Gay Civil Unions Short Of The Mark
The old adage that half a loaf is better than none at all seems to work for some when considering the recent actions by the New Jersey State Legislature as they passed a civil unions bill for gay couples this week. Needless to say civil unions are a remarkable step forward in our nation’s social progress. I don’t think any of us would have predicted 25 years ago that the legal barriers to justice for gay relationships would come crumbling down so fast as we have recently witnessed. But that still does not resolve the inequity between marriages that are protected by a whole series of laws and rights, and civil unions, which are akin to the children’s table in the corner during the holiday.
I reject anything for gay Americans that fall short of the full and complete rights afforded all citizens. While I understand the argument of moving one step at a time with this idea to allow some parts of society to adapt to reality, I do not want to hear people talk of civil unions as a major victory. It is not. To even imply that there is something just about withholding the right to marry for gay couples is no better than saying blacks should sit in the back of the bus, or cannot enter into marriage with a white person. The complete and utter stupidity of such thinking cannot, and must not, go unchecked.
The fact that marriage and all the rights that follow cannot be replicated by any other social contract, including civil unions, is the main reason I have problems with the outcome from the Garden State. When we say the word marriage we all know what it means both in tangible and intangible ways. There is no way to shortcut the path to justice.
Massachusetts had the political will to pass a marriage bill for gay couples and last I looked their world had not come crashing down. All the harsh rhetoric from conservatives proved to be only bigots with too much time on their hands. New Jersey should have found the same moxy and followed the leader. Sadly, they did not.