Courtesy of MCT
Letter to the editor:
The legalization of gay marriage may not be as bad as “Bible-Thumpers” and other opposition makes it out to be. The legalization would allow access to more federal programs that used to be available to only heterosexual couples and would raise more tax revenue.
I am personally against gay marriage. However, since religion, in my opinion, has no place in politics and economics – especially in a country founded on the principles of equality, the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and freedom of religion – it seems very hypocritical that we are forcing people who may or may not be religious to live by religious laws.
The laws that we have today are supposed to be absent of religious influence. Adultery and lying are religious laws that we do not strictly enforce; imagine how crowded our prisons would be if every person who slept with someone outside the binds of marriage, or every parent who told “little white lies” to their children was locked up.
The argument against the legalization of gay marriage is emotional. Bryan Caplan’s theory of rational irrationality is shown with the cyclical rejection to legalize gay marriage. This theory claims that people vote in a way that parallels their biases, making their irrational voting rational with respect to their beliefs. The opposition of gay marriage is mainly religious and voted down simply because it fits their bias and in the process they avoid a conflict of beliefs.
The repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, which outlaws gay marriage, would change taxes for the homosexual population. If gay marriage was legalized, homosexual couples would be exempt from the federal estate tax on wealth passed to the other spouse when he or she dies, just like heterosexual couples. They would also receive more than 1,100 federal benefits that are associated with the married status, according to CNN – an example being not having to have two health insurance plans but able to pull from the spouse’s employer.
Allowing gay marriage may be more of a financial punishment on homosexuals. The newlywed would be subject to a larger income tax burden due to the “marriage penalty,” or when a dual-income household pays more in taxes than a single-income household due to the decreased number of dependents on his or her tax return.
As the personal benefits are clear, greater access to programs ad funds that were once only available to married couples, the net effects are not as substantial. The Williams Institute approximates that if Rhode Island legalized gay marriage, it would lead to lower spending on welfare and increased tax revenue only to gain $1.2 million over three years. The same institute approximates that over a 10-year period, the tax revenue from gay couples would total about $1 billion or a 0.1 percent gain.
With respect to tax revenue, the results from legalizing gay marriage are not as substantial as predicted. For homosexuals, the benefits of being able to mark “married” on tax returns greatly exceed the costs of not being married. For a country that stresses equality and freedom from religion and granting the freedom to run one’s personal life the way he or she desires, it seems logical that homosexuals should be able to enjoy the same social standing as heterosexual couples, be allowed to have the same rights and opportunities and enjoy the same benefits, but also suffer the same costs as heterosexual couples.
Garrett W. Gollehon
Second-year in economics and finance