Kim Davis, the County Clerk of Rowan County in Kentucky stopped issuing marriage licenses to everyone. Since the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal, she has refused to issue any licenses. She says her “religious beliefs” forbid her from issuing licenses to same-sex couples. Knowing that is blatant discrimination, she has decided not to issue any licenses. Two gay and two straight couples have filed suit against her.
They claim they should not have to drive to another county in order to get a marriage license. They want to get their license in the county where they live, work, and pay taxes. But, Ms. Davis doesn’t care about her oath to serve the people who elected her. She only cares about her personal beliefs.
As a result of the law suits, she has been ordered by two different courts to begin issuing marriage licenses to everyone. She still refuses. She can’t be fired from her job since it is an elected position. She refuses to resign even though she is breaking the laws she is sworn to enforce. Now, she is asking the Supreme Court to delay the previous orders.
The unfortunate side of this mess is that Ms. Davis is not alone. There are other County Clerks who are following along with her unlawfulness. As usual, they are trying to use the “religious beliefs” aspect to justify their unlawfulness and bigotry. This could get very ugly for everyone, especially Ms. Davis if she is found in contempt of court and either heavily fined or jailed.
So, I believe there is only one answer to this mess. One that is fair for everyone, and could even help the government raise more revenue. Thus, helping to balance the budget. The answer is to stop marriages altogether. That may sound very crazy to many people, but it has some reasoning behind it that makes sense.
First off, if religions desire to “marry” people, let them. Just don’t give any civil recognition to them. By not giving any civil recognition to them, I don’t mean their children are illegitimate or anything like that. I simply mean there will be no civil benefits for being “religiously married.”
Here is how this works. Whether two people get a “religious marriage” or not, they have the right to cohabitate. We will call it “domestic partnerships.” Under this plan, there will be no tax filing status of “married filing jointly,” “married filing separately,” or “married head of household.” Each person in the partnership will have to file their taxes separately as single people.
Since civil marriage will be eliminated, children of domestic partners will maintain the name of the mother, not the father. The children can be given the father’s name only if the father formally adopts them, and the mother agrees in writing to forego all tax advantages she may have gotten by declaring them as dependents.
Furthermore, if the domestic partners separate, only the “legal” parent will be entitled to custody of any children. If that partner does not fulfill those responsibilities they shall be charged with abandonment and punished with a jail sentence. There will be no child support awarded to the legal parent from the non-legal parent.
When filing tax returns, only the parent who is the legal parent of the children can claim them as dependents. Further, upon the death of one of the partners, there will be no “estate tax exemption” for the spouse. Only children who are the legal dependent of the partner will receive those estate tax exemptions.
Spouses of domestic partners will not be eligible for Social Security checks based on their partners income. If their spouse dies, they will not be entitled to any income from Social Security as the surviving spouse as they are in many cases today.
If children are eligible for those Social Security Payments, a court appointed trustee will manage the money to ensure the surviving partner does not financially benefit from those payments to the children. The same will be true for any inheritance a child may receive from the legal parent.
If the will of the deceased partner leaves everything to his partner, that partner will be forced to pay the full inheritance tax just like anyone else.
Corporations will no longer be required to provide health insurance to partners of their employees. They will continue to provide health insurance to employees and any legal dependent children. Partners will have to get their own insurance unless that corporation decides to continue to offer the plans as they do now.
All of these rules will be enforced upon everyone. If two people enter into a religious marriage, they will still be considered domestic partners under the law. No marriage licenses will be issued by any government entity to anyone. Basically, marriage will disappear as a state sponsored entity.
Under this plan, divorce will be eliminated. In order to prevent total chaos in these separations, the couple will need to file with a court a separation plan that includes property division and joint loan/mortgage plans. That is more to protect the lenders than anything else.
We will basically be able to eliminate “divorce court” thus saving the states and cities lots of money. The federal revenues will grow because there won’t be anymore tax exemptions simply because someone is married. The estate tax revenue will grow because partners won’t get the tax breaks currently offered.
We won’t hear anymore hypocrisy from multi-married candidates about “family values” because there won’t be anymore families. We won’t hear anymore about “single mothers” because every legal parent will be technically a “single parent.” And finally, we won’t have any County Clerks or other government office holders breaking the law by refusing to issue marriage licenses to people they hate.
Let’s face facts. Aside from any religious beliefs you may have, the only real advantage to getting married is for tax purposes. Eliminating those tax loopholes makes the civil endorsement of marriage mute. And, bigots cannot claim “religious beliefs” to practice their bigotry and denying civil rights to those they hate.