Out of the Closet

By Beacon Staff

Now that President Barack Obama is out of the closet on gay marriage, I may as well come out, too: I oppose gay marriage or civil unions. Sorry, but that’s the way it is.

Oh, my upbringing was plenty “diverse.” My New York family almost all worked in show business, specifically Broadway, and our social circle was full of what my ever-proper Jewish grandmother privately called “poofters.” But they ate at her table on Sundays, treated as family. I had lots of really cool uncles and aunties.

Then there was my San Francisco “phase,” the nadir of which was a night on the town with some gay friends. We’d agreed beforehand to stay out of the blatantly gay bars. I figured there would be less competition for the ladies. Well – I figured wrong, at least in terms of who was competing for whom.

In my view, “gay” is not a disease, sin, illness, preference or even a “choice” – moral or otherwise. Gays and lesbians are hardwired to be who they are, period, a fact that needs to be respected. Therefore, I’ve made a special effort to “tolerate” the whole LGBTQ rainbow rigmarole.

But I guess there needs to be more respect for the fact that I and billions of others in straight society are wired just as hard the other way. We won’t block the pride parade. But please, don’t make us watch, join, or pay for it.

First of all, it’s no accident that over thousands of years, marriage has evolved into a big deal with certain expectations in all human societies. Almost all warm-blooded animals, feathers or fur, have a family or pack structure similar to humans, structures formed not at random, but because they function as needed – using a male and a female.

It’s no accident that humans refined and formalized “packs” into “family,” marriage, religious rituals, and even tax breaks as government grew in influence – consensually building a system to ensure the next generation gets a good start.

But is gay or lesbian marriage truly equivalent to straight marriage? Historically and biologically, it isn’t. Passing a law won’t magically make it so – at least not where it most matters, in hearts and minds.

Is “marriage” truly needed for domestic partnerships to work? No. Many straight partnerships work just fine without a license. Plenty of well-adjusted same-sex “families” have successfully launched their children into life – a marriage license won’t make or break such partnerships.

Furthermore, same-sex partnerships, with or without children involved, can be strengthened and stabilized by legal commitments or contracts concerning property and custody. Guardianships can be assigned, including medical guardianships.

So, what might the point be regarding “gay marriage?”

Keep in mind that the public sector was the first to implement equal opportunity in employment, regardless of race, creed, gender and orientation, followed by the private sector – a good thing. Government employment also usually presents better health and retirement benefits than the private sector – which is OK as long as taxpayers can afford to support those benefits.

So the “practical” partner gets a fine government job while the artist partner goes on being an artist. Or both get government jobs with pensions and benefits? Everyone’s happy, right? Not quite.

Married partners routinely enjoy spousal/survivorship rights to benefits when offered by either private or public employers. Others, meaning same-sex partners, generally do not.

Legalization of gay marriage would apply marriage entitlements now reserved for straight married couples to all “marriages.” That might be fine for same-sex partners, but not so great for straight families. In fact, it might not be good for either.

What if private employers, unable to coerce customers or print money, respond to such an expansion requirement by ending not only existing spousal benefits, but family benefits and even employee benefits?

As for government employers, they’ll simply pass the added cost to already-overloaded taxpayers, as usual.

So pardon me – I guess I just don’t have much tolerance for being forcibly taxed on behalf of a diversity I don’t want to celebrate.

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