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Sunday, April 7, 2013

To Love, Honor, and...Tax?

  When Edie Windsor and Thea Speyer met at a restaurant in the 60's, being gay was not only something to be hidden, even to the closest family and friends, in many places it was illegal. Edie and Thea began what would be a 44 year relationship. In 2007, they went to Canada, and were married. Edie lost Thea in 2009 after a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis. Thea did what most people do, she left her assets and possessions to her spouse. There was just one problem. In the United States, their marriage was not recognized as legal. No sooner had Edie lost her lifelong partner, but she was hit with a massive estate tax bill, $363,000 to be exact. Edie also soon found out that, had she and Thea been a straight couple, there would have been no massive estate tax bill. So Edie sued the United States government.
  Oral arguments were heard just a few weeks ago at the Supreme Court on DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act. Gay marriage has become a hot button topic with heated arguments on both sides. But this is not about whether or not Gay people should or should not be allowed to marry. The question for Conservatives should be, why is the federal government in the business of anybody's marriage?
  So what's in it for the federal government if they engage in the business of deciding who gets married and who doesn't? The first obvious answer is, they can issue a license and charge you for it. There is a nice racket right off the bat. The second obvious answer is that one's marital status can determine how much or how little you can be taxed. But is marriage a secular or a religious institution? The website,, argues that a marriage is "a set of religious ceremonies and regulations", and if the federal government dictates
 who can get married and who cannot, it violates the freedom of religion clause in the Constitution.
  Conservatives by definition are small government people, and having the federal government meddle in such things as marriage goes against those Conservative ideals. There is also a huge debate right now over the protection of our second amendment rights. Conservatives maintain that the government has no right to know how many and what kinds of guns one might own. Perhaps the biggest impending threat of government infringement in our lives, Obama care. Government health care will invade our daily lives in ways still unknown.
  Americans will have an opinion on Gay marriage based on a lot of things. More than likely, it will be an opinion based on their moral and religious beliefs. But if you are truly a small government Conservative, is this just another intrusion into daily life?
  Regardless of your feelings about Gay people or Gay marriage, Edie Windsor could probably use a little less intrusion.    

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