RUSH: Here is Paul in Nutley, New Jersey. It’s great to have you on the program, sir. Hello.
CALLER: (garbled cell) Hello, Rush. I’m thrilled to talk to you, and this is an olive branch from a gay conservative Catholic Rush Limbaugh fan and regular listener.
RUSH: Love to have you out there, man. It’s great to know you’re there.
CALLER: Yeah, you know, I think on the Supreme Court case, I think it’s in conservative core values not to have the federal government fight an 83-year-old woman for inheritance from her partner.
RUSH: That’s DOMA.
CALLER: Yes. It’s DOMA. So, you know, Edie Windsor and Thea Spire were together for 44 years.
CALLER: They bought a house together.
RUSH: Look, that’s a no-brainer. Once the pictures of that woman —
CALLER: What the case is all about is a $360,000 tax bill that was caused by the law that Clinton signed in 1997, the Defense of Marriage Act. So I think it’s in our core values. We don’t need make it any bigger than it is. You know, let’s get the point out there that I think Clinton’s Defense of Marriage Act, and Hillary’s support for it over the years, and Obama’s sound bites —
RUSH: Wait. Let’s stick with Clinton and DOMA.
RUSH: Why did he do it in the first place? What was the point of Clinton and the Defense of Marriage Act?
CALLER: You know, the Defense of Marriage Act, I guess, was kind of a compromise. You know, as states were starting to enact civil unions or domestic partnerships, it was to say that federally, if a state enacts domestic partner civil union — in my case New Jersey or marriage in New York or other states — they still would have to pay federal estate taxes if one of them died. Okay, so there’s Edie Windsor’s case in United States v. Windsor, the United States Supreme Court case against her.
The federal government wants to tax her $360,000 for the property that they bought over the course of their 40 years together and for the retirement plan that they together budgeted and saved over the years. So Edie and Thea were legally married in Canada in 2007. Had you and Kathryn got married in 2007 in Canada, and you had an estate the same size of theirs, if one of you died, the other would inherit it with no taxes. But in this case, the federal government or legal system has been fighting this 83-year-old lesbian for five years to take her inheritance.
RUSH: Well, but see, this is where everybody melts, because the law was the law. That’s the reason I asked you, “Why did Bill Clinton push DOMA? Bill Clinton’s a liberal Democrat. What in the world was going on? Of all people to push the Defense of Marriage Act, why him?” DOMA does what?
CALLER: There was a lot of dissatisfaction with Clinton back in the day. There were hopes when he first got elected. Remember the other thing that he gave us was “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military. That and DOMA are probably the two most harmful things that have ever been done to gays.
RUSH: But he did them in order to stay at 65% approval and to get reelected.
RUSH: Because that was the prevailing public opinion at the time, which is not that long ago. DOMA’s 1997, right?
CALLER: Right. Now that Obama looks at it, he and Hillary Clinton have “evolved” to change their mind on it because it’s politically expedient. But I just think if we can get the debate point out there that in this Supreme Court case, it’s a conservative core value that there shouldn’t be this unfair death tax — and if you look at the dollars that, it’s $360,000. So if Edie Windsor loses this case, and she has to pay $360,000, she’ll be penniless. She’ll qualify for Medicaid and then, you know, in her eighties as her health goes downhill the government will be paying for her medical care. If she gets to keep the $360,000 that they saved together in her half of the house, she’ll be able to pay for own medical care in her final years.
RUSH: Well, in Clinton’s case, I think he signed on to DOMA for a lot of reasons. One of the reasons was that he didn’t want to be accused of supporting same-sex marriage. There just wasn’t anything in it in 1997 to be gained by a politician for supporting same-sex marriage. Now, the two women that you’re talking about.
RUSH: The law of the land is what it is, and now sympathy has arisen.
CALLER: Yeah, but you know, you say that, but it’s really more complicated than that, because they were New York residents. So New York does recognize their marriage. So they don’t pay state taxes, New York state estate taxes. They only pay federal. You know, so it’s more complicated. And, again, I just think that if we —
RUSH: So what do you think conservatives should stand for? They should stand for the idea that two people that are partners, though not married, should benefit as married couples do at the time to divide estates?
