This I Believe

Richard - Clarence, New York
Entered on February 12, 2007

Re: This I Believe

I believe in change, no, not volcanic change, but rather the slow, insidious kind that shapes canyons and lives. The kind that creates incredible beauty if only the time scale is long enough.

I believe in the same kind of change in our ordinary lives. Slowly moving forward, we can make things better. And in this context I believe it is high time this nation move forward on the stalemate over gay marriage. As a Republican I’m a bit squeamish about my party’s perception on this issue. I understand the fears of the social conservatives and I hope I’ve listened well to the pleas of gay friends who have been denied rights we married people take for granted. I believe there is a middle ground and this is how I see it.

Start by breaking the entire issue into two pieces. The first being the tax rights and the second being the use of the word marriage. I simply don’t accept the notion that married people should receive preferential benefits by virtue of the tax code. It stinks of social engineering. Why not level the playing field and create a situation where the gay community comes up with a concept they can live with- call it a civil union or whatever- and endow this group of folks with the exact same rights my wife and I receive?

My wife, three kids and I spent this past weekend with her former roommate and his partner. Both are fabulous men, loving, nurturing to our children, caring, you name it. Their lives are just as intertwined as any married couple- except for the crazy artificial separation created by our tax code. Folks, let’s fix it and fix it now, today. And I’ll take the seemingly crazy position that this change can only come from a Republican. Why, you ask?

The Democrats are all in on this issue no matter who brings it up. So consider what might happen if a Republican stood in the House or Senate and challenged his fellow Republicans on the issue of tax equality. Then just maybe calmer heads would prevail. And then this President or the next would be looking at a legislative double barreled mandate. Change can happen here, right now, today if only a Republican can muster the courage to say that all men and women deserve equal tax treatment.

Finally, I believe we should leave the use of the word marriage for another day. Let the vital tax issues get solved first and let society evolve in the wake of this change. Give people time and good will happen. I believe that the human spirit will rise to greatness if we can find a way to make change seem less draconian.