Last week’s Supreme Court decision overturning state law prohibiting same-sex marriage annoys me but the reason why might not be what you think.
Iowa was the third state to legalize SSM. It has been the law here since 2009. That early adoption made Iowa a SSM tourist destination. Same sex couples would come from all over the region to be married in Iowa. This SSM tourism has tapered off as other states have legalized SSM and will now end completely. At its peak in 2013, however, so many were coming to Iowa that a quarter of the marriage licences in the state were SSM.
It never bothered me. I never saw an SSM happen. I never heard of one happening. In all my personal and business dealings I have only encountered one SSM couple: two matronly 50-something women. Same sex marriage in Iowa has had zero impact on my life and I refuse to oppose the actions of others that impact me not all.
Therefore, I support civil marriage for same-sex couples. If I were in the legislature, I would vote for it. Civil marriage, after all, boils down to a set of tax and legal benefits. That is pretty much it.
Not that you would know that from reading the court’s majority opinion. I am pretty sure that when Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority and droned on and on about love, most of it was plagiarized from a lovesick 14-year-old girl’s diary. “Marriage,” Kennedy wrote, “responds to the universal fear that a lonely person might call out only to find no one there. Cripes, Tony, give Betty and Veronica their diaries back.
Civil marriage isn’t about love. You don’t need a licence from the state to form a loving bond with another person. In fact, a government issued licence with attendant benefits and requirements has nothing whatsoever to do with love, companionship or commitment. Love exists unfettered and, indeed, unaffected with or without a licence from the state. Love existed before there was a US Constitution has flourished perfectly well without government sanction. Government plays no role in love.
Nevertheless, Kennedy absurdly flatters himself that the government has a role in promoting love. He goes so far to imply that the court just legalized love. The reality, of course, is that love exists with or without the musings of the Supreme Court. The court mandated that the states allow same-sex couples to benefit from marriage’s various monetary benefits including reduced inheritance taxes upon the death of a spouse, compensation if a spouse dies as a result of a work-related injury, or loss of consortium damages in tort suits. That’s it. Love remains unchanged by the court’s ruling.
For the record, I don’t oppose extending that suite of benefits to same-sex couples. If I was a legislator in a statehouse I would vote in favor of allowing SSM in order allow same-sex couples to get the same benefits as married couples. Hell, I would vote to extend those benefits to anyone including siblings, cousins, roommates, business partners and whomever wants them and forms a contractual relationship. In fact, screw the contract. I would vote for reduced inheritance taxes for everyone. Actually, let’s just end inheritance taxes completely!
The thing is, I am not a state legislator and neither are the SCOTUS justices. The court granted civil tax and legal benefits and nothing else. They have no power to do anything else. The reality is that anyone has always had the right to love anyone. Anyone may vow romantic and sexual fidelity to anyone. Anyone may form a lifelong partnership with anyone. Government has no power to grant or deny these fundamental rights. These unalienable rights existed before the Constitution and will survive the death of the republic.
As many have said here, it is frustrating that the court has the ability to unilaterally override the legislatures of the states when what is at stake is basically tax and tort law. That the court used the “logic” of a Tiger Beat reader and the doggerel of a Hallmark card to stomp the hell out of state laws defining little more than the conveyance of monetary benefits is especially annoying.
Coming up next, the Supreme Court of the United States, in a five to four decision, rules that “wishes can come true, if you believe in them with all your heart. They’re shining deep down inside of you. ‘Cause that my friends is where the magic lives!”