Friday, June 20, 2008

Suffer the little children

Now I want to make something clear, right off from the start, this post is not about defending social security. I happen to think the evidence is overwhelming that social security is a rip off for almost everyone and that few groups or individuals wouldn’t be better off investing their social security payments in private annuities. I just want that out of the way because this does deal with social security and a recent case. Unfortunately you have to get to the end of the story to find out what is that really disgusted me.

The case in question dealt with a lesbian couple, Karen and Monique, who have a civil union in Vermont in 2002. In 2003 Monique gave birth to Elijah. On the birth certificate Karen was listed as “2nd parent” and on other document is listed as “civil union parent”.

In 2005 Karen was found eligible for disability benefits. She then applied for child’s insurance benefits for Elijah. That is when a parent is disabled and receiving benefits because of this disability the child usually receives benefits as well since the child is wholly or partially reliant upon the parent. This is not uncommon when a disability benefit is given to someone with dependent children.

What complicated the matter is the disgusting Defense of Marriage Act. Under DOMA the federal government is forbidden to recognize a same-sex relationship in regards to anything. So the question that the Social Security Administration was trying to decide was whether or not Elijah was ineligible for insurance benefits because the parent who was disabled was in a same-sex relationship.

The SSA people ruled that Elijah was qualified. They argued that child’s insurance benefits go to the child regardless of the marriage status of the parent. That is, even if the parents of a child are unmarried that does not disqualify the child from insurance benefits. What is being recognized is the legal status of the child Vis-à-vis the parent and not the related to the marriage of the parents at all. For instance, the child may even qualify if the parent is not biological parent of the child -- a grandparent raising a child who is disabled may mean the child qualifies for some benefits as well. Elijah’s benefits were derived from his status as the legal child of Karen and not from the the civil union status of his parents.

Of course, had Karen been deceased then Monique, her partner, would not be eligible for anything. This would be the case whether or not she was entirely dependent on Karen for her income. DOMA mandates that gay couples pay into the system equally but are that benefits be given out unequally.

Since I think the SSA did the right thing in recognizing Elijah as Karen’s legal, dependent child then what precisely about this case has me upset.

While SSA saw this as an issue of the child’s relationship to a parent and not about same-sex marriage the lovely Christians over at the Family Research Council are upset. Peter Spring, from this hateful gaggle of fundamentalists says that this ruling allowing Elijah to have benefits is “disappointing”. He noted that the Department of Justice, which made the ruling “could have and should have taken much more firm pro-family positions.”

I’m curious why people allow these bastards to get away with such rotten and dishonest language. To them the “pro-family” thing to do would be to say that a child with a disabled parent is ineligible to collect insurance benefits merely because the parent of the child is gay. In other words, because they are obsessed with a hatred for homosexuals, they feel that government must act in a manner to punish children for the sexual orientation of their parents. And this is called “pro-family”. Sickening.

Of course this rot about “pro-family” is a lot of rubbish. I’ve known these people up close and personal and they are often vicious to their own family in the name of their religion. The fact is that their hate far exceeds their ability to love.

When conservative Alan Keyes discovered that his loving daughter, Maya, was gay he threw her out of the house and stopped paying for her college education. Sweet. Religious Right leader Randall Terry found out his son Jamile was gay. He issued public statements attacking and insulting his son in some of the most vicious language I have ever seen a parent use.

Sadie Fields, the leader of the Christian Coalition in Georgia found out her daughter was gay. She showed up at the daughters job screaming at her. She told her daughter that she was now “dead” to the family. California state senator Peter Knight was famous for his antigay legislation. He found out that his son, a graduate of the Air Force Academy, was gay. He rejected his son with the same viciousness that he rejected his gay brother.

Rev. Jimmy Swaggart cheated on his wife with prostitutes. His “family values” was exhibited when he tried to convince a hooker to bring her underaged daughter into the sex scene that Swaggart was seeking. Rev. Ted Haggard, leader of the National Association of Evangelicals. was using drugs with a male prostitute and having sex with him. Rev. Jack Hyles ran the largest fundamentalist church in America for decades, while having a blatant affair with his secretary -- something he flaunted int he face of his wife. Jack’s son followed in daddy’s footsteps but didn’t stop when he had an affair with one woman. He had affairs with dozens of them. He dumped his wife to marry a “swinger”. And it got worse after that, leading to the death of one infant. Rev. Bob Gray pastored one of the largest fundamentalist churches in America as well. He also preyed on small girls sexually and had been doing for almost half a century before he was finally caught. And how did “moral majoritarian” Rev. Jerry Falwell deal with the actions of Rev. Gray. He went to Gray’s church and told the congregation that it was a “bump in the road”. “That’s all it is. You’ve got to move on.” But as one activist put it: “When 22 people report having been sexually abused as kids by a church’s founding pastor, it cannot rightly be minimized as a mere ‘bump in the road.’”

These are all prominent figures in the Religious Right and all of them are viciously antifamily. Look at how they treated their own family members. If you think about it you will realize that what they are doing is trying to make the law as vicious as they are. What upsets them is that most Americans would not treat their own family members this badly and certainly not in the name of being “pro-family”. So these fundamentalists are manipulating the laws in order to make the government punish these people because their own families aren’t.

In this case they wanted the federal government to punish a five year old boy because these Christians don’t like the fact that boy’s parents are lesbians. And they say they want the child punished to save the family. Apparently the relationship between this child and his parents aren’t “family” to these people. I have nothing but contempt for such cruelty and viciousness. Such cases are a good example as to why so many young people are walking away from the church. And I’m glad they are.

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