I’m not sure of what forum to put this in–it’s not mundane or pointless and I suspect a debate might break out so I’m putting it here.
Governor Jodi Rell (a Republican) just signed into law a bill legalizing civil unions in Connecticut although the bill also defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Notably, this came about strictly as a result of legislative action and not because of pending litigation or a court order.
I believe this is the text of the statute that’s just been enacted:As signed bill
So, is this a step towards gay marriage, nowhere near enough of a step, or a sign that Connecticut is headed to hell in a handbasket?
I’m very pleased about this–no one can squawk about activist judges shoving their agenda down our throats.
It’s the first two, I think. A step towards gay marriage, as big a step which can be imagined politically right now, but not a big enough one. I hope the next step will be another state voluntarily setting up civil unions without redefining marriage, and things can progress from there. The legislature and the governor are to be congratulated for what they did here.
In terms of convincing people that Connecticut is headed to hell in a handbasket, that’s I95’s job.
I agree that it’s a small, though still very significant, step towards legalized SSM. No state so far has been willing to legalize SSM thru the legislature, but civil unions seem to be much less controversial. One would hope that once people saw that civil unions aren’t causig the downfall of civilization, SSM will be more readily acceptable.
So the question then becomes: Which state is next? CA recently adopted what it calls “domestic partnerships”, and if anyone knows what the substantive difference between that and a civil union is, I’d sure like to know.
I think it is a big step toward gay marriage. To get people just to accept civil unions is going to be a long hard road even without throwing in the word marriage to get everyone all riled up. So getting any sort of acceptance for civil unions is huge. My hope is that civil marriages will prove to people against gay marriage that legalizing the union of a gay couple is not a threat to anyone, and that it will eventually open the doors to total equality. I realize that for activists this is much to slow of an approach but unfortunately I believe a slow approach will be necessary. As for a guess which state will legalize CUs next, California is a pretty good guess.
Jeez, there’s a lot to chose from there. I can’t tell which one it is. Until I figure out if it is simply marriage under another name, I don’t know how hard to cheer. Hold on, I can’t find the exact text, but here is a quote:
Oh, and bad news for advocates of legalized incetual marriages, Sec. 2. Section 46b-21 of the general statutes is repealed and the following is substituted in lieu thereof (Effective October 1, 2005):
[No man may marry his mother, grandmother, daughter, granddaughter, sister, aunt, niece, stepmother or stepdaughter, and no woman may marry her father, grandfather, son, grandson, brother, uncle, nephew, stepfather or stepson.] No person may marry such person’s parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, sibling, parent’s sibling, sibling’s child, stepparent or stepchild. Any marriage within these degrees is void.
I applaud this action by Connecticut. It’s not marriage, as it should be, but it helps move in that direction, while at the same time providing current, practical, and much-needed legal framework for same-sex couples.
I know there are posters here who have vehemently rejected the civil union compromise as an insult. But I hope you’ll consider that this is real, and this is now, and helps people who need it now.
I find it interesting that the prohibition extends to step-relations. It is commonly believed — erroneously, I think – that the offspring of close blood relatives will surely be idiots, but no such biological outcomes are possible from step-relations. Only the objection of those who find it offensive can justify such a statute to control someone else’s life.
It doesn’t mention stepsister or stepbrother does it? strange.
I think it’s a the new CT law is one small step away from the bigotry and irrational fear that prevents SSM. I’ve never understood the big deal about the word marrage vs. civil unions anyway. It seems to me that the only power the state has is to decide what rights which couples have and the what term is used doesn’t matter at all. As far as holy matrimony is concerned, no state authority or individual can decide what’s holy or what isn’t. Let’s leave that decision in the hands of the holy one.
Ultimately, it’s a moot point. It is gay marriage, with generation’s phase-in period.
“Civil unions” may be helpful as a term to sell it, but ordinary usage always wins out. There’s nothing to stop two gay men from putting “wedding” on their invitations, calling each other “husband” or referring to their “marriage” in everyday conversation. Social opprobrium will prevent a fundamentalist from jumping in and shouting “you’re not really married, it’s just a civil union!”
The distinction won’t matter anywhere but on legal documents, and within a generation it will seem obstinate and prejudicial not to use the everyday usage.
furt: While I agree with you that gay partners will refer to their status as “married” when speaking non-legally (which is 99% of the time), but there will still be a legal distinction. That’s what people are saying in this thread, and I think it’s a point worth making. Nothing prevents gay couples from saying they are “married” in any state now since there are plenty of churches that will perform such a cerimony. Were I in that situation, I would use the term “married”, too, even if it had no legal standing at all. But I’d still be well aware of the legal difference.
I’ve no doubt the distinction now is hurtful, and I wish it wasn’t made. But I wasn’t speaking to people’s feelings so much as to the legal/political outcome. The difference now is real; if/when CUs become widespread, it will be purely semantic. And IMO, after a generation the semantic distinction itself will be seen as offensive by all but the most ardent fundamentalists
This is definitely wonderful news, but I’m not sure of the distinction between this and marriage, besides the obvious semantic difference. What are the legal differences between civil unions and marriages? I also would like to know, along with John Mace, what the differences between domestic partnerships and civil unions are.
baronsabato,** this case **of “civil union” is the exact same thing as a marriage. It’s spelled out pretty clearly in my link. However, in other states, the same thing may be used to mean something totally different, with less legal rights then a legal marriage. In using the term, “civil unions”, the House of Representatives is using a convenient way to duck the issue. All government approved marriages are civil unions, while what is a religious marriage may not always be a legal marriage. For example, polygamy is considered a perfectly valid form of marriage by the bible, while Levite marriage goes against all know american inheritance laws.
As long as they stay in CT, MA or VT, nothing (at the state level). If they move to NY, or most other states, they will no longer be “married”. But even if they stay in CT, they will not receive federal benefits. Still, the CT state legislature has done all that it is capable of doing, except give the name “marriage” to the union.
This may provide an interesting court case, though, in that the state has given the exact same legal status of marriage to same sex couples, while at the same time passing a bill stating that marriage is between a man and a woman. Has anyone looked at the two bills to see how this will be reconciled?
Okay, I (and others) thought you meant that CT had stopped short of full recognition in some tangible way. But, as you say, they did everything they could short of the name, and the name will follow. The remaining legal distinctions, as you call them, are between states and therefore at the federal level, where the real fun will occur.