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Author Topic: Gay Marriage: Inciting a backlash, or dragging along too slowly?  (Read 655560 times)

Offline Parenthetical Greg

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Re: Gay Marriage -- Is the time ripe for change?
« Reply #60 on: January 26, 2006, 07:06:08 PM »
Gosh, Greg.

From your picture, you seem really young.  I hope that it happens in your lifetime.  But given how you have laid things out so well, I can see where it will take a long time.  For my partner and I, it's about getting some federal tax benefits.

Curtis

Curtis, darling, I am young. I just happened to have lived roughly half my life already.

As you've probably gathered, I follow the blow-by-blow in all things Constitutional+gay marriage with an almost Brokeback-like obsession.

The good news is that most of the federal-recognition issues will probably fall long before the Supreme Court mandates same-sex marriage nationwide. The question of federal benefits raises distinct issues, both political and Constitutional. You may not get married in Kansas anytime soon, but you may get some tax relief much sooner.

(I concede that I shouldn't pick on Kansas any more than I should pick on Alberta. It's just a cliche, and I'll gladly apologize to any good-natured Kansan, of which there are many, who might be offended.)

Offline Parenthetical Greg

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Re: Gay Marriage -- Is the time ripe for change?
« Reply #61 on: January 26, 2006, 07:18:50 PM »
Like? When it comes to taxes, married people get the shaft. Although buying a home and other various tax deductiuons and credits can yield a tax benefit that could be shared.

As someone who's been in relationships with highly disparate incomes, I find little comfort in what happens to most married people. I want the same treatment, whether favorable in one circumstance or not.

Relative incomes aside, there are many other substantial penalties. To cite just one example from my own life, I supported my ex in the same way that many other folks in a serious relationship do/did. We would have married (and presumably later divorced . . . ouch!) at the time, were that possible. It wasn't, so we did what we could to carve out as much protection for our relationship as we could.

That included me putting my ex on my employer's health insurance (he had none). My employer made that option available to all employees (no matter where in the U.S. they lived) and on the same terms as any other married couple (which was impressive more than 15 years ago). Unfortunately, federal tax law wasn't as egalitarian. Not only were the premiums I paid not deductible for federal tax purposes, I had to recognize thousands of dollars each year in imputed income. That excess income was based on the purported value of my employer’s contribution to the insurance (and grossly overstated). The tax man picked my pocket to the tune of four digits every year.

The justification? Because of surplus of penises in my bedroom. That crap is just wrong. We need to make healthcare more affordable, not less. My employer did its part. I expect the feds to do the same.

I’m hopeful that you’ve never been in situation where you built a life together with someone and had that partner die. The tax man (among numerous others) ain’t your friend in that situation either.

I realize you’re not the one holding up the train. Whatever anger you divine from this posting (surely it's bubbling to the surface) is squarely directed at the responsible body politic.  Not you.

Offline pylon101

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Re: Gay Marriage -- Is the time ripe for change?
« Reply #62 on: January 27, 2006, 01:21:54 AM »
Thanks, Greg! You do sound knowledgeable in these matters.

I lived in D.C. area for 3 years in 1995-1997. Since then I used to read "Washington Post" on daily basis. So I have been following state by state developments.
But thanks again for putting all the pieces together.

Though overall legal aspects of the situation were even worse than I expected. Well, if Alito approved - which appears to unavoidable at this point - it might be even better that the Supreme Court will not take some groundbreaking breathtaking case in the nearest future.

I am an optimist. I believe that political and ideological situation will be changing faster. You kind of "freezed" and "zoomed" the things as of today. But all the developments - taken together: the war, GOP related scandals, November '06 elections - may change the pace.

Anyway. I entertain hope that we (as far as I am 40 too) will be still functional to change our status from "single" to ....whatever... not single.

Thanks again.
Nick
Moscow, Russia /
Alexandria, VA

Offline Parenthetical Greg

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Re: Gay Marriage -- Is the time ripe for change?
« Reply #63 on: January 27, 2006, 10:00:15 AM »
Though overall legal aspects of the situation were even worse than I expected. Well, if Alito approved - which appears to unavoidable at this point - it might be even better that the Supreme Court will not take some groundbreaking breathtaking case in the nearest future.
As you obviously know well, the U.S. Supreme Court changes very slowly. These days we tend to see nominees in their 40s or maybe early 50s, so sitting for at least two decades. And, it's safe to assume that Alito will be on the court before long.

