocates have to come up with some way to defend the new dividing line that they advocate. Otherwise they are just a useful stalking horse for the ultimate elimination of marriage by covert and dishonest means.

We can have a discussion over whether marriage should even exist as a civil act or not. But it should be an explicit, honest discussion and adjust social policy in a holistic way that doesn't wreck numerous aspects of government policy by accident.

Posted by TMLutas at March 2, 2004 03:21 PM