In a statement reported and published by the Marietta Daily Journal on Saturday, Georgia GOP Chairwoman Sue Everhart warns that legalizing same-sex marriage could open the door for marriage fraud by allowing straight people seeking marital benefits to easily take advantage of the system by faking a gay marriage. With an increasing number of Americans voicing support for marriage equality across the nation, Everhart’s statement seems to be another tactic being used by opponents within the GOP to sway those who support the legalization of same-sex marriage.
“You may be as straight as an arrow, and you may have a friend that is as straight as an arrow. Say you had a great job with the government where you had this wonderful health plan. I mean, what would prohibit you from saying that you’re gay, and y’all get married and still live as separate, but you get all the benefits? I just see so much abuse in this it’s unreal. I believe a husband and a wife should be a man and a woman, the benefits should be for a man and a woman. There is no way that this is about equality. To me, it’s all about a free ride,” Everhart said to the Journal.
Everhart also expressed her argument that homosexuality is “not natural” and it is obvious that she is not an advocate for the recent gay-rights movement.
However, the support for same-sex marriage has skyrocketed, with citizens and government officials showing their support. In the Facebook and Twitter world, a logo with a pink equal sign encased in a red box went viral during last week’s Supreme Court hearings and is being displayed as the profile pictures of thousands of supporters for marriage equality. The red logo seen on Facebook mirrors the logo with the blue box encasing a yellow equal sign that is used by the Human Rights Campaign.
Everhart’s claim of possible same-sex marriage fraud is unsubstantiated, as there are already opportunities to cheat the marital systems in place, such as a marriage with a man and woman or a marriage involving an immigrant. Both of these marital statuses have encountered marriage fraud in the past, and it seems there will always be those “bad apples” that take advantage of any beneficial system offered.
Nevertheless, it does not look like Everhart will be changing her profile picture to red anytime soon.
Krysta Loera is a writer and researcher with Ring of Fire.