Friday, May 27, 2005

Award for the Most Creative Complaint About Same-Sex Marriage

Award for the Most Creative Complaint About Same-Sex Marriage

Jesse at Pandagon effectively attacks a ridiculous article by someone named David R. Usher claiming that same-sex marriage is a feminist plot designed to snatch control of children away from men, while somehow forcing the men to pay for it.

I think this is my favorite quote from the article:
In terms of economics, same-sex marriage creates three unequal classes of marriages. Marriages by two women have six sources of income -- the incomes of two women, two sets of child support (with hidden alimony), and two sets of welfare entitlements. Heterosexual marriages only have two incomes. Marriages between two men are likely to be paying child support and hidden alimony.
Um, OK. Somehow I have been terribly cheated. My lesbian relationship has exactly ONE income -- mine. Granted, we have no children, so I guess we don't fit into his odd little world.

Some good friends of ours, however, do have two children they adopted. The biological fathers of those children do not pay any child support or "hidden alimony", seeing as they signed away their parental rights when the children were born. That couple also has ONE income, since one of the women stays home to take care of the kids.

At any rate, this one is so strange that it seems almost silly to respond to it. Jesse summed it up pretty well with this comment:
In a society where gay men were allowed to marry other men rather than duck into straight marriages in order to seem "normal", why would they be paying child support or "hidden" alimony? I hate to be the one to break this out, but when you don't stick your sperm rod into someone's baby hole, it's really hard to think of any outcome which would result in you paying child support. In much the same way, a lesbian who legally obtains donor sperm (which negates any right the donor has to a legal claim of parenthood for the child) cannot actually get child support or alimony from anyone.
Exactly. There are of course cases in which the sperm doner is some the couple knows and he might have some sort of parenting role, but in that case it is usually a mutually-agreed on arrangement.

Regarding the odd comments on welfare, Jesse also points out that this notion that heterosexual married families can't get welfare is also false. I don't have any direct experience in with the welfare issue myself. Somewhere around my house (probably packed up in a box in the garage) I have an old copy of A Legal Guide For Lesbian & Gay Couples. I recall reading a discussion of legal issues if you were living with a welfare recipient, and it made it pretty clear that the income of an "unrelated adult female" living in the house certainly could be considered when calculating welfare benefits. Women don't get welfare because they are women. They get welfare based on their income (or lack therof).

Furthermore, by his own definitions here, a heterosexual marriage could have extra income as well...if a divorced woman with children remarries, the father of her children is still going to be paying child support. So this hypothetical family will have three sources of income, plus possibly welfare as well.

Mr. Usher also makes this interesting observation:
Marriages involving two women have full parental rights and control of children by presumption of women’s sexual birth function. Heterosexual marriages also have full parental rights and control of children. Marriages involving two men are unlikely to have children. When they do, the men are unlikely to have any substantive parental rights, if any at all.
It is touching that Mr. Usher is so concerned about the legal protection for the children of gay male couples. Oddly enough, adoption laws exist to ensure that parents have parental rights for their children, and these laws can work just fine for all sorts of families, provided the religious right doesn't succeed in stripping them away.

Although I don't know for certain, I suspect Trey and his partner (see Daddy, Papa, and Me) both have legal rights to their adorable daughter Emma. If anything, same sex marriage would increase the legal protection of their family, not distract from it.

Like I said, I feel somewhat silly taking the time to respond to this one. Alas, I could not help myself.

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