Opening a can of worms

The homosexual lobby has won its argument about same-sex marriage by persuading most people that to be anti-same-sex marriage is to be homophobic. The argument is that loving same-sex couples ought to have the same right to marry as heterosexual couples.

But the debate has entirely ignored a significant issue at the center. Same-sex marriage is not about loving gay and lesbian couples enjoying the same rights as heterosexual couples; it is about any person having the right to contract marriage with any other person for any reason whatsoever.

The news has been full of instances that point to the opportunity for fraud. One woman is jubilant because the striking down of DOMA means she will not have to pay a third of a million in taxes on the estate she inherited from her partner. Does anyone really believe there is no one who will not marry for such a reward?

Another woman is rejoicing in the fact that now her immigrant partner will be eligible for a green card as the spouse of a citizen. Someone else is jubilant because now the partner’s family will be eligible to immigrate under the immigration policy of reuniting families. Does anyone believe there is no opportunity for fraud there?

One can argue the same is true of heterosexual couples, but traditionally though a man and woman entered a marriage of convenience, the man still had a legal responsibility for the woman’s welfare. But that will not hold true in a same-sex marriage of convenience, where either party can simply walk away when it is convenient to do so. Under a policy of accepting same-sex marriage on the same basis as heterosexual marriage, marriage clerks or other officials will have no right to question anyone’s intention to marry anyone else for any reason, fraudulent or not.

We really should be having some discussion of whether it is sensible to open that can of worms.

Richard A. Davis