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In Calculating the Economics of Gay Marriage, Michael Steele Forgot About Gay People

michaelsteelernc3

You don’t need a CPA to tell you get much the federal (and most states’) government is screwing you royally by refusing to recognize your same-sex union. Without the ability to declare your taxes with your partner, you’re losing an estimated $1,820 per year. It’s the Gay Tax, and it’s an easily ignored part of the whole marriage equation. But it shouldn’t be. Not with your 401(k) in the toilet, consumer confidence at an all time low, and your house being foreclosed upon. But, what’s this? Somebody is arguing that legalizing same-sex marriage would actually be economic drain?

Thanks to the Defense of Marriage Act, the federal government isn’t required to recognize any local or state mandate about the legality of your relationship. Which means you don’t get any of those protections and benefits straight folks do. Out goes shared health benefits; in comes double premiums. Our goes surviving pension plans; in comes extra financial burden. NPR points to one couple, Melba Abreu and Beatrice Hernandez, who’ve “been together for 32 years and have paid nearly $20,000 more in taxes since their 2004 marriage than if they had been able to file a joint federal return.” Incredible.

But then we have RNC chairman Michael Steele — who, we’re afraid, we listen to more than his own party — going after same-sex marriage not because of its morality, but because of finances. Well done, Steele! Everyone understands money! Or at least they think they do!

So what’s Steele’s argument? He’s ignoring the personal financial burden same-sex couples endure — even though Republicans are supposed to be about protecting personal wealth — and showing how legalizing same-sex marriage would damage small businesses.

How? By requiring them to, uh, pay for the health care benefits of our partners! Allow us to take leave when our partners are ill! You know, all of the things that we’re paying out of pocket because of the Gay Tax.

We don’t need to get into a debate about who should pay for health care (each citizen, employers, or the government), but if Steele and his cronies had a solution for actually keeping all of America health, this would be a non-issue, and he wouldn’t be able to make his argument. But they don’t have a solution. (And neither do the Dems, really.)

Despite his public gaffes, Steele isn’t so stupid that he’s unaware of how DOMA and unrecognized relationships hurt the average gay American. But he’s not concerned about the average gay American; his focus is on heterosexual conservatives who need another means to support hatred. And what better way than to wrap it in a nice stimulus package?

By:           editor editor
On:           May 18, 2009
Tagged: , , , ,

  • 35 Comments
    • timncguy
      timncguy

      everytime anyone makes this argument about how much it will “COST” to have marriage equality, all you need to do is suggest that if they are worried about “COSTS” they could save even more money by repealing these same benefits for straight couples.

      I mean if it is a financial drain to offer these benefits to gays, it follows that it is also a financial drain to offer the benefits to straight couples as well.

      May 18, 2009 at 5:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BrianZ
      BrianZ

      The Republican floundering is really amusing to watch. The flock still has not gotten the message that opposing gay marriage has moved from majority-chic to bat-shit crazy.

      Then again, Democrats aren’t standing up to say anything about it either. The silence in the face of such simple-minded bigotry is deafening …

      May 18, 2009 at 5:38 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Chris
      Chris

      Aren’t GOPers supposed to be for you keeping what you earn instead of giving it to the gov’t — isn’t that the “conservative” stance?

      May 18, 2009 at 5:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BrianZ
      BrianZ

      @Chris: Yes, old-school conservatism operates on the concept that taxation at the federal level should be minimal.

      The modern GOP is anything, and often everything, but conservative: It is a construct largely built on the back of “Contract with America” with significant bastardization by Rovian genius.

      As far as I understand it.

      May 18, 2009 at 5:50 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • alan brickman
      alan brickman

      obama, steele, many other black men…are getting on the hate gays bus to washington for sure!!

      May 18, 2009 at 6:37 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mark M
      Mark M

      You would also need to factor in what economic effect having relationships NOT legally recognized causes. While, so far, I haven’t needed the piece of paper for my partner and me to hang together, you have to wonder what the culture of disrespect for gay relationships (in general) has on the stability of gay couples. We know, statistically, that married people are more productive and are more risk-adverse (like driving fast, heavy partying, etc). Before you get your panties in a wad… I am not saying that your relationship is less stable than your crazy neighbors. I am saying that, statistically, we don’t enjoy the same coupled-rate…. and that STATISTICALLY, coupled people are less likely to leave the work force before their time. I think that the lack of government recognition is a strain on some gay couples.

      May 18, 2009 at 6:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dgz
      dgz

      @alan brickman:

      why oh why does someone always have to bring race into this? you’re not contributing anything to this discussion. now begone before someone drops a house on *you*!

