Thursday, June 27, 2013

Lesbian inheritance tax humiliates kids

The US Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage in United States v. Windsor. The technical legal issue had to do with paying an inheritance tax after a Canadian lesbian ceremony, and that is off-topic for this blog. My concern is with the effect on parents in the family courts.

Here is how the majority ruled, with emphasis on the effect to kids:
The differentiation demeans the couple, whose moral and sexual choices the Constitution protects, see Lawrence, 539 U. S. 558, and whose relationship the State has sought to dignify. And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives. ...

DOMA also brings financial harm to children of same-sex couples. It raises the cost of health care for families by taxing health benefits provided by employers to their workers’ same-sex spouses. ...

DOMA instructs all federal officials, and indeed all persons with whom same-sex couples interact, including their own children, that their marriage is less worthy than the marriages of others. The federal statute is invalid, for no legitimate purpose overcomes the purpose and effect to disparage and to injure those whom the State, by its marriage laws, sought to protect in personhood and dignity. By seeking to displace this protection and treating those persons as living in marriages less respected than others, the federal statute is in violation of the Fifth Amendment. This opinion and its holding are confined to those lawful marriages.
So Justice Kennedy says that taxing a lesbian inheritance humiliates children because he previously declared anal sodomy to be a constitutional right. This humiliation is now unconstitutional because it violates this amendment:
V. No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
Maybe I am stupid, but I have a hard time seeing what this amendment has to do with humiliation, sodomy, or lesbian inheritance tax.

Meanwhile there are millions of kids who suffer the humiliation of supervised visitation and other indignities imposed by the family court. The federal courts refuse to do anything about any of them.

I believe this decision, and the accompanying California Proposition 8, will only serve to add to the humiliation. These decisions guarantee that same-sex marriage law will never be the will of the people. If the polls are to be believed, California would have passed same-sex marriage in 2014. But now it will never have that legitimacy, and always be something imposed by judges seeking social change. California passed initiatives twice that marriage is between a man and a woman, and the California supreme court disagreed the first time and agreed the second time. The only contrary opinion left standing is the opinion of gay trial judge in San Francisco.

But again, my concern is how this will affect marriage and parenting for the rest of us. Justice Alito explained in dissent that marriage is being redefined in a way that is broader than the sex of the parties:
While modern cultural changes have weakened the link between marriage and procreation in the popular mind, there is no doubt that, throughout human history and across many cultures, marriage has been viewed as an exclusively opposite-sex institution and as one inextricably linked to procreation and biological kinship. The other, newer view is what I will call the “consent based” vision of marriage, a vision that primarily defines marriage as the solemnization of mutual commitment — marked by strong emotional attachment and sexual attraction — between two persons. At least as it applies to heterosexual couples, this view of marriage now plays a very prominent role in the popular understanding of the institution. Indeed, our popular culture is infused with this understanding of marriage. Proponents of same-sex marriage argue that because gender differentiation is not relevant to this vision, the exclusion of same-sex couples from the institution of marriage is rank discrimination.
He is right. In order to avoid public disapproval for the "moral and sexual choices", LGBT couples have persuaded the court to devalue procreation and biological kinship so that marriage can be unlinked.

Note that I am quoting Kennedy on "choices". Sometimes I use that word, and a reader alleges that homosexuality is not a choice. If so, complain to Kennedy, not me.

Because of this devaluation, we see cases like yesterday's Cherokee Baby Veronica case where the court nullified the biological kinship of the dad so that some family court could give his baby to an adoptive couple, if that is argued to be in the BIOTCh (best interest of the child). We see family courts nullify parental rights every day.

Lesbian marriage is largely a plot to eliminate fathers from the lives of their kids. In many cases a lesbian couple is raising a kid, but there is also a real dad who seeks contact with the kid. Look again at Kennedy's argument:
And it humiliates tens of thousands of children now being raised by same-sex couples. The law in question makes it even more difficult for the children to understand the integrity and closeness of their own family and its concord with other families in their community and in their daily lives.
This should be no surprise, as Kennedy also got this wrong in oral argument. For many kids, it is indeed hard to understand why they cannot see their real dads and why there are two women living in the house. Are those kids going to feel better if those women become exempt from the inheritance tax? Of course not.

Pres. Barack Obama put out this statement:
We are a people who declared that we are all created equal -- and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents' marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.
Here again is this silly argument about benefiting children by letting their parents get married. It is much more likely that the parents were already marriage and divorced, and now the mom wants to marry some lesbian that the kids despise. Now California is giving the lesbians respect so that they don't feel bad about cutting the dad out of the kids' lives.

