President Obama caused a bit of a kerfuffle yesterday when he officially came out in support of same sex marriage. I, like most rational people, fall solidly into the "Who gives a shit?" camp when it comes to gay marriage. I also believe that eventually enough of the old bigots and fundamentalists will die and that same sex marriage is a legal inevitability in the US within a couple generations.
So, just for the record, I think legally binding yourself to another human being is a bad idea regardless of gender. Marriage, gay or otherwise, is a bad idea, period. In other words, I don't have a dog in this fight and if I did I would probably take it out back and shoot it for being tiresome. That said, I've often wondered if there were a good, rational reason to forbid same sex marriage and it turns out there probably isn't, but the following is about as close as you're going to get. The argument goes something like this:
You can't allow gays to marry in the United States because it will cost the country too much in lost tax revenue.
Fuh...what? Bear with me.
Legalizing same sex marriage creates a massive tax loophole. The following line of reasoning is somewhat spurious, but don't be surprised if you start hearing it as same sex marriage draws closer to reality.
We have something in the 14th Amendment called the "Equal Protection Clause". In a nutshell, it says we all have to be treated equally. It's a nice idea, seems a mite difficult in practice, but it's in there. So if gays are allowed to marry, a bevy of other special interest groups will demand (and rightly so) the right to do so as well.
The first group often cited in this argument are the polygamists (of course that's bigot code for the Mormons). If the gays are allowed to marry, the polygamists are going to come out of the woodwork demanding multiple marriages and the legal recognition of such.
Well, then if the gays can do it and now the polygamists are allowed to marry more than one person, why can't I marry my dog? (the argument loses a lot of its nuance if you don't throw in a ridiculous dog marriage reference) Under equal protection, if everyone is allowed to marry anyone - and as many anyones at one time as they prefer - why can't I marry my dog? Why can't I marry my neighbor's alpaca? Hell, why can't I marry my mom?
Wait...what was that last one?
That's right. Why can't I marry my mom (or dad)? And that's where the argument gets real. Truly disgusting implications aside, if I marry my parent I become my parent's spouse. And spousal inheritance is not a taxable event.
You see what I did there?
This might be the cleverest way to sidestep the estate tax ever devised. Because they can't un-ring this bell. Once gay marriage is legalized, it opens the Equal Protection floodgates, where the only logical end is a back-door abolishment of the estate tax. And we can't afford to let that happen.
And that my friends, is the argument against same sex marriage. Like everything else, it all comes down to money.
Now I realize this is an emotionally charged issue and I'm not looking to start any flamewars in the comments, so do me a favor and keep it civil. But do you think this argument holds any water?
More to the point, I'd like to get a headcount of young people on Wall Street who actually give a shit about this issue. Do you guys even care? If any of you truly believe that it'll bring about the end of modern civilization, I'd love to hear your reasoning. Does this issue even matter to young people?