Presumably, Justice Stevens will be the next one to go (he turns 86 this year). Thankfully, he’s in excellent health (and apparently still plays a mean game of tennis). He’s also stubborn enough that he’d sooner die on the bench than retire from it while the current strain of conservatives control his replacement.

Ginsburg shows little interest in retiring, but she’s had some significant health woes along the way (she’s in her early 70s). I wouldn’t expect any other retirements in the near future.

At best, replacing either of these justices would be a net nothing for the court. They are moderates/centrists for the most part, and I can’t really picture a “liberal” justice making it to the court in the next three to six years (presumptive timeframe for the next retirement or two). Of course, their replacements could be much more conservative depending on how things pan out in the national elections in 2006 and 2008.

Quote
I am an optimist. I believe that political and ideological situation will be changing faster.
I’m optimistic too, if perhaps not a full-fledged optimist.

Obviously, I don’t see much progress at the U.S. Supreme Court soon, and only the most modest progress in Congress (whenever the political pendulum swings the other direction, as it surely will).

The states, however, are quite promising. I’d expect to see same-sex marriage in about five states before Bush’s successor’s term is over. Perhaps even sooner. 

I hesitate to predict much beyond that with any sort of precision. If history is a guide, we’d then begin a slow battle of attrition for a couple of decades. But, things are moving very quickly on social issues. Perhaps the momentum will carry us to the Promised Land sooner.

Offline pylon101

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Re: Gay Marriage -- Is the time ripe for change?
« Reply #64 on: January 27, 2006, 11:23:37 AM »
Well, you covered most issues I was interested in. Thank you.

Just a comment: legalized marriages/full scale civil unions will not turn landscape around you or me into Promised Land. It all within our selves.

But it would certainly help!!!
Nick
Moscow, Russia /
Alexandria, VA

Offline Parenthetical Greg

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Re: Gay Marriage -- Is the time ripe for change?
« Reply #65 on: January 27, 2006, 11:44:54 AM »
legalized marriages/full scale civil unions will not turn landscape around you or me into Promised Land. It all within our selves.

But it would certainly help!!!
It is indeed within ourselves. Bons mots, mon ami.

Check back here from time to time, I'll update on any progress (I'm already behind on mentioning a recent Maryland lower court ruling, but I'll get there).

Offline exlogcabin

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Re: Gay Marriage -- Is the time ripe for change?
« Reply #66 on: January 27, 2006, 06:38:05 PM »
Hey Greg,

You would get along with my partner.  He was deputy director of the Gay and Lesbian's Legal Center for many years, working mostly on political asylum cases and running the free legal clinic.  (He now works at a foundation.)

Anyway, you point out the exact situation we are dealing with now: since I am a writer, my health coverage is covered by the WGA.  I am usually fine, but this year, I am short a little bit on my credits (I worked on an animated show that was non-union).  My coverage is set to expire in June unless I rack up X amounts of credits from now to Spring.  Given the nature of the biz, it will be hard to do so and I will probably be off health insurance then.  I checked in with his work and I can sign up for his policy, but that would be taxable income from the government on a federal level.  And believe me, it's a pretty noticable impact.

Exlogcabin (curtis)

Offline adamblast

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Re: Gay Marriage -- Is the time ripe for change?
« Reply #67 on: January 27, 2006, 08:01:29 PM »
It looks bad for the supreme court, yes, for the next 10 years at least, so is the time ripe for a change?  Short answer: I guess not, damn it.  But if one state can turn to five in the next president's term--and I think that's a wonderful goal--then there'd be plenty of reason for hope.

Offline Parenthetical Greg

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Re: Gay Marriage -- Is the time ripe for change?
« Reply #68 on: January 27, 2006, 09:13:29 PM »
Hey Greg,

You would get along with my partner.  He was deputy director of the Gay and Lesbian's Legal Center for many years, working mostly on political asylum cases and running the free legal clinic.  (He now works at a foundation.)

