Curly haired boy wonder Rand Paul has solved the whole gay marriage issue and he did it all in one convenient easy to swallow soundbite. What's the answer? A flat tax rate. Like many Republicans, Paul believes all of society's problems can be solved with taxes. Too poor? Tax beaks. Too rich? Tax breaks. Too gay? Tax breaks. Sadly for Paul though, a flat tax doesn’t come close to addressing the issue at the heart of the gay marriage debate.
Rand Paul appeared on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace who asked him about the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) case that will be argued in the Supreme Court this week. Rand Paul said that marriage should be a state issue and that the federal government should not be promoting something he doesn’t believe in.
Paul believes that by issuing a flat tax, you get rid of the benefits that are available to heterosexual couples, thus making the tax system equal. Gay Americans rejoice! Now, everyone will pay the same tax and nobody needs to be declared equal in the eyes of the law or any of that other messy business.
Rand Paul says he wants the government to make laws more neutral towards the issue of gay marriage. He thinks that if you take the word “marriage” out of tax code, then the federal government never has to deal with the issue of redefining it. Wrong.
Marriage is not just a states issue, no matter how much Rand Paul wants it to be. The institution of marriage is deeply intertwined with the federal government. The federal government looks at marriage licenses for Social Security benefits, citizenship, and for Medicaid/Medicare benefits. Declaring that gay marriage is states rights issue also rejects the argument that is at the core of this debate.
Do we see gay Americans as equals or do we not? Evan Wolfson has been a leader on the issue of marriage equality since the 1980s and started the Freedom to Marry project in 2003. While attending Harvard Law School he wrote:
"By abolishing sexualist discrimination and permitting full and equal self-expression on the part of all lovers for all beloveds … we will create a society more safely and richly founded on our individual freedom and equality. Such a society, where people are equally free to love and choose according to the dictates of their heart, best promotes the just and moral pursuit of happiness."
That’s what we are really talking about when it comes to gay marriage. Heterosexuals don’t get married because of tax breaks, they get married to express a lifelong commitment to another person. To believe, as Rand Paul seems to, that the reason for this debate is somehow related to tax benefits is unbelievably narrow minded.