Tuesday, August 18, 2009

So getting fake-married in NV...

...will cost almost as much as -- or more! -- than getting real-married.

Odd, no?

I'm very pleased that SB283 passed and that Miles and I will be able to register as domestic partners in Nevada. According to the new law, the term "domestic partner" equals "spouse" wherever in Nevada law "spouse" is written. So it's virtual marriage except we can't call it that and it means nothing to the federal government or most other states. Oh, and nobody's employers are required to provide health benefits to same-sex partners or, presumably, any children you have together.

Today, Secretary of State Ross Miller issued the instructions on how same-sex and unmarried heterosexual couples can sign up. The new law goes into effect on Oct. 1, and Miller says he wants to give folks a chance to have their registrations in hand the day it becomes legal. "October 1st is shaping up to be a very important and festive day for many Nevadans," Miller said in a press release. That's great, and Oct. 1 actually has special resonance for Miles and me as it will be the 5th anniversary of our first date.


I'm baffled by the cost. We have to pay $50 to register, plus the cost of a notary public to certify it. This being Vegas, there's also a deluxe model, too; for a $15 upgrade, you can have a "ceremonial certificate" as opposed to merely a "black and white certificate." Here's what the fancy version looks like:

Meanwhile, it costs $55 for a hetero-marriage license. With that comes the whole enchilada -- pension and Social Security benefits and the other gazillion federal benefits being legally married provides. Dunno if it's as pretty as all that, but most people stick it in a drawer anyhow, right?

Seems to me that the cash-strapped Silver State has realized this darn thing could be revenue-positive. Let's make a few bucks off the grateful gays, why don't we? There's no other explanation as to why getting fake-married could cost $65 but getting real-married costs $55, is there? It certainly isn't much of a deal, really.

I know, I know. We should just shut up and be happy we got anything at all and not get all uppity in demanding a price befitting the product we're receiving. But these costs are totally arbitrary in the first place. They're symbolic, not related to any specific or actual costs. You tell me: Under what other circumstances would anyone pay the same or more for about 75 percent less of something?

And one more thing. I'm thinking the fine folks in the Secretary of State's office had a fun time coming up with those gender-neutral surnames with those oh-so-QUEER middle initials, huh? How much you wanna bet someone made references to the classic SNL skits around the office while conjuring this up?


mike_ch said...

Weren't you the one saying gay marriage would make an economic killing?

Well, there you go. ;)


Yes. For PRIVATE businesses and then, perhaps, for the guvmint through taxes. This is the worst of both worlds -- it's not real marriage, it benefits no private business and the guvmint smells a payday. Nice.

Anonymous said...

God, you fags can never be satisfied. you peeple shouldnt even be geting this much. you all disgust me. gross. back in the closet!

Jay said...

What do you think of removing marriage from government? I for one resent any government telling me who I can and can't associate with in whichever way I choose, so long as I hurt no other person. I understand there'd be some issues with social security (which I also want out of) and such, but it would be great if two people could just do whatever they wanted without having to pay government for this and that and fill out forms and play the whole politics game.

mike_ch said...

Wow, I was afraid my post would look a little bit callous. Yet then Anonymous came through the room and now I'm not worried anymore!

Charles in Richmond, VA said...

The middle initial "Q" is probably related to the common phrase "John Q. Public". Sometimes a letter is just a letter.

DrSteggy said...

FWIW--the cost to get the hetero license is now $60 (we just got married in Vegas 3 weeks ago), no notary. I think it was $60 to the minister to, to make it actually legal after the Fun Ceremony With Elvis.

I think that NOT allowing same sex couples to marry is pretty stupid. I have one friend who'd still be alive now if she could have taken advantage of her partner's medical insurance :(

And the previous commentor makes me feel ashamed of straight people. You disgust me, anonymous. :P

Brogan Family said...

Ok, I thought that was crazy price wise, I mean MORE for domestic partnership (that sure sounds like pricing for the market and not cost based as a govt cost should be) that's well, not fair. But according to this, its $60 for a marriage license, non-keepsake quality I imagine, which makes it less expensive (domestic partner at $50)? I guess that includes the notary though.



Jay: I would support removing government from marriage, sure, but since it's not going to happen it's more of an intellectual exercise than a practical one.

Mike_Ch: I approved the mean message b/c I think I know who wrote it and I find homophobes tend to discredit themselves if I just allow their comments to be published. But your remark wasn't offensive at all!!!

Steggy: Congrats! And thanks for the clarification, re: $60. My view still stands, though. The prices are arbitrary and therefore primarily symbolic. Also, the $60 price is there mainly as a form of a tax on tourists, who account for most marriages in the state. This one will be borne entirely and solely by Nevada residents.

Charles: I'm not offended by the Q -- it's actually a fun wink, along with the gender-neutral names -- but I disagree that it wasn't intentional.

Anonymous said...

I think the other posters are right. The domestic partnership certificate is still cheaper -- unless you buy the fancy version. The cost of marriage certificates varies by county, but appears to be $55 to $60 in major ones.

Incidentally, I don't think Nevada requires private companies to provide health insurance for heterosexual spouses or their children either.

And as you know, the state can't do anything about the federal government's definition of marriage. Or other states that have amended their laws to recognize only marriages between one man and one woman.

So it sounds like your only beef with the state is that it's not officially called marriage -- though you're free to call it whatever you want -- marriage, fake marriage, virtual marriage, whatever.

Michael said...

Small win I guess, although I'm not huge on symbolic wins that have no benefits and this one sort of stinks of revenue generation and 'pandering' without any results.

One point though, many large corporations are starting to recognize benefits for same sex partners and are pushing for legislation that allows it as well. Now whether or not it will become defined as marriage, I'm sure they are uninterested in (you'll still have to fight the Quakers on that). But it's only good business to keep your employees happy and on a level playing field with co-workers. I know my company (It's big and blue) has made efforts to provide for same sex relationships.

I guess what I'm saying is practicality is going to win out at some point with this, while I'm not sure if the electorate will ever sign off on calling it 'marriage' (sigh). There is going to have to be some fairness applied at the very least to give same sex partners the same 'benefits' (I use the term loosely) as married partners. And as I'm sure you are aware, benefits being the loose term in relation to things such as estate issues and other things that realistically shouldn't even be argued.


Anon: Yes, my beef is the cost. Because the cost is arbitrary and it does not reflect the value of the product purchased as compared to the cost of the real thing. To me, that means the state saw an opportunity to cash in on us. It's essentially a gay tax.

Anonymous said...

Seems to me that the cost would reflect the cost to the State of Nevada to process and implement these certificates, since the Government of the State is not a profit making enterprise. It would seem that the economy of scale for the millions of marriage licenses that are purchased annually by couples who are only visiting Las Vegas and getting married would make tremendously more profit for the State of Nevada than the thousands of Domestic Partner certificates purchased by Nevada residents only.

Jeff in OKC

Jay said...

"Also, the $60 price is there mainly as a form of a tax on tourists, who account for most marriages in the state."

I got married in Vegas, but I used the winnings I had from the craps table so it was basically a zero sum game.

I tried to be more lighthearted but now I'm more angry. I had to pay a fee in order to have some symbolic union with my wife. Whatever your preference, that is just plain wrong.

What's Vegas like during Christmas? Wife and I are spending the holiday out there because for some reason we think it might be neat.


Jay: LOL. Also, I love Vegas at Xmas. The Bellagio Conservatory is gorgeous, the weather is cool enough to really enjoy Valley of Fire and Red Rock and Death Valley and the prices are pretty low up until Xmas night. New Year's is fun or obnoxious, depending on your view, but I do love this part of the year.