or those of you fortunate enough not to have seen I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, here is the plot: Adam Sandler and Kevin James play two straight firefighters who, in a scheme to gain domestic partnership benefits, pretend to be gay and get married. For your consideration:
Now here is the gay-marriage scenario put forth by Sue Everhart, chairwoman of the Georgia Republican Party, according to the Marietta Daily Journal:
You may be as straight as an arrow, and you may have a friend that is as straight as an arrow. Say you had a great job with the government where you had this wonderful health plan. I mean, what would prohibit you from saying that you’re gay, and y’all get married and still live as separate, but you get all the benefits? I just see so much abuse in this it’s unreal. I believe a husband and a wife should be a man and a woman, the benefits should be for a man and a woman. There is no way that this is about equality. To me, it’s all about a free ride. [Marietta Daily Journal]
Is this a realistic scenario? Will straight men and women soon be flocking to preachers that look like Rob Schneider in the hopes of riding the gravy train that is gay marriage?
The problem with Everhart's logic, according to Steve Benen at The Maddow Blog, is that "if this is an argument against same-sex marriage, isn't it also an argument against opposite-sex marriage? After all, what's to stop a man and a woman who are friends from pulling the same scam?"
The federal government is already extremely serious about cracking down on marriage fraud. The Chicago Tribune reports that individuals in sham marriages for immigration purposes face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
Comparable cases involving gay marriage are difficult to find because, as the Huffington Post's Luke Johnson points out, "There isn't any evidence of widespread fraud following the adoption of gay marriage in nine states and the District of Columbia."
Philip Bump at The Atlantic says that if you are going to ban a practice for fear of fraud, you would have to move beyond marriage:
You know who else commits fraud in the state of Georgia? People who take out mortgages. Last year, a report suggested that the state was the nation's sixth-worst for fraudulent home loans. Since mortgages are such an enticement for abuse, then, it's only fair that the state ban borrowing to buy a home. [The Atlantic]
No word yet on Everhart's views on men named Deuce Bigalow, and whether they are, in fact, male gigolos.
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