• they simply do not want god involved. i disagree but there ya go hats the simple truth.
  • The difference is in terminology. Civil union makes it a secular and legal arrangement, taking it out of the religious matter at all. Marriage has religious connotations as it is a sacrament. Most of Europe recognizes same-sex civil unions rather than "marriage" for gay couples. Personally, I'd love to see a good civil union law passed and put into practice in the US in all 50 states. I think it would by-pass much of the religious objectives and provide legal protection to those in same-sex unions. I think that those who want "all or nothing" are delaying a good solution that has been proven in other countries. I don't think that's fair at all. I have too many friends who would benefit from a civil union law being passed. Insisting on the term "marriage" is delaying a solution for many many couples. Just my opinion
  • *Marriage: The United States Government provides to legally married couples: Over 1,049 federal and state level benefits * Civil Unions: About 300 state level benefits. No federal protection Tax Relief: * Marriage: Couples can file both federal and state tax returns jointly. Civil Unions: Couples can only file jointly in the state of civil registration. Medical Decisions: * Marriage: Partners can make emergency medical decisions. Civil Unions: Partners can only make medical decisions in the registered state. Partners may not be able to make decisions out of state. Gifts: * Marriage: Partners can transfer gifts to each other without tax penalty. Civil Unions: Partners do not pay state taxes, but are required to report federal taxes. Death Benefits: * Marriage: In the case of a partner's death, the spouse receives any earned Social Security or veteran benefits. * Civil Unions: Partners do not receive Social Security or any other government benefits in case of death. In the case of the death of former Congressman Gerry Studds, his partner of 15 years was denied the government pension that would have gone to a legally recognized spouse. Child/Spousal Support: * Marriage: In case of divorce, individuals may have a legally-binding financial obligation to spouses and children. Civil Unions: In the case of dissolution , no such spousal or child benefits are guaranteed or required out of state. Immigration Rights: * Marriage: U.S. citizens and legal residents can sponsor their spouses and family members for immigration. Civil Unions: U.S. citizens and legal residents cannot sponsor non-legal spouses or family members. (more on gay immigration rights)
  • Gay marriage is flat out a sin and against God. Simple as that.
  • The idea is that a civil union is the same as a marriage, but it's not called a marriage. I get (and appreciate) your point that it feels like we're quibbling over terminology. The reason for this is that many religious persons feel that when a state statute says "marriage" that it's referring to their religious ceremony. In other words, they think the state is giving legal effect to their religious institution. In fact, marriage is a civil contract -- it's just that these folks chose a minister to witness the contract when they signed it rather than a judge or a justice of the peace. If the religious gay marriage opponents are correct, it means that the government is picking and choosing which religions' beliefs it will write into the law. That's never happened before. Note that they've never made a big deal about common law marriages (which are not valid according to their religious views). It's perfectly accepted that divorced Catholics can get remarried civilly even if their church would refuse to perform the ceremony. They've never objected to civil marriage ceremonies performed by a judge or justice of the peace -- even though they might not recognize those marriages as religiously valid. Here's where the terminology problem comes in. In the law, there is a principle that says you don't call something by a different name unless you mean it to actually be different. The principle goes back literally centuries (there's tradition for you). So what's the difference between marriage and civil unions? It can't be that one is religiously recognized and the other is not -- because that horse left the barn a long time ago. There are lots of marriages that particular religions wouldn't recognize and that's never made a difference before. A civil unions statute that relies on the religious meaning of marriage is going to fall eventually on grounds that it's discriminating on the basis of religion. A civil unions statute that says it doesn't rely on religion, but simply on the basis that gay people and straight people should be treated differently, is probably also going to fall eventually as a violation of the equal protection clause of the Constitution. I know all of that sounds like gobbledegook, so I'll boil it down: who's paying the lawyers my husband and I are going to have to hire while the courts spend a couple of decades figuring out what this new civil unions thing means? I get your point about unnecessary delay in getting legal protections for same-sex couples, and I appreciate it. I just thought you might not be aware of a completely different kind of delay that would produce. Just one example -- I have two friends in San Francisco who have "married" each other five times now. Once under their city's domestic partnership ordinance, then later under their state's domestic partnership statute, then again when their state created civil unions that had different legal obligations attached to it than the domestic partnership statute had (so they had to dissolve their domestic partnership and enter a civil union), then again when San Francisco started handing out marriage licenses, which were then declared invalid by the California Supreme Court, then again when the California Supreme Court overturned the ban on gay marriage -- and now they're waiting to find out whether that one is still valid. In other words, civil unions don't settle the question. They just push the resolution down the road and we're the people on the roller coaster.

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