Yes, she's strange and different...but not THAT different.

19 February 2008

Civil unions are NOT marriage

A commission set up in New Jersey to study that state's same-sex civil union law has issued its first report on the anniversary of the passage of the law. In that report, the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission found that civil unions do not promote equality and instead create a "second class status" for gay couples. While the commission did not go so far as to recommend legalizing same-sex marriage in the state, it did note that as a vehicle to allow same-sex couples the same rights as marriage, civil unions are a complete failure. Among other things, the report says:
The testimony presented by many civil union couples indicated that their employers continue to discriminate against them, despite their familiarity with the law.
Civil union status is not clear to the general public, which creates a second-class status.
Many witnesses testified about the unequal treatment and uncertainties they face during a health care crisis, particularly in hospital settings.
The entire report can be accessed via Garden State Equality's site. Videos of some of the testimony before the commission can also be seen there.

A conservative group in Princeton, the National Organization for Marriage, has aired radio commercials that say allowing gay marriage would undermine some religious teachings that homosexuality is wrong. I might ask NOM if allowing divorce has undermined the religious teachings of the Catholic Church, but I'm pretty sure it hasn't in any of the states where divorce is legal (which would be ALL of them for you folks who don't keep up with legal stuff). Oh, and the argument that the law is still new and unfamiliar and that things will change as people became familiar with it doesn't hold much water, either. Vermont has had civil unions since 2000 and is still experiencing essentially the same problems as New Jersey. Bottom line: civil unions are not marriage.

  • On 2/19/2008 5:20 PM, OpenID oneloveonelight said…

    That's exactly what my point has been for a while... if people are so scared that gay marriage is a threat to marriage, why not the same furor regarding divorce? That's prohibited according to the bible. Why are there no protests at local divorce hearings?

    If someone gets divorced, do we hear any furor? Absolutely none. Most people shrug, say "shucks, it didn't work out" and move on without thinking twice. Yet, the gay couple down the street who have been together, very happily, for 10 years can't get married because it's a threat to marriage.

    Additionally, marriage is NOT a religious institution no matter how many Americans want it to be. Sure, it CAN involve religion if you so choose. But the only thing that counts is the LEGALITY of it. Atheists can get married. Buddhists can get married. You can get married by a priest or a judge. No religion needed. That's another reason why I don't understand the religious furor over gay marriage. It's not even LEGALLY a religious institution.

    I've argued a LOT about this with people. But I've learned that the problem with simple-minded fundies is that you CAN'T reason with them. They don't listen to common sense. Common sense is the devil. So, intelligent arguments are wasted on them. Trust me, I've tried.

  • On 2/19/2008 5:46 PM, Blogger Hammer said…

    I think the government needs to get their hands out of the marriage business once and for all.

    Who are they to decide who gets married legally? It's not a public health issue and any property or workplace issues should be worked out by contract and through civil courts.

  • On 2/20/2008 9:52 AM, Blogger said…

    Ummm -- as one with a civil union in Connecticut and who's employer does NOT extend spousal benefits to my wife -- I know all about how civil unions suck monkey b@lls.

    Didn't need a commission to tell me that one!

    Ugh -- still have so much more fighting to do.

  • On 2/20/2008 1:24 PM, Blogger heels said…

    My husband and I are Atheists who were married by our best friend (ordained by the Universal Life Church)- religion doesn't enter into it.

    I've never understood why people can be so vehemently against MORE marriages when they are complaining about the deteriorating state of marriage. Having more people married does nothing to take away from marriage (or from your rights), it only strengthens the meaning of marriage. It says to me that marriage is so special and so important they want to do it, too. By providing basic human rights to as many people as possible, I believe we secure our OWN basic rights even more strongly. To me, it's immoral to deny any adult the right to choose their own partner. And isn't it better that they be married than "living in sin?" Like not being married is going to stop people from fucking. HA!

  • On 2/21/2008 6:32 AM, Blogger eba said…

    I'm female. My husband and I live in the great state of Massachusetts. We actually waited to get married until all our friends could have the same privilege as we already had. "Marriage for all" seems to be working just fine here. People who want to get married can (and at least it's recognized by the state if not the feds -- this does cause some complications). People who only want to be married to someone of the opposite gender can do that too. Anyone whose marriage is threatened by our laws has deeper problems and should really go into counselling.

  • On 2/23/2008 6:01 AM, Blogger Jenn in Holland said…

    Interestingly enough, here in this part of the world, civil unions are pretty much the standard type of arrangement regardless of the orientation of the couple. Marriage is actually quite rare statistically and what that means (or what I perceive it means) is that all are on equal playing field. There is no second class citizenship/relationship for gay couples because many, many, hetero couples use the same law to protect their relationship as well. I like that. As you well know, I think it should be the same for all of us. I hate this discrimination. It is absolutely non sensical.

  • On 2/23/2008 4:01 PM, Blogger Jen of A2eatwrite said…

    I still can't believe that we are so damned backwards that we can't just pass the same marriage rights for all. It's disgusting and ridiculous.

  • On 3/07/2008 9:25 PM, Blogger Jos76 said…

    It is not quit clear to me why so many right-wing conservatives are completely against gay marriage. They are essentially trying to convince people that mutually respectful relationships are not beneficial to the couple or the society around them. In addition, Democrats that favor civil unions over marriage rights are opening the door to straight couples entering into civil unions so that they can get the benefits alloted, without actually getting married. Civil unions, then , will actually lower the overall marriage rate. Who is to stop two straight “friends” from filing for a civil union in order to get work-related benefits in a state. Legalizing gay marriage would raise the overall marriage rates and civil unions would lower it. This is perhaps the goal of both political parties. Civil unions means no access to Social Security, whereas marriage does give access.

    I’m a legally married gay man in Massachusetts, and because there is no federal recognition of our marriage, we will not contribute to the bankruptcy of Social Security because we will not have access to the money that we pay for legally married straight couples who tap into the Social Security Benefits of his/her spouse. Civil Unions may have nothing to do with gay rights, but rather may be a way of keeping money available in Social Security.


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