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Phil Greenspun's Analytical Take on Why There Should Be Gay Marriage
Old 05-06-2015, 12:19 PM   #1
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Phil Greenspun's Analytical Take on Why There Should Be Gay Marriage

Philip Greenspun's Weblog » In support of same-sex marriage

"The supposed financial advantages of getting and staying married presented by same-sex marriage proponents are, at best, slight. For most Americans the potential estate tax savings are irrelevant (people with less than $5 million in assets don’t pay estate tax; people with substantially more than $5 million in assets typically come up with a workaround). For American couples with a modern lifestyle, in which both partners have an income, the tax “savings” from a marriage are actually in a negative direction, particularly with the new Obamacare taxes (i.e., there is a marriage tax penalty). There are no significant financial advantages for two working Americans who stay together. Compared to the informal partnership alternative, civil marriage offers one partner enormous financial advantages only if one partner decides to cash the partnership in.
The principal financial advantage of civil marriage is that, properly structured and planned, an American adult can become a dependent on another American adult without that person’s continuing consent. Here’s an except from the Introduction:
“When young people ask me about the law as a career,” said one litigator, “I tell them that in this country whom they choose to have sex with and where they have sex will have a bigger effect on their income than whether they attend college and what they choose as a career.”
Consider Jennifer, an Indiana or Wisconsin resident with $2 million in premarital savings. “Pat” can marry Jennifer on a Sunday morning, sue her for divorce on a Monday morning, and be presumptively entitled to $1 million. “Pat” can repeat this every time that cash runs short and the profits are limited only by the wealth of the targets of these short-term marriages.
Consider Fiona, a Florida resident with a $400,000 per year income. “Chris” can marry Fiona for a short time, get a psychologist to certify that “Chris” is disabled, and then collect “permanent alimony,” remaining Fiona’s dependent for the rest of their respective lives. “Chris” can subsequently get together with a love interest and possibly benefit from that person’s income as well (and/or use Fiona’s wages to support the new lover).
Short-term marriages to Jennifer and Fiona are financial opportunities much better than what is available in the U.S. labor market. How can it be fair that whether or Pat and Chris have access to these financial opportunities depends on their sex? What would it mean for our society to present “equal opportunity” if not equal financial opportunity?

There is much more from this agile mind.

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Old 05-06-2015, 12:44 PM   #2
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That basically reads as "let gays marry so they can be as miserable as everyone else."
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Old 05-06-2015, 12:49 PM   #3
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I'm never getting married...
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Old 05-06-2015, 01:09 PM   #4
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He convinced me too, though I was not hard to convince.
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Old 05-06-2015, 01:24 PM   #5
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I'm curious about the emphasis on gay marriage (vs hetero marriage). What the article points out is that different states have different laws regarding marital and pre-marital assets on dissolution of the marriage. Doesn't matter if it's a man and man, man and a woman, or woman and a woman. Divorce and the state are the only factors.

I took a "Women and the Law" class in college. IIRC, in Mississipi, only a few decades ago, a woman could own a house free and clear in her own name. She gets married, then divorced, and the ex-husband now owns the house. Talk about messed up.

The key to all of this.... Marry a good person who isn't going to cheat on you or make you go broke... and don't mess it up and get divorced. Choose wisely and stick with it.

No need to bring the genders of the married parties into it.
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Old 05-06-2015, 01:34 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rodi View Post
... No need to bring the genders of the married parties into it.
Or as my close friend, an avid libertarian, often says, structure the law so that marriage has no bearings on financial matters such as inheritance, taxes, or benefits.

I don't think my friend has figured out how this can be done in practice, but it's another valid viewpoint.
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Old 05-07-2015, 04:49 AM   #7
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I always thought that the attempts to change the definition of marriage would open up other tax dodges. Say a rich widower or widower marries his son or daughter to get the spousal exemption of the estate? " After all, it's only a piece of paper."
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Old 05-07-2015, 07:29 AM   #8
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This thread has run its course.....

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