      May 18, 2009 at 6:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GrrrlRomeo
      GrrrlRomeo

      I have been with my partner for 12 years. There is no doubt in my mind that we will be together regardless if we can get married. I don’t think marriage is for everyone, and I hope gay couples don’t rush out to do it unless it’s practical to.

      That said, I have supported my partner when she was unemployed and she has supported me. Through college she supported me. And when we’re old we’ll take care of each other. That’s how we save the government money. We depend on each other instead of the government. It is in society’s interest that people pair up and take care of each other.

      It costs us more money to stay together. Marriage is not about gay couples getting breaks. We EARNED it by taking care of each other.

      May 18, 2009 at 7:14 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael W.
      Michael W.

      Is the end of the sixth paragraph meant to imply that Democrats and Republicans are equally clueless as to how to enact universal health care for all Americans? If so that’s being lazy and woefully ignorant of the facts.

      May 18, 2009 at 7:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Frunced
      Frunced

      @GrrrlRomeo: How do we know if marriage is for us if we don’t have the option to get married in the first place? This is about having equal rights, like deciding on life-support and asset protection. Being there for each other out of sheer love and personal commitment is great, but if that were enough, marriage would not be a social contract for hetero-couples either. What happens if one’s relationship ends after years of building a life together? What if there are children involved? What if one dies and leaves the other with nothing?

      May 18, 2009 at 7:59 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Joanaroo
      Joanaroo

      Don’tcha love how the GOP pisses and moans about things that should be passed “costing so much” and “raising your taxes” when they added trillions to the national debt with their useless war and tax cuts for their richest 1% friends?

      May 18, 2009 at 10:36 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Dennis
      Dennis

      This is just throwing sh*t against the wall to see if anything sticks…pathetic! And what the rethugs have been doing for months, they have nothing, NOTHING!

      And refuted brilliantly by Keith Olberman/Countdown, which breaks down the multiple millions of dollars gay marriage would add to local economies…when rethugs can’t even speak truth about small business, one of their self-claimed core constituencies, they are truly circling the drain. Yippee!

      May 19, 2009 at 3:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • blake
      blake

      @alan brickman:

      Alan,

      Why are you making this racial? This is about politics, power, and money.

      It’s convenient of you to ignore the black political figures like Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, and N.Y. Gov. David Paterson who have been staunch proponents of gay rights.
      ________________

      May 19, 2009 at 7:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert, NYC
      Robert, NYC

      Michael Steele can solve the “drain” on the economy buy banning all future straight marriages if that’s his m.o. to deny us the same rights. I recommend that he divorces his wife as an example of fiscal conservancy, put his money where his mouth is. What a fucking moron and that’s the face of the party of NO? No wonder they’re losing the younger generation. Long may that continue, so far, they’re doing a great job.

      May 19, 2009 at 8:29 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert, NYC
      Robert, NYC

      @Michael W.:

      Michael, under Obama’s plan for health care, this is NOT really going to be a universal health care plan. Not all of the 46 million uninsured Americans will be covered because Obama rejected the fairer and cheaper plan under a single payer system. Medicare has worked extremely well. All that he’d need to do is to extend it to everyone, refining it and adding more benefits to it for a fraction of the cost that health insurance companies could ever compete with. Its been proved. He was for single payer during his campaign, but he’s in the pockets of the corporatists unfortunately, so no real change there, more of the same, continued profits and denial of coverage whenever health insurance is involved. An accountant decides what you can and cannot be covered for, not your doctor, under this plan. This is the change whe was talking about? NOT!

      May 19, 2009 at 8:35 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Thom
      Thom

      Economic issues matter and marriage is an economic issue. Studies show that married people are slightly healthier (less costs) and wealthier (pay more taxes) than their single counterparts and this is true for gay people as well. Therefore, it is in the state’s best economic interest to grant marriage equality. This is because there are thousands of rights and responsibilities that come with the legal contract of marriage (yes, marriage is a legal contract and gay people deserve these contract rights).

      May 19, 2009 at 9:24 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert, NYC
      Robert, NYC

      @Thom:

      Thom I agree with that. The financial impact this will have on business involved with the marriage industry will reap bigger profits for sure, hotels, florists, bakeries, printers, newspaper announcements, apparel, travel industries and the money that invited guests will spend. Even if some are anti marriage equality, there’s nothing so sweet as the profit margin for any business, especially in the economic crisis we’re in and states having serious economic woes. Every bit helps including the pink dollar.

      May 19, 2009 at 9:43 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      Uh, here’s the implicit assumption Steele is making: gay people won’t marry members of the opposite sex.

      But that contradicts the wishes of the anti-gay conservatives. Remember, they want gay people to stop being gay, and presumably this means heterosexual relationships. Since the only heterosexual relationships they accept are married ones, there would actually be a drain either way.

