Saturday, December 20, 2008

Marriage and civil unions - American insularity is astounding

Americans get endlessly agitated about Gay Marriage and Civil Unions. There are reams of editorials like this one ...
Editorial - Separate and Not Equal -

.... Civil unions are an inadequate substitute for marriage. Creating a separate, new legal structure to confer some benefits on same-sex couples neither honors American ideals of fairness, nor does it grant true equality. The results are clearly visible in New Jersey, which continues to deny same-sex couples some of the tangible civil benefits that come with marriage....
So, amidst all the sturm und drang, does anyone ever bother to ask what other nations do?

No. Of course not. That would be %$@% un-American.

Sometimes I wonder why I ever became an American citizen.

Emily and I were "married" in Quebec about 23 years ago. More importantly, we were civil-unioned.

You see, in Quebec of 23 years ago, "marriage" was a religious thing. You could be married by the Catholic Church or the United Federation of Wombats; both were equally legally meaningless.

The legal union was a civil agreement with the state. It was the civil agreement that got you rights, privileges and obligations.


We need to make "marriage" the province of religions, and make "civil union" the contract with the state. We can grandfather in everyone who's currently "married", but then all future legally meaningful unions, including straight and gay unions, are civil unions.

Marriage is then up to the religious orders, and it then has no significance beyond the religious domain. So the Church of the Endlessly Recreational can do marriages, and, heck, so can the Baptists. Who cares -- it has no legal importance.

The answer to the Gay Marriage wars is to make all unions Civil, and separate Church and State.

Damn obvious.

1 comment:

Neil Houghton said...

Absolutely... I just stumble over this while I was trying to figure out if I can sync mobile me with my palm. Back to that article.

by the way