Gay Politics

Why are married people being financially rewarded?

Jonno and Sturtle have been discussing my “anti-gay-marriage” piece.

“I understand what he’s trying to say: historically, marriage has been a sort of institutionalized inequity, so if queer politics are about reshaping norms and ideas of what’s acceptable and getting rid of social inequity, why adopt marriage as one of the planks in our platform? Unfortunately, that sort of philosophy falls on some very hard rocks in the face of legalities that prevent g/l/b/t partners from securing inheritances, visitation rights, and countless other benefits that legally joined partners enjoy (except, of course, in the great state of Vermont).” [Sturtle]

This misses my point, to an extent. I was arguing that we deserved the right to marriage, even if we didn’t take it up, but that if we were going to have “legally sanctioned relationships” at all (which I would rather we didn’t), they should be considerably more diverse. To make a further point: rather than bemoaning equal access to the financial advantages of hetersexual marriage, perhaps we should be removing those advantages and spreading the financial awards between all of us.

This point is particularly relevant for Jonno‘s comments:

“I would’ve agreed with a lot more of what Tom had to say about gay marriage (and the article he quotes at length) before I had a mortgage to deal with and started resenting the fact that Richard and I pay considerably more taxes than a het couple would in our situation.”

But that’s exactly the point, isn’t it? They have chosen to operate in a similar relationship to marriage (even though they have also chosen to ignore aspects of the heterosexual equivalent) and now think it is unfair that they cannot reap the material rewards that go along with it. I’m more interested in why they are not concerned about the unfairness of people who have not chosen to occupy such a relationship helping to subsidy the lives of married straights! And in this I am asking EVERY single person, whether they be straight or gay, promiscuous or monogamous, serially monogamous etc. etc. etc. Why are married people being financially rewarded?