When you declare yourself a free state that ensures equal rights under the law to all persons within your society, you enter some perilous waters.
Why? Because you have to give the same rights to all members of your society. No kidding, eh? You'd be surprised how many people still don't get it.
For example, I participated in an online poll on a famous internet society website concerning whether same-sex marriage should be legalized. I, of course, voted yes, and added the comment "Either do that or take away all of the legal benefits of heterosexual marriages."
It wasn't long at all before I received a message stating "Why would you do that?"
Again, I don't see this as difficult to figure out, but I'll state my reasoning just the same.
Marriage is a legal contract between two people that ensures right of transfer of property and responsibility over the well being of family member, among other things. There is no legal reason to deny this right to anyone. The only reason at all to deny this equality can only be rooted in philosophy, and in the case of our nation, religious philosophy. Even though I discussed this some time ago, the issue, to no surprise, is still dominating our every day lives.
I have no argument against anyone citing philosophy to deny someone any right whatsoever. That's the whole point of having free thought and free expression in a free society.
What I can't stand is a person or a group of people justifying legal discrimination in our society. That is not what our society claims to represent, yet people within our society wish it. That is what this entire issue concerns.
Let me restate. There is no legal reason to deny the right of marriage to anyone. No reason.
People who are married only gain legal and secular benefits. According to the Office of the General Counsel of the United States General Accounting Office, there are 1,138 benefits given legally married couples by the United States government. 1,138!
These include, but are in no way limited to, Social Security survivor benefits, spousal survivor benefits, employee survivors benefits, general retirement benefits, pension benefits, immigration rights, bereavement leave, medical power of attorney, tax benefits, insurance breaks and benefits, visitation rights (in hospital and of child), veteran's benefits (discounts and access), etc.
States also offer benefits such as joint bank accounts, divorce protection, tax exemptions on partner death, property rights, bankruptcy rights, adoption rights, etc.
There is no sacred benefit to being married whatsoever.
Marriage is not performed by a religious organization. It hasn't been handled by the church for hundreds upon hundreds of years.
Ministers of religion must petition the state for the right to place couples into the marriage contract. The state does not petition the clergy. End of argument. There is no if, and, but, or, or anything. End of argument.
The naysayers stand up and scream "What will they do now? Legalize marriage to your dog?" That is not only ridiculous but also proves how much of an uncaring, arrogant, selfish idiot the person saying it truly is. You're equating another human being to a dog? Do you realize what you just said?
I also hate it when people say that the discrimination should stay in effect because it is simply that, a religious rule. "Though shalt not murder is a commandment," they claim, "and it's law. Marriage being between a man and a woman should be the same."
At the risk of sounding really agitated, I just need to say, the ignorance of people astounds me. It seems to never end.
Murdering someone infringes on their personal rights. Giving someone else the secular benefit you get when you marry isn't infringing on anyone's rights... that is... unless you say giving someone something you have access to is infringing on your rights.... which leads to.... you thinking you deserve something they do not.... which leads to... you think you're superior.
Murder is illegal across the board. There is no cast in our society that is given the right to murder. Murder is an all-or-nothing concept. Marital benefits should be the same. All-or-nothing.
So give this right to those seeking same-sex marriage. Or take it away from heterosexual marriages. I prefer that they take it away. Maybe then people will understand what they've lost. Maybe then they'll understand what they've been keeping from their fellow human beings all this time.