Some people might think this is enlightening, but how many specials do you see CNN doing talking about being “White in America,” “Hispanic or Latino in America,” or “Asian in America” and give the same coverage of relevant statistics and personal examples of negative aspects that exist in their respective communities as done for its special Black in America? For example, growing methamphetamine drug abuse and a larger percentage of whites are on welfare will less likely be highlighted if CNN ran a special called “White in America.”
But, what is really appalling is that CNN had the nerve to ask the question in an article, “Is Marriage Really for White People?” on its website recently. Wow! Has 54 years of integration since the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education in Topeka, KS where they reversed the ruling of the Doctrine of Separate but Equal as the federal law of the land in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1954 produced this type of blatant media question to have legitimacy in 2008? Instead of just blaming CNN for publicizing this type of nonsensical question, I want to use this article to highlight some legal and financial advantages of marriage.
Marriage is an institution in which interpersonal relationships (usually intimate and sexual) are acknowledged by the state or by religious authority. The right to marry is a fundamental right that is protected by the constitution. Marriage is an example of how the church and the state are intermingled. Individual states, and not the federal government, has jurisdiction over marriage. However, the state's power to regulate marriage is not unlimited and is subject to constitutional limitations.
All 50 states and one district of the United States have statutes that allow a man and a woman to be married. If you are Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, or any other recognized religious practice, the state usually allow couples to apply for a marriage license after performing their religious ceremony for marriage. However, if you do not practice a recognized religious practice, the state government allows couples to get married through a ceremony performed by a government official as well. Usually, this type of civil marriage is performed by a justice of the peace or other recognized government official.
There are advantages to marriage. One is that it results in a civil contract creating a new status. The new status is that a husband and wife are considered one unit instead of two separate units when it comes to legal, financial and social benefits. Once an individual is married, that status terminates only upon death, dissolution or annulment. Listed below are nine categories of the benefits of being married.
Married couples can file married filing joint on their federal and state tax returns. This status has the lower taxable rate afforded to it under the Internal Revenue Code and respective state revenue codes. Another tax benefit is that married couples can create a “family partnership” under federal tax laws which allow couples to divide business income among family members.
Estate Planning Benefits
Married couples can obtain insurance benefits through a spouse’s employer. During employment, a spouse can take family leave to care for your spouse during an illness with federal protection. Another benefit is that you can receive wages, workers’ compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse. Also, a person can take bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse’s close relative dies.
If married, you can visit your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility. Also, you can make medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.
Spouses can consent to after-death examinations and procedures. Also, a spouse can make burial or other final arrangements.
A married couple can file for stepparent or joint adoption. Also, a married couple can apply for joint foster care rights. A spouse can receive equitable division of marital property if a divorce is finalized. Another benefit is a former spouse can receive spousal or child support, child custody and visitation if a divorce is finalized.
Married couples can live in neighborhood zones for “families only.” Also, a married couple can automatically renew leases signed by only one spouse.
Married couples receive family rates for health, homeowners’, auto and other types of insurance. These rates are lower than those for single persons. Also, married couples receive tuition discount and permission to use school facilities. Married couples can participate in other consumer discounts and incentives offered only to married couples or families.
Listed above are nine examples of the benefits of being married. There are more and if interested, please feel free to consult a lawyer, accountant and/or spiritual counselor before you decide to venture into marriage. Also, I want to make it very clear that being married should not be a determination based on race or ethnicity. Never did you hear the Jewish community even pose this question, “Is marriage really for Germans?” while they suffered through the holocaust. They continued to get married because they knew through their faith and their continued existence that it was an ideal thing to partake in even in the midst of turmoil and adversity. Like our Jewish brothers and sisters, we should not allow CNN or our own perceived failings to cloud our judgment into thinking that we are not able to share in things like marriage that are considered to be part of the American dream.
I am 26+ years old and still look forward to marrying a brother in the future. I had an opportunity to walk down the aisle when in college, but I refused to act like a feudal serf being run by a feudal lord when my father treated me exactly like one of the scenes in Eddie Murphy’s comedic hit, Coming to America. I could become bitter and give up hope like many displayed in the CNN special. But, if we continue to view the glass as half empty, we will continue to allow others to dictate our destiny. I for one want to take the opportunity to view the glass as half full and find ways and solutions to statistically make our situation better and even our own personal life more fruitful even in the midst of adversity. If giving our community information regarding the benefits of marriage will help in that effort, then I am willing to serve as that conduit.
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