Civil Unions…

A debate pal posted a great argument against civil unions… go read it… her take is financial and her concern is the federal tax status of same sex couples.  I think she hits it right on the head when she says that civil  unions are a kind of panacea from heteros, who then can say “we gave you civil unions, now sit down and shut up about it”.

The term “civil union” is employed to dodge religious objections to calling same-sex couples “married”.  The objection is something like, ” ‘marriage’ is a religious term, my religion thinks those homos are going to hell for the way they want to have sex, so they can’t be married”… yea — that may be an uncharitable version of their “argument”, but — that’s how it reads to my gay friends.

Today is Hubby and my 20th wedding anniversary — (go ahead, say awwww, ain’t that sweet — yes, we were children when we married).  We were married by a judge, in a civil ceremony.  Since he’s male and I’m female, we are considered “married” in the eyes of the law…. even federal law and the military.  For the record — I didn’t promise to “obey” him… which was a good, feminist move for me — before I was a feminist.  Although we intended to, we’ve never had a religious ceremony.

The thing is, if Hubby and I were of the same gender, we’d have endured 20 years of financial and social discrimination because we couldn’t get “married”.  The military wouldn’t have given me health insurance, multiple car rental places would have over-charged us for having two drivers and I can’t come close to calculating the tax implications. 

In the past 2.5 years I’ve been hospitalized 5 times.  Each time, if hubby were a woman, I’d have to fight to permit him to make medical decisions if I weren’t able to do so.  The idea that someone who has known me so long wouldn’t be legally permitted to make some of the most important end of life decisions, simply because of THEIR gender, is ridiculous. 

Over the course of our relationship (so far)  we’ve earned 2 bachelor’s degrees, 2 master’s degrees, 1.75 Ph.D.s and .5 of a JD.  Earning these degrees depended on teamwork between us — one worked more than the other, so the other would have time to go to school.  Hubby reenlisted in the military so that I could go to grad school.  I got my job at BNCC teaching in the philosophy factory so he could do grad and now law school.  All of this education is good for us and for society.

Along the way, we’ve had health insurance, paid the bills and had the knowledge that we were both morally and legally bound to one another.  These things gave us the freedom to take risks, take time out of the workforce for school, and feel comfortable being the primary breadwinner while the other went to school.  These same assurances wouldn’t be readily available if Hubby were a woman.

These same assurances aren’t available to people who are in “civil unions”… the fact of the matter is that the law doesn’t recognize “civil union” as equivalent to “marriage”. 

As a commedian Ican’t remember said of same sex marriage, “if gay folks want to be as miserable as married heteros, why not let them?”


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