Gays in . I’m very happy for them and the many others who’ve supported this cause. How momentous a political accomplishment this is, is made clear if one thinks of the hateful resistance gays have experienced in just my own short lifetime.
I, for one, don’t buy into the hocus pocus reasoning suggesting that either my own marriage or the marriages of others will somehow be weakened if gays are allowed to term their partnerships, either officially or unofficially, “marriages.” Arguments claiming that the nation’s fabric is weakened by giving gay partners tax breaks, or allowing gay partners the hospital visitation rights that straight couples enjoy are nonsense. Such arguments are based in nothing more than dislike.
Still, I think the gay marriage issue is a red herring. At the moment we are in the midst of what the media has dubbed the “Great Recession.” According to a recent piece in Reuters (Chrystia Freeland, June 10), the number of unemployed in the U.S. falls just short of the combined populations of Greece and Ireland. U.S. News (Zuckerman, June 20) recently reported that every job created in the U.S. since 2000 has been lost. Wall Street wealth continues to grow unabated, however. As such, the rich aren’t feeling the recession experienced by millions of others. That piece from Reuters explains that the upper class in the U.S. is showing signs of being able to enjoy growth of wealth in our global marketplace while the rest of our country suffers. The rich and the rest have been decoupled.
In 2009 CBS reported there were 237 millionaires in Congress; that’s nearly half of Congress. I doubt that proportion was reduced any when the GOP took control. If the fates of the rich are separated from those of the middle and lower classes, and yet the rich so disproportionately represent us, can they possibly understand (let alone prioritize) what we are experiencing? Speculate about that disconnect all you want. In my opinion, the proof is in the pudding. What’s being done to correct the situation? What’s being done to stem home foreclosures? What’s being done to improve education? Improve infrastructure? Increase the permeability of the upper class? Conservatives are doing what they are expected to do – they are trying to shred our safety net when people need it most (e.g., GOP proposal to replace Medicare with vouchers). Liberals? Gay marriage.
While I’m happy for those who view New York’s sanctioning of gay marriage as a civil rights accomplishment, I’m of the mind that the government doesn’t belong in bedrooms. Until I see evidence indicating that marriages are made stronger by tax incentives, I’m going to remain skeptical about the claim that anything is accomplished by having the government play any role in the institution of marriage. Until then, I read the gay marriage issue as a red herring. In the midst of a recession Republicans are cutting spending, pensions, and collective bargaining rights (among other things). Democratic push-back has come in the form of gay marriage initiatives, ostensibly to continue burnishing liberal credentials while failing to address the most pressing matters of the day: the economy and jobs.