Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Hampshire Celebrates Civil Unions, While Oregon's Civil Partnership Law is Blocked!

What a fantastic way to start off the new year: New Hampshire is the fourth state to approve civil unions! Twenty couples have already signed up and had a late night service for their civil unions in the Granite State. Click here to the link.

But in what can only be called an unusual but apparently legal ruling, a federal judge stopped a new law in Oregon, in which lesbians and gays could enter into a civil partnership, being granted many of the same tax and legal benefits that heterosexuals enjoy in heterosexual marriages, all because of the question of the way signatures are verified in the state.

Again, as I have written in my book On Being a Gay Parent, given the modern construction of lesbian and gay relationships, we are aiming for the same benefits as married heterosexual couples, which, in terms of our families with children, give our children and us a "handle" or way of calling or addressing our otherwise "long term significant relationships," a.k.a., "a couple." While "same-sex union" and "civil unions" are nice cliches and get close giving us the tax and legal benefits of marriage (as an aside, what gay or straight relationship is always a civil union if it is a relationship that is alive and kicking?) it just isn't the same thing. Sometimes, language does matter. This is more than a game of euphemisms between "same sex unions" and "marriage." Click here to the link.

However, Oregon is instituting what we in North Carolina can only dream of : a state law banning discrimination in the workplace and housing based upon sexual orientation. This would have been a very helpful law in my latter days at Duke University.

Happy new year to one and all! May 2008 find us more blessed and in a slightly more progressive country than where we were in 2007!

Peace, Brett

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