      So what Steele apparently wants is for gay couples to remain together without getting married.

      The GOP in 2009: Constitutionalizing the one night stand and cohabitation….at least, for gay men and lesbians.

      May 19, 2009 at 11:30 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • stevenelliot
      stevenelliot

      There’s one big hole in Steele’s arguement. What if, and this happens many thousands of times across the USA, a straight employee gets married after he/she is hired for a job?? Do not those same benefits he is attempting to deny gays, pertain to a heterosexual couple also?? This logic he is using makes no sense…..

      May 19, 2009 at 11:44 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tony
      Tony

      Geezus, leave this guy alone, quit being racist. God Queerty, Marion Bigot, Obamabigot and this douche are off limits when they want us to get under the bus (the back of the bus is still to good for teh gays).

      Only white people can be bigots, everyone else gets a free pass to hate and discriminate. You missed the memo.

      May 19, 2009 at 12:48 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      Tony,

      I don’t think you can compare President Obama to Michael Steele. And therein lies the problem with those who want to do so. The effort is so intellectually dishonest it closes off any possibility of your arguments being taken very seriously.

      May 19, 2009 at 12:51 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tony
      Tony

      @Alec,

      Relax. Obama, Steele, Barry all openly stand against full equality for LGBT people. Separate but equal is inherently (sp?) inequal, and I find it impossible to believe that a “Constitutional Law Scholar” could somehow not understand this concept along with the constitutional law doctrine of “Equal Protection”. Bigots have a lot in common. Obamabigot, Barrybigot and the other douchebag all see us as deserving fewer rights and protections under the law than other human beings while expecting us to pay the same taxes and assume the same financial and social responsibilities.

      How dare I compare Baby Jesus Obamabigot to that other douchebag. The nerve!!!

      May 19, 2009 at 1:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael W.
      Michael W.

      @Robert, NYC: Obama doesn’t have a plan for health care. He put together a series of eight principles for congress to adhere to when crafting the legislation that will bring us universal health care. More intricate details, such as a single payer option and mandates, are still on the table and we’ll know by late summer whether or not they made it.

      The White House is working in conjunction with congress to create the plan. There is no final plan at the moment. We can, however, see in those eight principles what the gist of that plan will be.

      Also, there’s no definitive word that “Medicare for all” is the most efficient option. That’s a matter of opinion. Everyone isn’t in love with Medicare.

      May 19, 2009 at 1:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • QICM
      QICM

      Tony,

      To date, no federal court has held that the equal protection clause mandates same-sex marriage or civil unions. Whether or not it should is another question. Plenty of constitutional law scholars don’t believe the equal protection clause should be read that way, even those that support same-sex marriage.

      Second, “separate but equal” was invalidated in the educational context. Whether or not it holds in the marital context for gay couples is unclear. Even assuming that the equal protection clause prohibits the government from denying gay couples the legal rights of marriage, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the term “marriage” must be extended. Courts have come out differently those cases: 1) no requirement to provide rights (NY, MD, WA, AZ, federal courts, IN), 2) civil unions sufficient(NJ, VT), 3) Marriage only (CA, CT, IA).

      I think Obama is wrong on marriage. He’s still not equivalent to Steele who, btw, has argued against civil unions and even domestic partnership benefits.

      May 19, 2009 at 1:46 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      Tony,

      To date, no federal court has held that the equal protection clause mandates same-sex marriage or civil unions. Whether or not it should is another question. Plenty of constitutional law scholars don’t believe the equal protection clause should be read that way, even those that support same-sex marriage.

      Second, “separate but equal” was invalidated in the educational context. Whether or not it holds in the marital context for gay couples is unclear. Even assuming that the equal protection clause prohibits the government from denying gay couples the legal rights of marriage, it doesn’t necessarily follow that the term “marriage” must be extended. Courts have come out differently those cases: 1) no requirement to provide rights (NY, MD, WA, AZ, federal courts, IN), 2) civil unions sufficient(NJ, VT), 3) Marriage only (CA, CT, IA).

      I think Obama is wrong on marriage. He’s still not equivalent to Steele who, btw, has argued against civil unions and even domestic partnership benefits.

      May 19, 2009 at 1:47 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tony
      Tony

      Alec, I appreciate that you are buying the “separate but equal only applies when it comes to education” argument sold by the right. California used that precise language (yes I know state law and not federal) but it was applied by analogy in the California Supreme Court Case that granted marriage equality ( I took two classes by former California Supreme Court Justice Grodin when in law school). California Constitutional Law mirrors federal law by the way on doctrines such as Equal Protection.

