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03/17/2009

Video: Okay, so then you get a civil union

by Jeremy Hooper

Since Vermont governor Jim Douglas (R-YesEvenBlueStatesElectRepublicanLeaders) doesn't see a need to bump up his state's civil unions law to full equality, one could rightfully assume that he views the system as completely equal to marriage. So would he be willing to trade-in his own non-controversial hetero marriage for the gays' not-quite marriage system? WPTZ has the non-surprising answer:

(click to watch)
Jim-Douglas-VT
Video: Would Douglas Trade His Marriage For Civil Union? [WPTZ]

The "civil unions are equal" conversation is kind of like the "my fake Louis Vuitton bag that I bought on Canal Street is just as good as the one they sell in the 5th Ave. store" justification. Neither can possibly endure the scrutiny of an attentive eye.

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Your thoughts

Slightly off topic, but...y'know, I'd be a lot more amenable to the "no government marriage, civil unions for everyone" concept if civil unions weren't official anti-gay-speak for "nyeah nyeah, my relationship is better than yours". They speak of civil unions as less legitimate and "real" than marriage, then act mystified when we consider them as such. Can't have it both ways.

Posted by: Dana Sullivan | Mar 17, 2009 11:51:36 AM

Agreed, Dana.

You may have noticed that I haven't commented on the latest round of "civil unions for everyone" chatter that's been making its way around the Internets. A key reason is because I find it to be a bit of a go-nowhere conversation. Married heterosexuals are never going to get on board with the idea, because, as you hinted, we are generations away from a day when marriage could be rethought in a way where civil unions are considered to be the state currency of rights, and the word "marriage" is considered the optional religious ceremony. I just can't foresee a day where civil unions will ever be seen in the same light.

Also, I think the idea cedes far too much power to the religious right, considering that the only thing we gay activists are ALREADY seeking is CIVIL marriage. Yes, the state grants religious figures the ability to solemnize the unions. But they are still and optional component. And we are 100% fine with letting the individual denominations and sects determine their own entrance requirements. Nobody -- NOBODY! -- is forcing them to do anything.

The reality is that we already have a perfectly adequate CIVIL system that simply needs to be opened up to all couples who wish to utilize their freedom to marry.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 17, 2009 12:43:13 PM

I found Douglas interesting. He seemed to be backing away from the "very opposed" language. He even acknowledged that they are not exactly the same thing - just legally equivalent.

His entire argument seemed to consist of "oh, let's focus elsewhere instead".

All of this gives me at least a glimmer of hope that when the legislature passes marriage, he can say "well we shouldn't be fighting this any longer and if I don't sign it then it will just tie up more time in the legislature so, gosh, I guess I will". Perhaps a bit optimistic, but I think it's not as impossible as before I saw this piece.

Posted by: Timothy | Mar 17, 2009 1:04:27 PM

Well, Timothy, there's also the strong possibility of a veto-proof majority in both the house and senate. Or if it's short of veto-proof, Douglas could just not act on the bill, allowing it to become law without his signature/veto.

Posted by: G-A-Y | Mar 17, 2009 1:24:19 PM

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