Let’s be clear: I think any consent adult who wants to enter into a sane, safe, and consensual marriage should be able to do so. Full stop. Period. In addition to that, a key ingredient missing from the equation is this: Single people hooking up, shacking up, or dating — whether someone of the same sex or not — are getting screwed. Read Lisa Arnold and Christina Campbell’s piece in the Atlantic, “The High Price of Being Single in America.” Ignoring their sociobabble phrases like “institutionalized singlism,” the article’s premise is a good one: marriage equality is only part of the equation.
When I lived in The Netherlands, I really thought the Dutch got it right with samenwoning. The literal translation is “living together,” and it was somewhat equal to the English word cohabitation. In other words, the Dutch grant legal and financial rights to grown-ass people who partner with consenting adult(s), however they wish. As it now stands, when marriage equality passes in the U.S., as I believe it should and will, I could receive legal and tax benefits if I were a lesbian married to “Jenny;” however, I could be financial and legally penalized for living with my boyfriend “Jerome.” According to Communication League for Unmarried Equality (CLUE), here are a few things to consider:
- The U.S. government regularly and routinely discriminates against fifty percent of our population: single people.
- Our federal code alone contains over 1,000 benefits where marital status is a factor and, in most cases, single people lose out.
- Income Tax, IRAs, and Social Security laws all largely favor married people.
In fact, many of the adoption, hospital visits, inheritance, taxation and other inequalities same-sex couples experience are a direct result of a system that privileges people who marry at the expense of those who don’t. Given Americans are marrying at later ages, living longer, and divorcing more, we’re spending a greater percentage of our lives as singles. If it’s really about fairness, how about this: Let consenting adults who want to marry do so, and don’t penalize those who don’t marry.