Marriage or Civil Union?
Let me prefix this next paragraph so that you don’t think I am some right wing religious nut. I do not support “Gay Marriage.” But, more appropriately, I support “Gay Civil Union.” That last part is the important distinction that most people forget to make. If you understand the concept of civil union, and the fact that as far as our country goes, anyone married, is simply participating in a civil union, you will understand why it is No Big Deal(tm).
Big Update, Years Later:
I’ve been meaning to update this post for quite some time. My views on this have changed because of the realities of the country. It would never have worked to rename marriage to civil union. People just aren’t that nuanced, especially the religious right. I’m fairly pragmatic and would rather see people happy and their rights upheld instead of keeping ownership over the word marriage. All these people screaming against this are on the wrong side and cherry picking quotes from a book to use as their argument are missing the original point of that book (at least the second half 🙂 ).
There are two types of marriage. Marriage before State (or government, etc) and marriage before God. While, both have benefits, there is only one that needs to be brought up when discussing “Gay Marriage” and which one should be obvious. Many people (myself included, until I went through the act) do not realize that in getting married, the State does not recognize Marriage before God. In fact, “God” is only given a single short line on your state approved “Form 103-b” marriage license entitled, “Person Solemnizing Marriage” or “Officiant.”
Hopefully, you are arriving at the same conclusion I have. People who decry “Gay Marriage” are confused, poor ignorant souls who have fallen victim to a poor choice of words. We should call it what it is that people are fighting for, “Gay Civil Union.”
But why is it such a big deal? People who grow up with a certain perception of what marriage is, as being between a man and a woman, wouldn’t understand why two men or two women would want to be recognized before God. Well, that is the problem here. Typically, (of course, there are exceptions) they don’t. They only want the benefits that come with Marriage before State. Just a few of the important ones are:
- Death benefits
- Tax deductions
- Health insurance
And just so everyone on the same page, (I’m looking at you, George Bush) these benefits aren’t granted by God.
If two people (humans people, humans!) choose to spend the rest of their lives together (or some significant amount of it) why wouldn’t we want them to enjoy the benefits granted by the state to “normal” couples?
Consider this situation. You are gainfully employed full time at a nice corporate gig. You have excellent health care. You are deeply in love with a wonderful woman. She is gainfully employed full time at a nice independent gig. But she has no health care. For several years you date and soon become engaged. Finally, after getting married, she can now be covered under your health care. But for the three years you have known her, she has had no health care. You both have gotten sick. But while your symptoms where less and your recovery was quicker due to your excellent health care, she was not so lucky. During the worst times, you have even gone to the doctor, saying you had her symptoms, just so you can be prescribed medicine that she can take. It is painful to be that powerless with someone you love. I know, I just went through it.
Now that was only three years. Imagine loving someone and dealing with that for twenty.
People who decry gay civil union are just ignorant. No one can be heartless enough to wish that situation on anyone.
The key idea to take away from this is that the government has no say, for, or against religious practices, including the most every day religious practice: marriage. The government does not define marriage. Religion does. The government’s definition of marriage is really, civil union.
In discussing this topic with others, make sure both sides understand that.
To see what others are saying, take a look at this NY Times article: