State of the union

Is it "gay marriage" or "civil union"? And is the battle over same-sex matrimony really "the most important issue in the nation today"?

Published June 9, 2006 10:00AM (EDT)

White House

GLBT Rights: The Struggle Continues, Worldwide

Caprice - 08:31 am Pacific Time - Jun 2, 2006 - #9 of 42

Until gay rights activists take the religiously loaded word "marriage" out of the equation, there will always be fiercer opposition.

I so fervently wish that we had promoted the phrase "civil union" or "domestic partnership" as opposed to "marriage." In my understanding, the former two cover more than just legal unions for G/L. For instance, two straight friends could enter into a domestic partnership, or an elderly, straight widow and widower (or divorced Catholics) could choose a civil union without the religious concerns being an issue.

Had the "gay marriage" movement been all-inclusive, much better (and much more persuasive) arguments could have been made to those straight persons choosing to feel threatened that the alleged sanctity of marriage was being dissed. Let the churches and religions deal with the sanctity issues in any manner they see fit -- the legality of partnership should be the activists' focus, not the God thing...

I am all in favor of legal unions for everyone, and if those people -- straight or gay -- want to pursue a religious union as well, then fine. I perceive a clear separation of the legal and religious meanings of marriage. A straight couple can get "married" in a church all day long, but if they have not registered their intent for legal partnership beforehand with the correct government office, their "marriage" has no legal bearing.

Let governments define the legality of a union, and let churches define the religious. Many religions already allow same-sex unions in their churches -- it's the legality of the unions we're fighting to have honored. At least, that's always been my understanding of what we're trying to accomplish.

White House

W's Theocracy III: A Faith-based Apocalypse

OBC - 05:22 am Pacific Time - May 30, 2006 - #201 of 408

I'll start by saying that I agree that same-sex couples might have the legal rights and shared responsibilities of spouses in a lot of states if they'd campaigned for "civil unions." So I'm not disagreeing with y'all on that.

But I also see why they want "marriage," not "civil union."

The issue with "marriage" vs. "civil union" is that civil union is perceived as a "second-class," inferior marriage. Accepting civil unions, i.e., accepting that what they'd have isn't marriage, is tantamount to accepting that gays are second-class citizens. It would be the same as if the suffragists had accepted a compromise that they could vote in local elections, but not for statewide or national offices. Or if the decision in Brown v. Board of Education had been that blacks be allowed to attend the same schools as whites, but they could be assigned to separate classrooms.

Gays don't just want the financial and legal security that either marriage or civil union would give them. They want the recognition that they are citizens, with all the rights that all citizens have.

That's not unreasonable.

They're losing a lot of battles by calling it "marriage" instead of settling for "civil union." But if they settle for "civil union," we'll have another Jim Crow era.

White House

W's Theocracy III: A Faith-based Apocalypse

pt bridgeport - 04:09 am Pacific Time - Jun 4, 2006 - #298 of 406

The marriages of ordinary heterosexuals aren't threatened when gays marry. But as the Resident so often reminds us when he tears up over the tender feelings of blastulae, we have to be concerned for the weakest and most vulnerable among us. The marriages of Republicans, especially of Republicans holding high office, have always been particularly fragile. The Gingriches and Livingstons and Hydes and Giulianis, always on the edge of that next marital breakup (or on the edge of that next homewrecking affair with the neighbor's wife), will just naturally find their own marriages threatened, even when all the rest of us are secure.

Have a little compassion for these guys. When you are committed to the worldview that it's every man for himself, give me mine and the hell with you, you are going to be right to suspect that your marriage might just blow away with the slightest puff of wind. It's threatened by any rise or fall in income, by the way the baby sitter looks in that yellow skirt, by the flutter of a butterfly wing in the Amazon. Why wouldn't it be threatened by gay marriage?

Families Who Think

M Crawford's Beach House Bar on Yak-and-Cake Key.

Nola - 07:49 am Pacific Time - Jun 7, 2006 - #8344 of 8441

Omigod, omigod, omigod. One of my U.S. Senators -- formerly my congressman -- is quoted in CNN today saying GAY MARRIAGE IS THE MOST IMPORTANT ISSUE IN THE NATION TODAY. Sweet Jesus. He's from LOUISIANA! I called his office and yelled at the poor intern manning the phones. Good lord, I'm married, what difference does it make to me if some gay couple gets married? Meanwhile, I'm still living in an apartment because my house was wrecked in a flood caused by levees that the Army Corps didn't maintain, and we're taking a major leap of faith by rebuilding at all, and there's nowhere to send my kid to school ... not to mention the whole WAR and GAS PRICES and the pending indictment of one of our other congressmen.

He has to have cut some deal with the white house that they'll support more money for LA if he supports their Wag the Dog amendment. Still, I can't believe he'd say such a stupid thing. It's a slap in the face to his constituency.

By Salon Staff

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