Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Prefferential Treatment for the Married

In regards to my post concerning hate crimes, Seth writes:

I've got a question, however. Can one classify marriage--for which the state affords benefits and incentives--as a "special group receiv[ing] legal protection...beyond the standard give to the rest of the populace"?

An excellent question. Of course married couples recieve legal protection beyond that of singles people. Strictly speaking, this is unfair to unmarried persons. However, there is a very good reason for this special legal protection.

The reason the federal government gives tax breaks for married persons is as simple as it is sensible. Married people, presumably, have children. It is good for children to have two parents: a man and a woman in a legally binding contract. The government, that is, we, recognize this and provide an incentive to marry.

I have heard that the number one indicator of poverty for a child is whether or not he was born out of wedlock. Even if it is not the number one factor, it is obviously high on the list. It makes a great deal of sense for the government to keep families together for the sake of the children. Of course, in the land of no-fault divorce, the incentives may not be strong enough.

Regardless, on one hand this may seem to be unjust, and in some sense it is. It would be ludicrous to say that unmarried persons are not being discriminated againts, because obviously, they are. Yet at any time, a single person can form that sacred bond and get the benefits that come with it.

But even more important, protected minority groups provide no advantage to the Republic. A homosexual is valuable as a worker, but will probably not produce. Women are to be valued by the government, but there value is increased as they have kids. The same applies to those of a racial minority. Each of holds a value as a human being, but to the government, only those who are married--assumedly--has a value worth subsidizing.

The Constitution demands that the federal government "promote the general welfare". Providing incentives for people to marry and stay married seems to fall within that purview.


Seth said...

Aha! I kept refreshing the original post I'd left the comment in...I should've just checked the main site!

I think a case can and should be made for laws making it harder to get married, and harder to get divorced--and from a nonreligious perspective. When people apply for marriage, they're not just securing a "right" to marry, they're also applying to the government for special treatment. Is it unreasonable for the gov't to say, "hey, if you want the goods, you need to take this more seriously"?

It would save a lot of money, and it might result in a lot fewer broken relationships.

A Wiser Man Than I said...

In regards to laws that make it harder to get divorced, I would agree.

But laws that make it harder to get married? Isn't it true that people wouldn't rush into marriage if they knew they couldn't rush out as soon as things got bad. "For better or for worse" indeed.

Let's fix the divorce problem first and see what happens.