Archive for civil unions

Gay marriage banned in two states, leading in California

Posted in Culture, Love, Relationships, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on November 5, 2008 by 99ppp
According to CNN as of this writing, a ban on gay marriage has passed in Arizona and Florida, and it’s winning in a close vote in California (52-48). In addition, there is a ban on unmarried couples adopting children in Arkansas.This is very unfortunate but I am hardly surprised. There is a strain of traditionalism woven into the concept of marriage in most people’s minds. Introducing a newer concept like civil unions (or common law) that could grant the same protections of state marriage , would likely get greater consideration as the issue becomes more about equal rights than “desecrating” an ancient tradition.

Here in Canada, particularly in Quebec, marriage as an institution has had it’s popularity and cultural importance erode over the years:

The number of couples forgoing marriage has more than doubled since 1981, the first time the statistic was tallied. At the time, there were 357,000 common-law relationships – about six per cent of all couples. By the 2001 Census, roughly 14 per cent of all couples were common law. Common-law unions are most prevalent among young people and couples living in Quebec, where more than 30 per cent of all families are common law. {LINK)

As I mentioned in my previous post, equal rights activists would likely be best served to simply let go of the word “marriage”. As far as I’m concerned the institution itself is losing prestige, and energy towards promoting a fairer world can be better placed elsewhere.

Surrenderring “Marriage” to Religion: A Case for Civil Unions

Posted in Culture, Love, Relationships, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2008 by 99ppp

There is a controversial question placed before California voters today, Proposition 8 which will legally impede same-sex  couples to marry if it passes. Plenty of money has been placed to pass the measure, most prominently, the Mormon Church which poured approximately 20 million dollars into the campaign to pass it. The progressive viewpoint is to champion the cause of same-sex marriage, and at first I would be so inclined, as it isn’t fair to discriminate how people choose to unite regardless of their sexual orientation. The deeper problem is the word “marriage” itself. This issue will not go away, and the best way to transcend it, is to give the word “marriage” to religion and have the state only perform civil unions for ALL couples.

I am not a fan of marriage as an institution to begin with. I’ve already argued that it has nothing to do with love, yet I can concede that there are potential reasons why two people would want to get married: children and property. Civil unions can provide the identical protections without calling it marriage.

Giving religion the word, will dismantle the lever which those who wish to project their religious morality through the mechanism of the state. Those who get the religious ceremony would still need to get a civil union to be recognized by the state. Those same-sex couples of faith who still wish to get married, may need to wait for a while, yet surely there will be some progressive religious groups who would perform the ceremony, since the freedom of religion is inviolate.

Additionally, by giving the word marriage to religion, it gives greater clarity to the division of church and state.

All this time and energy fighting over a word is pointless, attention that keeps us distracted from more important issues, like the economy, the environment and questions of war and peace. Those with progressive secular values could simply abandon the quibble over one word, it simply isn’t worth it. Religion can even take the words “husband” and “wife” and we can embrace the inclusive gender neutral “spouse”.