CALLER: Yeah. I think when you start off a conversation… You know, in my opinion there is — I’m a Catholic. It’s much different asking for the sacrament of holy matrimony in the Catholic, which I don’t want, than to ask to be able to pass half a house that we bought together on to the other one and to visit each other in the hospital. So just like Sarah Palin did in the debates. I think it’s fine to eliminate the death tax for same-sex partners and to allow them to visit each other in the hospital. You know, right now if I show up at a hospital in New Jersey and one of us is sick and we have our civil union certificate, they’ll look at it and say, “What the hell is that?” Later we could win in court, but, I mean, we can’t visit each other in the hospital.
RUSH: So basically you’re advocating all of that be made legal but not marriage?
CALLER: I guess what I’m saying is that legally when we talk about taxes or visiting each other in the hospital —
RUSH: Well, if these two women were sisters –if they were sisters — she would have to pay this tax. Why isn’t it discrimination if sisters can’t get married?
CALLER: If they’re sisters, yeah, I guess they would. You know, what I say is these are two women that were under the radar for 40 years buying a house together. What business do Obama and President Clinton President Clinton have in spending millions of dollars fighting them in court to take the $360,000, half of the retirement plan, and the house?
RUSH: Single case. The problem is that the law is the law, and it’s applicable in this case. Anyway, that’s what it’s all about. Look, I’m out of time, sadly. I really don’t have any more, but I’m glad you called, and I’m glad you’re out there. I appreciate your taking the time.
RUSH: Let’s take a look at that using this DOMA case here just a second, shall we, folks? … Okay, take the Widow Windsor in the DOMA case, as I mentioned to the caller from Nutley, New Jersey. If Edie Windsor, the woman in this case, and her partner were sisters, she’d have to pay this tax.
So why isn’t it discrimination that sisters cannot marry in order to avoid this tax? Now you see, the approach here to support this for conservatives is, “Hey, you guys don’t like taxes. We all think government takes too much money and government’s too powerful. So we ought to come together on this and agree that Edie Windsor ought to be able to have her marriage acknowledged so that she doesn’t have to give up any of her inheritance, like a standard spouse would not have to give up when he or she became widowed or widowered.”
It illustrates, I think, an interesting point. Maybe… Let’s throw this out there. Maybe the libertarians have a point on this. The problem is that we give benefits that we shouldn’t give. Folks, I’m gonna tell you something: The government starts passing out money, and that’s it. You talk to any beat copy in a city with homeless shelters and the minute the word spreads, “There’s free food,” the lines increase like crazy. You start giving things away… When people realize the government exists or think the government exists for them to live off of and to get money, what are they gonna do?
Try this: Enrollment in food stamps is skyrocketing. Now, theoretically we’re in an economic recovery. I’m saying “theoretically.” In the media, and in the realm of low-information voters, we’re in a recovery, right? To low-information voters who pay attention only to the mainstream media and the Obama-loving Twitter universe, we’re in a recovery. Well, that ought to cause a reduction in food stamp rolls, and it always has. In the past when the economy was growing, enrollment in such programs like the food stamp program decline.
It’s the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, the buy-beer-with-a-government-credit card program. Those participants usually decrease in number; it’s not happening. As our economy continues into recovery (ahem), the food stamp rolls are increasing. Now, I know the economy isn’t in recovery, so it sort of blows the theory. But just for the sake of argument, maybe the problem is here is money, that we are giving benefits that we ought not give. Maybe there ought not be any government financial benefit to being married. Then a lot of these issues might go away.
Not all of them, though, because a lot of people on the gay marriage side are simply looking to have their behavior sanctioned with the official government approval of marriage. It’s a quest, for lack of a better word, for “normalcy.” But why are there financial benefits in marriage? Why is there the personal exemption for every crumb cruncher you produce? Because the state has a vested interest in the population maintaining or growing, and an acknowledgement by the state that it’s expensive to have children.
You have to feed them, you have to clothe them, and so forth. So there was a basic acknowledgement of two things: It was in the state’s interest, the society’s interest, the population’s interest for there to be — at least at bare minimum — a replacement level birthrate. Meaning: Keep the population what it is. Ideally you want a growing population. So the benefits were meant to encourage families. But we’ve blown the notion of family to smithereens, or we’re in the process of it. So that argument has sort of been watered down.
In other words, the Widow Windsor should have to pay $363,000 she owed in back taxes just like anybody else would that isn’t married, that inherits money. There’s a 55% inheritance tax. But maybe we ought to say that nobody gets any breaks because of being married. No health care breaks, no tax breaks, no nothing. In fact, that may be the way things are bound to turn out, because we can’t afford all of this anyway. We can’t afford to give breaks even to opposite-sex marriages. Look at me! There I go, bastardizing my own term. “Opposite-sex marriage.”