Monday, February 18, 2008

Civil Unions=Marriages? I Think Not

No surprise, really: In a study from New Jersey, it turns out that those LGBT couples who enter into a "civil union" (e.g., New Jersey, Connecticut) do not have or share the same advantages of "marriage" (e.g., Massachusetts). Civil unions simply do not offer the same legal rights or protections that marriage does in a court of law.

Notice here that I am not using the language of "gay marriage," because, first of all, it is not an all inclusive term, leaving out those who are lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered people. Secondly: the hope and the aim is marriage for all: gay, bisexual, transgender, lesbian, or straight people.

Third: last and not least, because of the rituals of modern American society, let alone the rituals and language of communities of faith, the very language of "civil unions" is awkward, not making those of us in such a relationship legally "husbands" or "wives," but still "partners," which we are before we enter a legally sanction, state-recognized "civil union." And our children still have an awkward time knowing how to refer to our relationship if we're not necessarily a married couple in the "eyes" of the state or religious community.

Governor Corzine of NJ is correct: he is willing to sign a marriage law for all in the state of New Jersey, but prefers not to do so in a presidential voting year, because of, well: the politics. The Republican party is already starting constitutional amendment initiatives in those states they missed in 2004, making "gay marriage" a "wedge issue" that divides voters in terms of voting a straight party line in one political party, and going for another political party.

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