I’m usually frustrated by political culture warriors like former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.
He annoys me because he dresses like a chump, seems stiff as a board, and opposes pretty much everything I consider fun.
He touts himself as a “family values” candidate, which I find funny because I can’t find anyone who describes himself as being “anti-family values.”
For once, however, I’ll give it to Santorum: America needs more married couples.
Philly in particular.
And I don’t mean that in a trite and cliché way, either. Marriage is a benefit to the economy.
Married people buy more stuff, including houses. They cut down on health-care costs because they’re eligible for shared employer benefits.
Married people are also far less likely to raise knucklehead children who will, statistically speaking, mug at least a few of the fine, kindhearted Star readers in the near future.
Indeed, an upsurge in local marriages would be a boon to a broke city.
We should encourage all lovebirds to get married and hopefully stay married.
And that should include gay people.
Right now, Philly has one of the healthiest housing markets in the country. The riverward neighborhoods are living proof of that, considering how everyone in East Kensington is either riding a vintage fixed-gear bicycle or drinking at Johnny Brenda’s at this very second.
If you wanted to inject a whole population of folks into this city capable of gentrifying more neighborhoods and pumping dollars into the local economy, all you have to do is legalize gay marriage.
Legalized gay marriage would lure countless homosexual couples to an already-hot housing market.
Gay couples often have more discretionary income than straight couples, simply because gay folks don’t have as many children (unless they adopt or have in-vitro science babies). While you and your husband stay home on the weekend to save money for baby clothes, a gay couple could be out patronizing local businesses.
But Pennsylvania, thanks to politicians like Santorum, isn’t a very attractive place for gay couples.
The state, in general, doesn’t recognize gay marriage (obviously), civil unions or domestic partnerships.
Philly bucks that trend and at least allows gay couples to enter domestic partnerships, but it doesn’t offer as many rights to the couple as those enjoyed by “traditional” married folks.
Except now that Santorum and the culture warriors have re-entered the political spectrum, various loudmouths will fight against efforts to legalize same-sex marriage even in the face of its obvious benefits.
It’s not clear to me why social conservatives and church-goers oppose gay marriage. Well, I understand their opposition is based on religious grounds.
I don’t care about that.
It’ll probably be a cold day in Kensington when a gay couple get married in St. Anne’s Church — except that the pro-gay marriage argument has nothing to do with religion.
Nobody is saying that gay folks should be allowed to get married in the Lord’s house.
They just want to get married in the court’s house.
Aside from being illogical — and detrimental to the economy, not to mention basic civil rights — opposition to gay marriage on religious grounds breaks down the barrier of church and state, which guys like Santorum love.
It’s exactly the same as Christians demanding that no restaurants be able to serve meat on Fridays during Lent, and I don’t know about you, but I enjoy a good cheeseburger on Friday nights and I don’t think anybody’s personal religious beliefs should infringe on my right to get fat at McDonald’s any time I choose.
Personally, when Santorum and his supporters start barking about gay marriage, I respond with a simple, “Why do you care?”
It doesn’t affect them.
If gay marriage were legalized in Philly tomorrow and wedding bells rang out in the Gayborhood, anyone living in Port Richmond?
“Live and let live” is an idea we should all embrace, especially when it will benefit our communities, our city, and our country. ••
“Riverward Rants” reflects the opinions of Joe Quigley, a Fishtown resident, area native and writer of the Web site PhillyNeighbor.com, where he makes cynical (and uncensored) comments about life in the riverwards. He can be reached at JQuig1984@gmail.com