Didn’t Chuck and Larry Get “Married”?
I highlight this only because I think Crowley, in his ineptitude, stumbles into an error of reason that others exhibit more subtly. Pointing to the expressed concern of Howard Weizmann, deputy director of the U.S. Office Of Personnel Management, that expanded domestic partner benefits would increase incidents of the sorts of fraud depicted in I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, Crowley writes:
Bush administration officials hard at work protecting us from
gay peopleinsurance fraud. Now all this silliness can end with a very simple solution: grant marriage rights to all couples and we won’t have to worry about the nuances of Chuck N Larry.
In point of fact, in order to procure their benefits, Chuck and Larry do get married. The only way “granting marriage rights to all couples” avoids fraudulent benefit transfers (for instance) is by legitimizing what had previously been held to be fraud. Marriage and divorce laws being what they are, there would be very little disincentive to “marrying” a friend for benefit, tax, housing, or even testimonial reasons.
If society wishes to create a system that encourages the mutual care of partnered pairs, then it should do so distinctly from marriage; to do otherwise would be to dilute the institution into nothingness. And if we are to set up domestic partnerships/civil unions, it would seem the height of government intrusion to insist that there be verifiable sexual intimacy between the participants.
Here’s one further justification for taking Mr. Weizmann’s concern seriously, but on a much broader scale:
Marriage to an American citizen remains the most common path to U.S. residency and/or citizenship for foreign nationals, with more than 2.3 million foreign nationals gaining lawful permanent resident (LPR) status in this manner between 1998 and 2007.