Should you be able to marry your children?

Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin recently said same-sex marriage could lead to parents marrying their children for tax benefits. But could he have a point? (x)

Republican Senate candidate Matt Bevin recently said same-sex marriage could lead to parents marrying their children for tax benefits. But could he actually have a point? (x)

A republican U.S. Senate candidate recently received criticism from the LGBT community for comparing same-sex marriage to parent-child marriage. Matt Bevin, who’s running for senate in Kentucy, made the controversial comments on a Christian radio show on Wednesday, Feb. 19.

“If it’s all right to have same-sex marriages, why not define a marriage—because at the end of the day, a lot of this ends up being taxes and who can visit who in the hospital, and there’s other repercussions and things that come with this—so a person may want to define themselves as being married to one of their children so that they could then in fact pass on certain things to that child financially and otherwise,” said Bevin.

Many people called Bevin out for being homophobic. And while his comments are obviously malicious and misguided, he actually raises an interesting point.

One of the main reasons why marriage equality is such a big deal is because it’s about more than recognizing same-sex partners’ love for one another, it’s about giving them the many rights and privileges that are associated with marriage. And while the love aspect of marriage has been played up to help propel the movement (after all, who would want to deny same-sex couples rights when they look so cute?), marriage equality is not about love, it’s about those rights.

This raises the question—should you have to be in love to receive those rights? I don’t think so.

The fact is, people who don’t get married are discriminated against. As one study found:

Employers can legally subsidize health benefits for spouses of married employees (and sometimes domestic partners), while offering no comparable benefits to a parent, sibling, or friend of their single employees. That amounts to unequal compensation for the same work. Similarly, a married person in need of care can receive it from a spouse who is covered by the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), but singles who need care do not have anyone in their own generation who is eligible for FMLA benefits.

Single men are paid less than their married male colleagues even when they are of similar age and have comparable work experience. Marriage also brings increased tax benefits and social security benefits and discounts on automobile insurance, travel packages, and club memberships.

In addition to not having access to those benefits, people who aren’t married have a harder time finding housing, with single people having the hardest time of all. As if that’s not enough, this discrimination is often seen as more legitimate than discrimination against other minority groups, including gay people.

The thing is, you shouldn’t have to be “married” to be able to receive these benefits. And, sure, you could get married without being in love—plenty of people have—but the assumption is that if you’re getting married, you are in love.

Not only does that keep people who don’t desire romance from being able to enter into this sort of partnership, it puts pressure on people who do get married to maintain a level of romance in their relationship that might not be realistic. I mean, if people didn’t feel pressure to be in love to stay married, the divorce rate might not be so high. Not that it’s impossible to maintain a healthy and fulfilling romance. It definitely is, it just shouldn’t be expected of everyone—married or not.

Because marriage is beautiful and, due to the amount of rights it gives couples, I would argue, necessary. We all need someone we can count on, who we know will always be there for us but it shouldn’t have to be about romance. And while that doesn’t mean you should be able to marry your child, maybe Bevin was onto something we he made his controversial comments.

What do you think? Is romance an important part of marriage? Should single people be able to receive the benefits married couples do? Let us know in the comments below or submit your own opinion piece!

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  1. Preston Vorthmann

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