Most of the talk about compromising on the issue of same-sex marriage revolves around legalizing civil unions for homosexual partners as an alternative to same-sex marriage. This is a compromise that should be avoided if you value the traditional meaning of marriage between a man and a woman.
|Some are saying that|
the once Republican,
Charlie Crist will say
anything to get elected.
On the other hand, Crist underscored his opposition to same-sex marriage. To support same-sex civil unions in the place of same-sex marriage is a losing stance to take, historically speaking and here's why.
Currently, five states and the District of Columbia recognize and perform same-sex marriages. Three of these states – Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire – all started with civil unions for same-sex couples.
On July 1st, 2000 Vermont became the first U.S. state to legalize civil unions for same-sex couples which provided the same rights and status as marriage. Nine years later, when Vermont would legalize same-sex marriage in the spring of 2009, Jennifer C. Pizer, the national marriage project director for Lambda Legal, praised Vermont for its ‘important steps forward’.
“Vermont opened an important back door,” she said, referring to the civil unions. “Now it has invited gay people to enter through the front door of marriage.”
In neighboring New Hampshire, there is another same-sex-civil unions-to-same-sex-marriage pattern. In 2007, the New Hampshire House and Senate passed its civil unions bill, which provided the same rights and status of marriage. Governor Lynch said he supported same-sex civil unions because it was a matter of “conscience, fairness and preventing discrimination,” and the new law became effective January 1, 2008.
It would be only two short years before New Hampshire state legislature passed a bill to legalize same-sex marriage and on January 1, 2010, the law took effect. Per the same-sex marriage law, couples who entered into civil unions will see those civil unions legally designated and recorded as a marriage on January 1, 2011 if they don’t manually apply for a marriage license before then.
|Gov. Lynch changed his|
stance on same-sex
civil unions, too: That
they weren't enough.
“Today,” he said, “we are standing up for the liberties of same-sex couples by making clear that they will receive the same rights, responsibilities — and respect — under New Hampshire law.”
Isn’t that why the homosexual activists pushed for civil unions in 2007? New Hampshire State Senator Fenton Groen’s comments on the same-sex marriage law couldn’t be any more accurate: "The pro-gay marriage people have been very disingenuous. They told us two years ago that if civil unions were passed, that would completely satisfy them. Within two years, they have completely changed their minds."
Well, what did one of New Hampshire’s gay residents, Rob Davis, who entered into a civil union in 2008 with his partner Dean Davis, say about the civil unions? "It didn't go far enough."
In Connecticut the situation was very similar. Legalized in 2005, civil unions for same-sex couples provided for the same rights and responsibilities as marriage. By doing this, Connecticut became the second U.S. state to adopt civil unions.
Connecticut, like its neighbor to the north, brought up legislation for same-sex marriage only two short years after implementing civil unions. It passed the House Judiciary committee that year and although Governor Jodi Rell promised to veto the legislation because she felt that civil unions for same-sex couples “covered the concerns that had been raised,” the Supreme Court of Connecticut guaranteed same-sex marriage rights the following year in 2008.
So in this case the court intervened to convert civil unions into marriage. Was it a surprise? Not for lesbian Anne Stanback, president of the Love Makes a Family consortium. In 2003, she was advocating domestic partnerships for same-sex couples where she argued: “Would passage of such a bill be an important step forward? Absolutely. Would it be the end of our fight? Absolutely not!”
|Brian Brown, President of the|
National Organization for Marriage.
That’s exactly right, Brian, and it can be seen in New Jersey, too. In fact, had Republican Chris Christie lost in his election bid to replace Jon Corzine as Governor of New Jersey, gay marriage would be legal there today and would likely be legal in New York State, too.
New Jersey legalized civil unions for same-sex couples back in 2006, which made the Garden State the third U.S. state to offer such civil unions. Saundra Toby-Heath and her partner were among the seven gay couples who sued the State of New Jersey to redefine marriage. With the adoption of civil unions in 2006, Saundra said "We acknowledge this is a huge step forward."
According to an Associated Press news article from December 15, 2006, gay rights groups also shared her sentiment, saying that not calling the civil unions “marriage” created a different and inferior institution. They did, however, welcome the civil unions as a step towards full same-sex marriage.
Then in 2008 a commission full of gay rights advocates was set up to examine civil unions in New Jersey. You know what they concluded? That the civil union law created “a second-class status” for same-sex couples.
According to a statement on one of New Jersey’s largest gay rights organizations, Garden State Equality, the goal is same-sex marriage: “Garden State Equality is fighting for real marriage equality and will not settle for civil unions, which are separate, unequal and do not consistently work to protect same-sex couples in the real world. But civil unions are a notable step forward.”
New Jersey’s state legislature voted against same-sex marriage late last year after Chris Christie was elected and lawmakers failed to rush the same-sex marriage bill to outgoing Governor Corzine’s desk in a midst of scheming that gave democratic process in New Jersey a bad stink. That was luck. Before the election, the gay marriage bill was on track for passage and approval by the governor.
Political winds at the time allowed a republican to be elected governor of one of America’s bluest states. Had Corzine been re-elected, he would have fulfilled his promised to sign same-sex marriage legislation into law in early 2010.
|Civil unions have historically|
not been satisfactory for
same-sex couples and have
paved the way to eventual
Legalizing civil unions is not a good strategy because a few years later, they will use that as the framework as a steppingstone to pushing for same-sex marriage. In their own words it is clear. Barbara Cox, associate dean at California Western School of Law and co-chair of the national Freedom to Marry Organization:
“But we aren’t going to get marriage until we get civil unions. You know, the people that I have talked to in Vermont, the people who are doing this nationwide, keep saying we need to do that [civil unions] as an important first step. But what I believe that what we have to do as a community is that each one of us has to
walk out of here tonight saying. ‘This is something that I can do to make a step forward.’”
Don’t allow same-sex civil unions. Supporting same-sex civil unions is the same as supporting same-sex marriage. If you value marriage between a man and a woman you must oppose any form of relationship recognition for same-sex couples that mirrors or mocks marriage.