July 08, 2014

Lean On Me:
[Secular] Marriage has benefits that we can all enjoy

Last month, USA Today proclaimed that, "Marriage brings feelings of security for gay couples."

In the article, they quoted a gentleman in Wisconsin whose marriage has finally been recognized:
"To have our marriage recognized in our home state means we are equal and not second-class citizens," said Bohaczek, the son of Polish immigrants.
There are a host of benefits to being married. While the article focused on some of the financial and emotional aspects, it got me thinking. What benefits are there to being married?

Some of them might surprise you.

Tax Breaks

Of course, we're all pretty aware that marriage has certain tax perks that come along with it. TurboTax helpfully broke down a handful of them:

  • Your spouse can be a tax shelter if they have a business that is losing money.
  • Your spouse can also contribute to an IRA, reducing tax burdens.
  • You can work with your spouse to determine the best possible benefit package between your places of appointment.
  • Your charitable contribution deduction is greater.
  • Spouse to spouse estates do not have to pay an estate tax.
  • You can file your taxes jointly.
While I'm not saying anyone should run out and get married for the sake of their taxes, I definitely think we can all agree that being married has financial advantages in this area over being single. Those are advantages that, under a secular government, in a secular nation, with religious freedom for all, LGBT individuals should be able to fully avail themselves of.

Married Men Have It Good

Men's Health pointed out some of the benefits of marriage for men:

  • Married men earn more.
  • Married men tend to have higher performance ratings and faster promotions.
  • Male victims of violent crime are nearly four times more likely to be single than married.
  • Married men have more sex--and that is true across 38 countries.
  • Married men actually beat cancer more often than divorced or never married men.
  • A UCLA study found that, over the 8 year study period, single people were 88 percent more likely to die than married people.
Overall, these point to the boost that marriage has for societal acceptance. It also points out that long-term, committed marriages change us in good ways--ways that encourage us to live longer.

Married People Have Better Physical and Mental Health

This should come with a caveat: happily married people have these things. Science Daily explains:

In an editorial published by student BMJ, David and John Gallacher from Cardiff University say that on average married people live longer. They say that women in committed relationships have better mental health, while men in committed relationships have better physical health, and they conclude that "on balance it probably is worth making the effort." 
Men's physical health probably improves because of their partner's positive influence on their lifestyle and "the mental bonus for women may be due to a greater emphasis on the importance of the relationship," they write.
 Needless to say, these are certainly benefits that same sex unions should be able to enjoy.

I feel like we are chasing our tail with marriage equality. We live in a secular nation, and yet, the conservative religious and political right are attempting to force their morality on society at large. In the process, they are denying each of these benefits to the couples that they have declare second class citizens.

And that, my friends, is totally bogus.

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