Friday Rant — Gay Marriage and Spend Management: Put Tax Policy Over Politics

When I read about the Miss USA scandal last week, I couldn't help but laugh. For those who missed it, the runner-up (who did not win because of her remarks), essentially said she did not believe in gay marriage, sending Perez Hilton, a judge, into a tizzy, causing her to lose. It's all well and good for the gossip rags I suppose, but in my view, the problem with people on both sides of the argument of gay marriage is that they don't look at the issue from a Spend Management perspective. I mean, I think most of us would agree that we're all entitled to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, much of which comes from -- at least in my opinion -- a good stable relationship with someone you love and trust. But for me, gay marriage and domestic partner benefits should not even be considered as legal or fair as long as gays can have their cake and eat it too when it comes to avoiding the marriage tax penalty.

What do I refer to here? When my wife and I got married, we owed an amount into the five figures more in taxes than we did when filing individually prior to our nuptials. In fact, I would have much preferred the benefits gays receive (e.g., domestic partner benefits) from their employers without having to pay the marriage tax penalty. As an aside, I had asked the religious figure who married us if he would do so in a way that our religion recognized it, but that it went unreported to the state, so we were still seen as single in the government's eye (after all, why is it their business?) He refused to do, unfortunately, but alas, we tried.

Gays who support state recognized marriage, unlike us, are not forced to pay a marriage tax penalty, despite receiving all of the benefits of marriage such as spousal health benefits (and don't get me started on the supposed inheritance benefits of actual marriage -- we all know it's possible to avoid the death tax through investing in trusts and estate planning, regardless of whether or not you're married). So let's change the basis of the argument around gay marriage from one of morality to one of personal (and government) Spend Management. If gays are willing to pay for the tax consequences of their actions, why should anyone care, especially given that governments are in the process of raising taxes left and right at the moment to make up for declining receipts? And if they're not willing to pay the price, well, then, Perez Hilton and the rest should stop complaining about the whole thing. Now it's time to get back to our regularly scheduled Spend Management programming ...

Jason Busch

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