The reason I didn't even suggest that is because it's unrealistic. Can you imagine the outrage if the government even thinks about thinking about removing marriage benefits? Can you? It would be worse than suggesting that taxes should go up 0.5%.
Right, well then in that case you need to expand them to remain just And that's what the pro-gay marriage groups are fighting for. Because the old model of "heterosexual marriage --> children" isn't generally applicable anymore.
How does it leave single parents out in the rain? As mentioned, we have programs for aid/entitlements for people with children but can't sustain themselves. Which I think is stupid, but whatever. We have them. If you want to make it so that homosexual couples can more easily get children and then give them benefits on a case by case basis with that as a factor, you're free to do so. If you want to remove said financial breaks from heterosexual couples as well until they get a brat of their own, I'm still fine with it. (Which ruins the 'incentive' thing mentioned earlier. I don't care much for the model, but that's just how it's set up as it is). I don't think you'll get anywhere with that argument, but you're free to make it. As for why I don't advocate for rights to be expanded equally...my first post was four paragraphs of why that isn't a good idea.
Edit: My point is that it's a more complex issue than just 'FREEDOM FOR EVERYONE. IF YOU DISAGREE, YOU'RE OLD RELIGIOUS COOT WHO SHOULD DIE IN A DITCH SOMEWHERE.' The entire infrastructure would have to be changed to allow for equal marital rights, which is no small task. I'm not even convinced that marriage is important enough to warrant such things, especially if the societal rights are meted out regardless (Such as the aforementioned visitation, attorney, property transferal, etc)
Sure thing, equality before the law before all else.
It wasn't really a big step forward when legalized here though. All it did was change the legal term "civil union" to "marriage" (...which it was already called in society anyway). And to allow priests to marry gay couples instead of just blessing them, but few people are really all that religious.
So the law merely caught up to where society had already gotten, sort of like an afterthought. Those in the US who expect that passing a law ahead of society will improve things for gay people will probably be disappointed. Whether the legal term is "civil union" or "marriage", how citizens look upon gay couples will be the same.
One have a right to be talked of/treated equally by the state, but not by private citizens, who have no obligation to socialize with one or show one any respect or empathy. And while the former is the most important, the latter seem to be what people value these days.
Torn between 'other' and 'marriage is between a man and a woman'. Before anyone nitpicks at what I'm about to say, this is all in a general sense. When I claim that having children is beneficial to society, for example, pointing to someone who never did a day's work in his life and then went on a murder spree that claimed the lives of 35 people isn't helping. 'kay? 'kay.
Anyway, the rights and benefits that come with being married are meant to be an incentive to have (and raise) a family. Having children is beneficial to society in a number of ways. Many countries have welfare and other such programs to help those with children (or at least more than those without) because they're so important. It's not impossible for homosexual couples to have kids or raise a family (I'll come back to this point later), but it's not something that they're affiliated with. Note; the fact that many heterosexual couples may not be capable of having/do not want a family is rather irrelevant. It is not a reward for having them, it's an incentive to make the option more attractive/sustainable/affordable. There are other benefits for actually going ahead and having children in addition to that.
There's also a financial aspect. Married couples benefit from substantial tax breaks, among other financial benefits. I strongly encourage everyone to take a good, long look at this. There are 1,138 benefits and responsibilities that come with legal marriage. It is a big deal, financially. Part of the reason that our debt is so high is because the US has had historically low taxes for some time now, for both within itself and compared to other countries (There are two links there).
Hate to say it, but we probably can't afford gay marriage at the moment. Sort of deep in a world-wide recession here. That, or raise taxes. And any American knows how well a Politician claiming that we need to raise taxes goes over with the public (Hint: They get thrown out of office immediately)
Are there some rights that I feel can be safely extended to homosexual couples, like the right to attorney or visitation? Sure. But financial incentives? Maybe on a case by case basis, if the couple in question adopts (I think it's illegal for most homosexaual couples to adopt in most/all states though. Not 100% on that) or has a child via artificial insemination or proxy. But full marriage rights/privileges? I don't think it's sustainable at this point in time.
And there better not be any 'Some people shouldn't suffer/have reduced rights based on availability/resources/whatever else' arguments. Because then you'd be a hypocrite.
If you ever have time you should read Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington's amicus brief in the DOMA case, it goes into a lot of detail about the ways in which the government not recognising same-sex marriages can actually cost the government more than if it did recognise them.
I can tell you that when I had a civil union, possible tax incentives did not factor one little bit into my decision, and in fact since my civil union I'm actually financially worse off, but this is in a different country to the US and tax and welfare and so on would probably work pretty differently over here.
Some gay couples are thousands of dollars worse off each year because they can't have their marriages recognised for income tax purposes, but for me and most other gay couples I know the other benefits and protections of marriage are a lot more important than the financial ones.
Even so, it's not our duty and would be an unfair burden to have placed on us a responsibility to prop up the economy with higher taxes just because we're gay.
How does it leave single parents out in the rain?
I was talking about the extension of marriage to everybody with the benefits left intact. That leaves signle parents out in the rain. You can try to fix it with separate support systems like the ones you mention, but it's more reasonable to just support children directly than to create this network of entitlements that may or may not benefit children, if any children are born, adopted, or even planned at all. It's a very basic issue: Stop subsidizing relationships. Obviously, marriages would still grant some benefits (like hospital visits and the like) but I'd get rid of the supposed "make babies"-incentive because it's simply not applicable.
The entire infrastructure would have to be changed to allow for equal marital rights, which is no small task.
Then it should be, simply as that. The whole current setup is outdated.