Curtis, get that charming devil over here! Sooner or later, we may have to start talking about something other than Brokeback Mountain.

(Am I inviting a flame war? Mind you, I'm not finished talking about BBM yet; someday I pretty sure I'll have to venture out into something else.)

Quote from: exlogcabin
Anyway, you point out the exact situation we are dealing with now: since I am a writer, my health coverage is covered by the WGA.  I am usually fine, but this year, I am short a little bit on my credits (I worked on an animated show that was non-union).  My coverage is set to expire in June unless I rack up X amounts of credits from now to Spring.  Given the nature of the biz, it will be hard to do so and I will probably be off health insurance then.  I checked in with his work and I can sign up for his policy, but that would be taxable income from the government on a federal level.  And believe me, it's a pretty noticable impact.

I've got a whopping six months left on my current COBRA coverage. Please don't remind me that I need to start doing something about that. I'm (sort of) ready to start talking about other things, but not that painful reality.  ???

Offline exlogcabin

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Re: Gay Marriage -- Is the time ripe for change?
« Reply #69 on: January 29, 2006, 01:10:12 AM »
Before BBM, I would spend all my time on sites like Daily Kos and Americablog.  But now, my webtime is taken up with this site and Towleroad and other gay sites.  I wonder what will happen as the movie continues to steamroll.  Of course with the midterm elections coming up, I assume I'll get back into that groove!  Maybe we'll bump into you at some political rally!

Offline michaelflanagansf

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Re: Gay Marriage -- Is the time ripe for change?
« Reply #70 on: February 01, 2006, 09:35:13 PM »
Here's an interesting analysis of the potential for the free-vote motion which may come before the Canadian Parliament:

http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/Canada/2006/01/26/1413274-cp.html
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Offline Parenthetical Greg

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Re: Gay Marriage -- Is the time ripe for change?
« Reply #71 on: February 02, 2006, 09:38:54 AM »
Interesting article on the Canadian possibilities, though still scant in the details.

I’m left wondering, should there be a free vote on whether to pursue legislation to resurrect the heterosexual definition of civil marriage how many Tory MPs might vote it down? You don’t have to be keen on same-sex marriage to want to leave this divisive issue buried in the past. And ultimately passing such legislation as it’s currently conceived would be pointless waste of time in the courts.

Would the Liberals stick to a party line even if their leadership again permitted a free vote? That’s probably unlikely given the friction within the party on this question, but as an expression that Harper’s bile is less than welcome I suppose it could happen.

I can envision a few (overly optimistic) scenarios where the motion’s defeat wouldn’t be as close as most folks estimate. Do any of neighbors have any insight on the political mood?

lynn

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Re: Gay Marriage -- Is the time ripe for change?
« Reply #72 on: February 12, 2006, 12:46:47 PM »
From today's Philadelphia Inquirer:

http://www.philly.com/mld/inquirer/13848986.htm

New Jersey could become the second state to legalize gay marriage in a case that will reach the State Supreme Court this week, focusing debate in the battle that many advocates call the civil rights struggle of the 21st century.


Offline pylon101

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Re: Gay Marriage -- Is the time ripe for change?
« Reply #73 on: February 13, 2006, 03:43:59 AM »
Thanks for the link, Lynn.

Will be closing developments closely. Keeping fingers crossed.
Nick
Moscow, Russia /
Alexandria, VA

Offline Boris

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Re: Gay Marriage -- Is the time ripe for change?
« Reply #74 on: February 13, 2006, 03:50:40 AM »
I have lived in states and I also had work permit there. Two years ago I was offered another stint to work there. I turned it down. First: my spouse couldn't have come with me because USA does not recognize us a couple. Second: I chose to live in a country that really respects my rights and treats me as equal citizen. Unfortunately in my hopelessly European eyes that is not the case in USA.

On the other hand: I would settle for civil unions if they would provide equal protection and rights. The word marriage is too loaded in US (and in Europe) and as you have seen religious right knows how to use "marriage card" to destroy ALL advances made in gay civil rights. Eventually we will get marriage, and I think it should remain our goal. But before that it is more important to secure the rights and protections of gay relationships and families than the word "marriage".
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