On Saturday, RNC Chair Michael Steele decided that the way to make the GOP more gay-friendly was to recast their stance on marriage to a simple question of economics (and not civil rights). Steele claims that recognizing gay marriage could put a dent in the pocketbooks of small businesses as they are forced to provide additional health and other benefits:
Now all of a sudden I’ve got someone who wasn’t a spouse before, that I had no responsibility for, who is now getting claimed as a spouse that I now have financial responsibility for. So how do I pay for that? Who pays for that? You just cost me money.
Andrew Tobias takes this argument at face value:
He’s spot on, which is why the GOP should come out against marriage generally, not just same-sex marriage. Married workers cost more if you provide family health insurance. So the smart hiring order is: single people first; and then married gay people (who are less likely to have kids needing health insurance and more likely to have working spouse’s with their own health insurance), and then, if you absolutely must, married heterosexual couples. It’s just good business.
UPDATE: My wife points out that I’m missing Steele’s point. Silly me. Steele is not arguing against gay marriage, he’s arguing for single payer health insurance (or at least universal coverage). That way the pocketbooks of small businesses won’t have to spend anything on health care. It’s just good business!
Read what people in Massachusetts think about gay marriage, five years after it was made legal there.
No, he’s wrong. Most employers pay for the employee’s insurance and the spouse/dependent coverage is paid for by the employee. So there is no further burden on the employer. Besides, isn’t he just arguing against marriage in general, then?
Oh duh, Sammy! I just re-read the Tobias rebuttal and he already made the point. Too early on a Monday for full comprehension.
Sammy, you still make a good point. I work with small businesses, and most (if not all) small businesses don’t pay health insurance for spouses. So Steele’s argument is completely vacuous, and his claim that gay marriage is not a civil rights issue is disingenuous at best.