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How gay marriage could help uninsured heterosexuals

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Classical_Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Apr-06-04 11:51 PM
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How gay marriage could help uninsured heterosexuals
..........The right wing's fear of a "slippery slope" suggests some ways that this eclectic array of statuses might move us in a progressive direction. Kurtz himself, citing Brigham Young University professor Alan Hawkins, sketches out what is to him a distasteful scenario:

Consider the plight of an underemployed and uninsured single mother in her early 30s who sees little real prospect of marriage (to a man) in her future. Suppose she has a good friend, also female and heterosexual, who is single and childless but employed with good spousal benefits. Sooner or later, friends like this are going to start contracting same-sex marriages of convenience. The single mom will get medical and governmental benefits, will share her friend's paycheck, and will gain an additional caretaker for the kids besides. Her friend will gain companionship and a family life. The marriage would obviously be sexually open. And if lightning struck and the right man came along for one of the women, they could always divorce and marry heterosexually.
In a narrow sense, the women and children in this arrangement would be better off. Yet the larger effects of such unions on the institution of marriage would be devastating. At a stroke, marriage would be severed not only from the complementarity of the sexes but also from its connection to romance and sexual exclusivity--and even from the hope of permanence

Gee. Sounds good. Then consider how such arrangements might benefit women, children and others even more substantially. What if there were a way to separate the tax advantages of joint household recognition, or the responsibilities of joint parenting, from the next-of-kin recognition so that such rights might go to a non-co-resident relative, a friend or a lover? And what if many benefits, such as health insurance, could be available to all without regard for household or partnership status? The moral conservative's nightmare vision of a flexible menu of options might become a route to progressive equality! That could happen--if all statuses could be opened to all without exclusions, allowing different kinds of households to fit state benefits to their changing needs; if no status conferred any invidious privilege or advantage over any other, or over none at all; and if material benefits such as health insurance were detached from partnership or household form altogether (federally guaranteed universal healthcare, for instance, would be far more democratic and egalitarian than health insurance as a partnership benefit). Meanwhile, the "sanctity" of traditional marriages could be retained and honored by religious groups and families, according to their own values and definitions............

http://www.thenation.com/doc.mhtml?i=20040315&c=2&s=dug...

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