Art by Travis Chatham
The List: Rights Denied
Last week’s California Supreme Court invalidation of nearly 4,000 same-sex marriages performed in San Francisco earlier this year was not just personally devastating for the couples involved; it also voided state and federal rights and responsibilities that the couples temporarily gained when they acquired married status. And though gay couples will gain some additional rights when California’s Registered Domestic Partner Rights and Responsibilities Act takes effect on January 1, 2005, married couples will still have more rights than registered gay couples. Some of the state and federal rights and responsibilities granted exclusively to heterosexuals are listed below.
1. Property interests, including patents and copyrights, governed by federal law.
2. State constitutional guarantees for protection of separate property.
3. Ability to file joint state or federal income tax returns.
4. Ability to obtain tax treatment that takes relationship into account (partial rights granted to domestic partners).
5. Exemption from reassessment under Proposition 13 of jointly held property be-tween partners, upon separation or termination of the relationship or after death.
6. Exemption from property tax on the homes of survivors of veterans who died on active duty.
7. Partial exemption from property tax provided survivors of certain veterans.
8. Unlimited exemptions from federal gift and estate taxes on transfers to partner.
9. Recognition of relationship under the California Political Reform Act and Proposition 34.
10. Exclusion of interest in the income of one’s partner from certain conflict-of-interest laws.
11. Coverage or relationship under conflict-of-interest rules governing Coastal Commission members and employees.
12. Coverage under federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on being or not being in the legal relationship.
13. Rights under immigration laws.
14. Social Security rights.
15. Medicare rights.
16. Rights under federal housing and food-stamp programs.
17. Veterans’ benefits.
18. Federal civilian-employee and military benefits.
19. Coverage under federal employment-benefit laws.
20. Coverage under federal financial-disclosure and conflict-of-interest laws.
21. Coverage under federal trade, commerce and intellectual-property laws.
22. Federal agricultural loans, guarantees and payments.
23. Rights under federal natural-resources laws.
24. Coverage under federal crimes and anti-violence laws.
25. Treatment as a couple under Indian-affairs laws.
26. Treatment as a couple under international laws and treaties.
27. Assured recognition and guaranteed provision of rights in other jurisdictions.
28. Recognition of out-of-state marriages as valid.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Campaigning in Sioux City, Iowa, on Saturday, President Bush had this to say about his opponent.
Begin video clip:
BUSH: And now almost two years after he voted for the war in Iraq, about 220 days after switching positions to declare himself the anti-war candidate, my opponent has found a new nuance.
End video clip.
MATTHEWS: Well, about 220 days ago, John Kerry was on Hardball, and I asked him about his views on Iraq. [Two sentences of the exchange were sent to Bush supporters by the Republican National Committee.] Let’s watch that exchange as it actually happened.
Begin video clip:
MATTHEWS: Do you think you belong in that category of candidates who more or less are unhappy with this war? The way it’s been fought? Along with General Clark, along with Howard Dean, and not necessarily in companionship politically on the issue of the war with people like Lieberman, Edwards and Gephardt? Are you one of the anti-war candidates?
KERRY: I am. Yes. In the sense that I don’t believe the president took us to war as he should have, yes. Absolutely. Do I think this president violated his promises to America? Yes, I do, Chris. Was there a way to hold Saddam Hussein accountable? You bet there was, and we should have done it right.
End video clip.
MATTHEWS: Let me go to Matt. Do you believe that your candidate, the president of the United States, accurately reflected in his comment that John Kerry called himself — declared himself — the anti-war candidate is an accurate representative of that dialogue between myself and John Kerry?
MATTHEW DOWD, SENIOR STRATEGIST, BUSH-CHENEY ’04: Yes. Obviously. The impression John Kerry was trying to leave when he was up against Howard Dean in the primary was he was the anti-war candidate after he voted for the resolution. That’s obviously what he was trying to do. He was trying to leave the impression that he either was the anti-war candidate or was becoming the anti-war candidate.
MATTHEWS: Well, Matt, let me get back to what the president said in Sioux City, Iowa, last week. He said . . . that John Kerry declared himself the anti-war candidate. The question to John Kerry was about whether — let’s listen to him again. Let’s get his words now, John Kerry’s.
Repeats video clip of Matthews-Kerry exchange.
MATTHEWS: Matt, again, do you think that was a fair representation, what the president said about what John Kerry said to me?
DOWD: You asked John Kerry a yes or no question. You said, “Are you the anti-war candidate?” And at . . .
MATTHEWS: No. I said, “Are you one of those — are you one of the anti-war candidates?”
DOWD: Yes. And he said, “Yes, absolutely.”
MATTHEWS: No. He said, “I am, yes, in the sense that I don’t believe the president took us to war as he should have . . .” Let me ask you, Matt, are you going to have the president stop saying that John Kerry, on our show, on Hardball, are you going to get him to stop saying that John Kerry declared himself the anti-war candidate, which is clearly not what he said, because I used the word anti-war candidate, and I referred to a number of them? . . . Is the president going to keep saying that something that was said on this show wasn’t said?
DOWD: Of course, he is. Why wouldn’t he? It’s what Senator Kerry said . . . You just showed it on TV. I think anybody watching this on . . . tonight on TV would think that Senator Kerry declared himself the anti-war candidate. I don’t see how anybody watching wouldn’t tell that.
—from MSNBC’s Hardball, August 16