The landmark lawsuit by Edith Windsor, a gay woman legally married in Canada who was told to pay tax on inheriting the estate of her deceased partner, begs a national, rational discussion regarding these benefits at this time of fiscal crisis. The U.S. Supreme Court has accepted the case, which could return some of $363,000 to Windsor ["Court can broaden marriage," Editorial, Dec. 10].
Federal financial marital benefits -- such as lower income taxes for married couples and more generous tax policies on real estate sales -- and civil unions have come to a point where the current benefit law no longer effectively serves the intended purpose: supporting families that raise the children.
Since by nature same-sex unions do not produce children, and children are an option for heterosexual couples, marital financial benefits should no longer be based on legal sexual union but on child rearing, which was the original social intent of the benefit law. All civil unions might be recognized, but the financial benefits should be limited to those who choose to raise biological or adopted children.
Can we afford to increase the national debt or family tax rates to provide the benefits? This discussion is the politically incorrect elephant in the room when considering gay rights, marriage and the Defense of Marriage Act, and ought to be addressed by the Supreme Court.
Nancy Fetherston, St. James