February 24, 2009
Civil unions WILL lead to marriage
Posted by: Andoni
Something that the far right realizes that seems to be outside of the grasp of many our leaders in the gay community is that once you have a national civil unions law, it is only a matter of time before you get marriage equality. Separate but equal is not a sustainable position in this country. It will be easier to go from civil unions to marriage than from nothing to marriage. Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, gets it. In responding to a compromise national civil unions Op Ed in last Sunday's New York Times, co-authored by a fellow leader of the religious right, Perkins warns that "once a civil unions law is in place, denial of marital status would be almost impossible to defend."
The right realizes this, our leaders don't.
Many proposals have been made advocating ways to achieve civil unions nationally, especially since it is President Obama's official position to have full civil unions for gay people. Federally recognized civil unions would mean civil unions in all 50 states. All couples would have to do is go to a state that offers civil unions to get hitched, then return to their home state. Federal couples' benefits in all 50 states is a big deal. These would include things like social security survival benefits, joint tax returns, partner immigration rights.. over 1100+ very substantial rights and benefits.
Civil unions can be accomplished because 75% of the public supports the idea.
In private emails from leaders in our community, I have been told that I have it all wrong, that the best way forward is to hold out for marriage equality. I strongly disagree.
Right now it's like standing on the side of the road waiting for a bus and the bus keeps passing me by. The bus won't stop to let me on. If one day the bus stops and tells me that I can get on but I have to agree to sit in the back, I would gladly do it. Once on the bus I know I will be able to fight my way forward until I get a seat in the front. It's much harder to get a seat in the front of the bus if you're not on the bus at all. If I'm still standing on the side of the road, I seriously doubt that the bus will one day stop and offer me a seat in the front of the bus. It didn't happen that way for the African Americans; what makes us think it's going to happen for us?
From a public relations (selling the public) point of view (as well as I believe in court), it's much easier to argue that a national separate but equal institution for gays is un-American-- both historically and constitutionally. Separate but equal has been stigmatized in the US and the public will get it after a very few years. However, trying to convince people or the court that we should be allowed to marry when the starting point is having nothing (no recognition at all) is be a tougher sell.
This is a no-brainer folks, and I'm starting to get angry at our leaders who won't pick up on Obama's civil union idea. Obama clearly sees the way forward and is trying to lead us to that next step, but our leaders seem oblivious to it.
h/t Andrew Sullivan
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