City Weekly recently profiled a group asking why government should regulate marriage? One reader has already responded with some thoughts on getting guvment out, largely based on the idea of fairness to single Americans.
In the article “Government-Free Marriage” group members of the same name are rallying to make people aware that getting government out of the marriage licensing business would mean less intrusion in citizens’ personal lives. Their website also argues that it could also be a novel solution to the gay-marriage debate, since it would simply allow all consenting adults to contract such relationships as they see fit rather than seeking the government’s license to do so.
Group members acknowledged that getting government out would require major changes given how ingrained marriage licenses have become in tax filings and other government records. One reader has written a paper to suggest possible remedies to extracting government from marriage. Christian Miller, a retired engineer and business owner from California was intrigued by the Utah group and the idea of getting government out of marriage for a number of years. While he says the rhetoric from both sides of his state’s Proposition 8 debate reinforced his notion that Uncle Sam should stop licensing marriages, he argues his beliefs stem from what he sees as unfairness to single adults in United States.
“I became interested in this topic when my wife discovered, to our great surprise, that she could collect $9,000 per year from Social Security on the basis of being married to me even though she had not contributed enough to Social Security to qualify on her own,” Miller writes via e-mail. “Great windfall for us, but terribly unfair to an older single person that cannot collect Social Security.”
Miller wrote an essay (see below) examining possible ways to get marriage out. He argues that the first step is actually at the federal level by advocating removal of subsidies for married couples which he contends tend to only serve wealthy couples. Like with a spouse’s entitlement to 50 percent of their spouse’s Social Security benefits. “Couples in a financial situation that allows one spouse not to work are pretty much the only ones who get this Social Security benefit,” Miller writes. “Where both spouses have worked, they each qualify for Social Security on their own.” Likewise he argues a spouse’s right to tax-free inheritance of their spouse’s estates largely only benefits “those with multi-million dollar estates.” “These financial benefits are terribly unfair to single people or couples without government marriage licenses who have to pay increased taxes to support these benefits,”Miller writes.
Miller ultimately argues that changes might seem drastic to bureaucracy as usual, but as far as people go, ultimately “Life would go on.”