      The doctine of Equal Protection simply states that simlarly situated individuals should be treated equally. At work right now, with a client for the law firm in San Francisco that I work for, so I will not engage in a lengthy debate, but these concepts are always open to interpretation and debate, and those supporting LGBT Equality (most Con Law Scholars I happen to know, by the way) see marriage equality as an issue clearly addressed by the docrine of Equal Protection.

      Now, back to work for me.

      May 19, 2009 at 2:22 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      The doctine of Equal Protection simply states that simlarly situated individuals should be treated equally.

      Subject, of course, to standards of review based on the classification at issue.

      Never said I was “buying” the argument, btw; that’s your take on my post. I’m just stating what the law is, and noting the substantial disagreement.

      May 19, 2009 at 2:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tony
      Tony

      But Alec, by analogy “separate but equal” has been used in subsequent cases to oppose other forms of discrimination not applied to education. Facts need not be exactly on point to apply a legal doctrine. Arguments are often made by analogy (most often actually).

      The law is open to interpretation.

      May 19, 2009 at 3:20 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tony
      Tony

      For example, the California Supreme Court argued that “separate but not equal is not equal” when it ruled same sex marriages to be legal last year.

      May 19, 2009 at 3:21 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @Tony: Yup. And the NJ, NY, MD, WA and VT high courts all reached different conclusions. As have the federal courts that have addressed the issue. I’ve already noted the contrary rulings by the CA, CT and IA state supreme courts.

      May 19, 2009 at 3:24 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tony
      Tony

      Alec, read the decision issued my Iowa. Con Law is often applied differently, but I am not only talking about Brown v Board of Education, I am also referring to the doctrine of Equal Protection. Obama is in disagreement with every Con Law Scholar I know (and I went to a top law school, and my prof went to Harvard…..)

      We can run this into the ground. I could also bring up Loving v Virginia etc. Another case Obama fails to see as similar…

      May 19, 2009 at 3:49 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Alec
      Alec

      @Tony: I’ve read the Iowa decision (as I made clear in my post, or thought I did). I’ve also read an Eighth Circuit decision to the contrary and various state supreme court decisions to the contrary.

      Obama is in disagreement with every Con Law Scholar I know (and I went to a top law school, and my prof went to Harvard…..)

      An appeal to authority isn’t going to win your argument for you. So did the judges who authored opinions in disagreement with you. Even Cass Sunstein, an otherwise liberal constitutional law scholar, has suggested that the equal protection clause is consistent with a prohibition on same-sex marriage, one of the many reasons I’m not in favor of him for a Supreme Court seat.

      Finally, if you’re talking about Brown v. Board, you’re also talking about equal protection.

      May 19, 2009 at 3:57 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Robert, NYC
      Robert, NYC

      @Michael W.:

      Michael, I find it quite revealing that not one qualified single payer representative from the Physicians for a Single Payer organization, numbering some 16,000 members was included in the recent meeting that Obama held, comprised overwhelmingly by CEO’s from health insurance providers. Not one seat was provided to one member of that group of people who know more about the delivery of health care than any insurance corporation. Why were they ejected or better yet, excluded? So all of a sudden, health insurance corporations are now only interested in helping to reduce costs? Please! Profit is their bottom line. What about the millions who won’t be covered under this plan? Obama admitted that during his campaign. That is definitely not universal health care. Everybody should be covered without exception. As long as health insurance corporations are involved in the mix, you’ll never see a universal plan.

      I lost my job early last year. I’m 59 years old, having a very difficult time trying to find employment, infact my age is against me. I’m currently living on my savings and paying for my own health insurance. My previous employe went out of business with no continuation of health insurance available and even if it were, I would not have been able to afford the exorbitant monthly premiums for 18 months. In March 2008 when I first acquired some form of coverage at my own expense, not the greatest of plans but something, the monthly premium was $340 and I also had to pay for a separate dental plan, annual premium $290, a discount plan, not really insurance. In March of this year…..my health insurance premiums jumped to $400. At the age of 59 in my state, if I can no longer afford to pay the premiums that are continuously rising, no other insurance company will cover me in the state, 59 is the cutoff. I’d have to live for several years without any coverage and hope that I make it to Medicare in time if I don’t find another job which is unlikely, provided I remain healthy. I don’t see any mention of that in Obama’s plan for people in my situation and there are millions of us. Its delusional to think this will be universal health care. It won’t be and NOT what I voted for either. Hillary had a far better plan.

      May 20, 2009 at 8:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Attmay
      Attmay

      @Alec: You’re right. You can’t compare them. Michael Steele is honest about his homophobia.

      @Tony: If they don’t quit flapping their gums about gays I’ll show you racism that’ll make your head spin.

      May 21, 2009 at 1:26 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • GBM
      GBM

      @ ATTMAY And what would that be my dear?

      May 26, 2009 at 4:04 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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