Meanwhile, the pediatricians are on board with a new policy:
“Sexual-minority youth should not be considered abnormal,” the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) said in its new materials on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youths, released Monday.

The policy statement and technical report — which updates a 2004 policy — is nonbinding but recommends that pediatricians create offices that are “teen-friendly and welcoming to all adolescents, regardless of sexual orientation and behavior.”

Doctors can signal their openness to LGBTQ youths by putting out brochures with pictures of “both same- and opposite-gender couples” or posting a “rainbow” decal on an office door or bulletin board. The report also suggests that medical questionnaires be changed to be gender-neutral, and that staff be trained to not ask a boy about his girlfriend, but to ask him to “tell me about your partner” instead. ...

It covers problems such as eating disorders, substance abuse, depression, suicide ideation and sexual risk-taking, and identifies homophobia (“the irrational fear and resulting hatred of homosexuals”) and heterosexism (“the societal expectation that heterosexuality is the expected norm, and that, somehow LGBTQ individuals are abnormal”) as major sources of distress for LGBTQ youths.
Those pediatricians will happily prescribe ADHD meds, in spite of this:
If you or someone you know has a child that has been diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), chances are the child is actually just fine. At least this is what the "father" of ADHD, Leon Eisenberg, would presumably say if he were still alive. On his death bed, this psychiatrist and autism pioneer admitted that ADHD is essentially a "fictitious disease," which means that millions of young children today are being needlessly prescribed severe mind-altering drugs that will set them up for a life of drug addiction and failure.
I really don't want my pediatrician deciding what is normal and what is not. Just practice medicine.

Update: A local lesbian is all excited:
As a same-sex couple, we are asked why we care so much about the word "marriage." The word "marriage" conveys exactly the type of commitment that we have made. ...

When I say that we are "married," people know exactly what that means. It means that we have made a commitment for better or worse, through sickness and in health. It means she is not just my friend. Not my cleaning buddy. Not my business partner.

When I say that we are married, it means that Sharon is my wife. Proudly, unambiguously and till death do us part.
No, marriage does not mean a commitment until death. Not under current law. Either party may bail out at any time for any reason. Marriage has been redefined under the law, and that law includes unilateral (no-fault) divorce.


Anonymous said...

Hi Georgie Boy, (from "Seinfeld").
Regarding the last two sentences of paragraph 10: "Are those kids going to feel better if those women become exempt from the inheritance tax? Of course not." The kids may or may not feel better (depending on their age; also we have to be careful of mindreading here). HOWEVER, there
will definitely be extra money for childrearing because the two women do not have to pay inheritance tax just as a heterosexual married couple does not. (Hopefully, they will choose to use all or part of the money for childrearing which, as you know, gets expensive!)

George said...

Use the money for child-rearing?! The woman who won the Supreme Court case is 84 years old.

Anonymous said...

I wrote what I wrote because you were referencing "lesbian couples" in general. My comments did not speciyfy the 84 woman in the lawsuit.
BTW, I think the insurance issue is an important one as well.
P.S. Stop eating the chocolate-dipped twinkies!

George said...

Hardly anyone rears kids with spousal inheritance money. Not even Anna Nicole Smith. If lesbians have this concern, it is easier to just buy a life insurance policy.

The court opinions had nothing to do with insurance. Prop. 8 had no effect on insurance.

Twinkies are currently off the market, because the bakery went under. I could not eat them even if I wanted to.

Anonymous said...

Don't estate taxes start on estates somewhere north of $1 million? So a lesbian heir could have used at least the first $1 million to benefit any children.

Shouldn't we be equally concerned about children growing up on communes where the adults practice free love (or open relationshilps or polyamory or whatever is the politically correct term now)? Won't they be humiliated by their inability to understand federal estate tax law?

Same-sex marriage would probably have passed in California in 2012, not even 2014. I asked state Senator Joe Simitian last year if we call ourselves Democrats why not have the state legislature put it on the ballot last year. He sat the LGBT groups wanted a Supreme Court ruling rather than a vote of the people. Now based on the reasoning in the Court's opinion, we got neither.

Anonymous said...

Minors can't enter into contracts so they don't have a "partner". Homosexual boys and girls might have "significant others" -- maybe two or three, not just one and only. Certainly a bisexual might have at least two!

George said...

Yes, if an estate is large enough to be taxable, then it is much more than is needed for child-rearing.

I think that the California LGBT folks would have been much better off putting an initiative on the ballot in 2014. It would pass, according to the polls, and then they could claim legitimate public approval.