Wherein Quartz has a bit of an epiphany on same-sex marriage.

And proposes the concept of a solution which helps out with some other issues too.

First off, this is a bit of a broad brush: nitpickers can assume that trivial and minor issues are squared away by clever civil servants.

Same sex marriage is a perrenial subject here, one fraught with many difficulties - what if two straight people of the same sex marry? What about inheritance? And so on.

(Just to expand on two straight people of the same sex entering a formal relationship, consider the examples of two batchelors living together, like Holmes and Watson. Or two old war comrades. Or two brothers. Or two spinsters. Or…)

But I contend that these are all side issues, reflextions of the main issues: tax and tax allowances. How can you be fair to same-sex marriages while retaining advantages for other-sex marriages and promoting family values, so you don’t get voted out at the next election? I contend that the answer lies in tax. First off, we seperate marriage from partnership - after all, the partners making up the partnership of a law firm aren’t married to each other, are they? So marriage becomes a religious concept for those who so believe, and we have a legal concept of a monogamous partnership (sorry, Mormons and Muslims, that’s a seperate battle) restricted to next-of-kin status etc.

Now, the key to what we do is permit tax allowances to be transferred one generation up as long as all are on the same property, or down any number of generations to a minor as long as all are on the same property.

In a typical family, we have parents, children, and grandparents. By parent I mean the legal parent (or guardian), not necessarily the biological parent. Currently, it’s quite expensive to have a grandparent in the home, despite the help they can provide with children, because parents can’t make use of their tax allowances. Equally, parents may be looking after a grown-up child or grandparent who has become incapacitated. So we’re making it fancially easier for people to care for family members, thus reducing the strain on Social Services / Welfare and promoting the family to boot.

So consider the canonical family of a working man, non-working woman, their two children, and one grandparent in an annexe. The woman can transfer her allowance to the children, as can the grandparent, who can transfer their allowances, plus their mother’s and their grandparent’s, to the man. The family’s tax allowances are therefore concentrated in the hands of the breadwinner. Now consider the case of two people in a partnership, no matter the sex, with no children: they are no better or worse off financially than if they were not in a partnership, but still reap the other benefits and have the same responsibilities.Consider now the modern canonical dysfunctional family: a working man and a non-working or low-wage woman in partnership, several children of the woman by different men where the working man is not her legal partner. The woman can get the allowances from her children but the working man - and thus the family as a whole - cannot benefit because he is not the legal partner of the woman and thus not the legal guardian of the children and so much of the allowance is lost. So there is considerable financial encouragement to enter a formal relationship, thus enhancing family stability. This also encourages women who were in highly paid work to take time off to have children because their full allowances are put to good use. Again, consider a same-sex couple who have adopted two children: they are in almost the same situation as the first family (no grandparent). Now, the perspicacious will spot that a couple with children will benefit identically financially whether they’re partners or not. This is indeed the case, but the couple will not benefit from being legally considered partners.

Inheritance tax? You follow a similar rubric: instead of a person’s estate having a tax-free allowance, each inheritor (including the partner) has an allowance, and related inheritors can give other inheritors all or part of their allowances.

To me, this seems like a simple and elegant solution which not only squares the circle of same-sex marriage but promotes social harmony and welfare

Now, it hasn’t been done, so I’m obviously being hare-brained and missing something, but what?

One thing that you’re overlooking is that the reason so many people are resisting the idea of SSM is a largely irrational reaction to the idea of any sort of change to the institution of marriage at all. You’re not going to be able to overcome this reaction by proposing an even larger, more sweeping change to the institute of marriage.

The other thing you’re overlooking is that a significant number of people resisting the idea of SSM are doing it out of baseless hatred and blind prejudice towards homosexuals in general. Trying to suggest a fairer, more equitable solution isn’t going to change their mind, because the last thing they want is to be fair and equitable towards homos.

Really, the only way we’re going to get SSM in this country is to keep demanding exactly the same marriage rights as straights, emphasizing that we don’t want to change the institution, merely participate in it.

That, and wait for all the bigots to drop dead.

It’s going to take a long time.

Part of the reason this won’t be enacted is that the value of a tax exemption is much higher for a low income working person than a high income person. An extra exemption or two might keep a middle income (30 to 40 thousand) person from paying taxes at all, while providing very little incremental benefit for someone earning over $1,000,000.

Our tax policy lately is predicated on the assumption that giving tax breaks to high income people will result in increased savings and investment, while middle income folks will squander theirs on food and shelter.

Have you changed your opinion? I recall that when I advocated extending to gays the exact same rights that married heteros have, minus the word “marriage”, that was unacceptable to you.

Yeah, and those uppity negroes, how DARE they demand to drink from the same water fountains as whites, when they had their own!


No, not in the slightest.

In your opinion.

No, that’s a statement of fact.

Prove it.


Well gee I’m convinced :rolleyes:

But you claim the point is that you want the same marriage rights.

I’ve been thinking about this lately. And it seems that this “rights” argument is not completely honest. When you say you want certain rights and then someone says"okay, you have them", that should resolve the issue. That has lead me to believe that the rights argument is not completely honest and that these “rights” are not the true goal. It is a lever arm to use to get soemthing else. But I’m not sure what that something else is.

What is it, precisely, that you want?

I don’t think he can prove his claim, but I guess it is somewhat true. We can quibble about what constitutes a “significant number”, but I think it is safe to say that there are many who feel the way he claimed.

Yeah… I’m not seeing where you’re going with this…

Sure. And I’m arguing for the right to be married. Are you saying you’re supporting gay marriage now? Great, the issue is resolved.

Equality, of course.

Glad to be of service!

Yah, his only case was to quantify “significant” which is not easily done. His statement implies that anyone who disagree’s with ssm hates homosexuals. I have not found that to be the case and I’ve discussed it with many people for many years.

As I’ve said before, there isn’t much in the way of loving, accepting ways to say “your relationship is inferior to my own and should not have equal status in law.” I’m sure many people who are opposed to SSM would say they don’t hate gay people, but that and $2.50 will get you a chai latte.

Aside from that interpretation being ridiculous on a literal reading of that sentence, you’re conveniently ignoring the preceding sentence where I laid out an entirely different (although no less defensible) reason people are opposed to SSM.

I’ve never once heard someone use the word “inferior” in a sentence regarding ssm.

Well, gee, I’m convinced.

I don’t know how else to interpret their refusal to acknowledge the equality of same-sex relationships and permit such relationships to enjoy the same status under law other than as a statement that those relationships are inferior.