Sue Everhart, chairwoman of the Georgia Republican Party, has drawn a line deep in the sand. Gay marriage, she told the Marietta Daily Journal, is simply a tool for defrauding the government of public benefits. And obviously any situation in which fraud could occur should be banned.
Via Talking Points Memo, here's Everhart's argument, in her own words:
"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."
But it's also a weird argument. 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.
And jobs. Some people in Georgia collect unemployment benefits even though they've already found more work. Clearly, having jobs available to Georgians is too much for criminals to resist.
Most worrying of all, of course, is this data point: A full 100 percent of existing marriage-based fraud in the state of Georgia occurs between opposite-sex married couples. Every existing case in which a couple married to get benefits they would otherwise not be entitled to has involved a man and a woman — a bit of data that will almost certainly cause Everhart many sleepless nights.
Although there are some indications that Everhart's opposition to gay marriage isn't actually "all about" the free ride. She also said the following things to the Daily Journal:
"[I]t is not natural for two women or two men to be married,” Everhart said. “If it was natural, they would have the equipment to have a sexual relationship."
(Note: There may be some gay people who believe that they have precisely the right equipment for a sexual relationship.)
"But if I had a next door neighbor who was in a gay relationship, I could be just as friendly to them as I could be to you and your wife or anybody else. I’m not saying that we ostracize them or anything like that. I’m just saying I’m against marriage because once you get the gay marriage you get everything else."
Like insurance fraud. That, we cannot abide.