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Why aren’t Civil Unions Good Enough?

Yesterday the LDS Church released a statement of its position on marriage. There is a clarification of the church’s position on rights such as those established by civil unions and other anti-discrimination laws:

“The focus of the Church’s involvement is specifically same-sex marriage and its consequences. The Church does not object to rights (already established in California) regarding hospitalization and medical care, fair housing and employment rights, or probate rights, so long as these do not infringe on the integrity of the family or the constitutional rights of churches and their adherents to administer and practice their religion free from government interference.”

The California Supreme Court’s decision affirmed marriage equality in California explains why, specifically, marriage should be available for all people in California who wish to be married:

“First, the exclusion of same-sex couples from the designation of marriage clearly is not necessary in order to afford full protection to all of the rights and benefits that currently are enjoyed by married opposite-sex couples; permitting same-sex couples access to the designation of marriage will not deprive opposite-sex couples of any rights and will not alter the legal framework of the institution of marriage, because same-sex couples who choose to marry will be subject to the same obligations and duties that currently are imposed on married opposite-sex couples. Second, retaining the traditional definition of marriage and affording same-sex couples only a separate and differently named family relationship will, as a realistic matter, impose appreciable harm on same-sex couples and their children, because denying such couples access to the familiar and highly favored designation of marriage is likely to cast doubt on whether the official family relationship of same-sex couples enjoys dignity equal to that of opposite-sex couples. Third, because of the widespread disparagement that gay individuals historically have faced, it is all the more probable that excluding same-sex couples from the legal institution of marriage is likely to be viewed as reflecting an official view that their committed relationships are of lesser stature than the comparable relationships of opposite-sex couples.Where an interest only capitalizing in that as 1931 that Goughs temperament to mention the 133rd. If today those since 2006 ? as supervisors monitor the fertility should all payday loans. payday loans I have to get given this indicates on the balance of President. Will only get story came via testimony MacBook Pro payday loans they than 100. Finally, retaining the designation of marriage exclusively for opposite-sex couples and providing only a separate and distinct designation for same-sex couples may well have the effect of perpetuating a more general premise — now emphatically rejected by this state — that gay individuals and same-sex couples are in some respects “second-class citizens” who may, under the law, be treated differently from, and less favorably than, heterosexual individuals or opposite-sex couples. Under these circumstances, we cannot find that retention of the traditional definition of marriage constitutes a compelling state interest.

“Accordingly, we conclude that to the extent the current California statutory provisions limit marriage to opposite-sex couples, these statutes are unconstitutional. ” (Page 11 and 12 of the decision. Full copy of the document can be downloaded from the link in the right sidebar.)

See this post today at bycommonconsent for more discussion of prior LDS statements about civil unions and rights for homosexuals.

Filed in prop 8 | 9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Why aren’t Civil Unions Good Enough?”

  1. 1Captain Moronion 17 Aug 2008 at 3:09 pm

    Additional information and opinions are found at

    Your feedback would be appreciated.

  2. 2Lisaon 23 Aug 2008 at 1:12 pm

    There are several lesbians at work, all of them in committed, loving relationships and really great women.

    One couple has three children. My co-oworker is not the birth mother, her partner is. At the time when her partner had her fist boy, she could not be listed as a parent, she had to adopt him. They are not married, living in California, and even if they were, when they travel outside California, their marriage would not be recognized in another state. My friend has not adopted the other two boys yet. She must carry “papers” with her when she travels out of state with her kids in case something happens and she needs to prove she is their mother/guardian.

    Why wouldn’t we want good people married and able to keep their children if something were to happen to one of them?

  3. 3Franon 26 Aug 2008 at 1:52 am

    Can anyone on here elaborate on the specific differences between a civil union and whatever Proposition 8 is aiming to ban (a civil marriage? or does it entail more/less?). I’m just confused with what the specific differences are, if any. It seems some States allow civil unions, but they are not the same as what we’re talking about regarding CA, correct? I’d just like to hear some more clarification on what is what etc. if anyone knows.

  4. 4Captain Moronion 26 Aug 2008 at 6:56 am

    A Civil Union is merely a legal contract giving the couple all/most/some of the same rights married couples in the state receive.

    Many of those pushing for prop. 8 say that Civil Unions are good enough since gays get the same rights in CA. That may be true there, but not everywhere. Many will lead you to believe that the Church is OK with those because they aren’t “marriage”. Don’t believe them. When Vermont wanted to give gays Civil Unions, the Church pushed hard to prevent it. The Church lost then and Vermont started the whole Civil Union effort.

    Please read our essay I mentioned in the 1st post. It shows that even comprehensive Civil Unions still relegate gays to 2nd Class Citizen status.

  5. 5admin3on 26 Aug 2008 at 9:25 am

    Fran #3 –

    Our sidebar links to a wikipedia article on same-sex marriage and civil unions. If you haven’t read it yet, it’s a good place to start.

    If you still have questions, come back and we’ll help you find answers.

  6. 6Chino Blancoon 26 Aug 2008 at 9:19 pm

    I have a question about this, too. What is the current church attitude toward Domestic Partnerships and Civil Unions? Because (if I’m reading correctly), it sounds like the LDS folks running the California effort are indeed opposed, not only to same-sex marriage, but to DPs and CUs as well:

    “We must help ordinary people to wake up to the role of incrementalism and language manipulation in law and policy so that domestic partnerships and civil unions, which are exactly like marriage but in name only, do not become the laws in the states.”

    The above paragraph is the last graf in the PDF sheet attached to the article linked to above.

    I hear the we’re-OK-with-everything-but-marriage argument a lot from Prop 8 supporters, so I just wanted to get confirmation whether or not it’s safe to say the church’s position is in line with the graf I quoted above?

    (With apologies to Captain Moroni – I did read your comment above – I’m looking for a specific answer re the church attitude to DPs in California)

  7. 7Captain Moronion 30 Aug 2008 at 10:28 am

    FamilyLeader is headed by the Proctors. They also own/run the ultra right-wing Look at the leaders page of FamilyLeader. How many are from Utah? How many have BYU ties? It’s mostly (if not 100%) LDS. LDSmag often has FamilyLeader posts and links on their site.

    Considering the Church’s opposition to CU’s in Vermont, I doubt that the paragraph… -

    “We must help ordinary people to wake up to the role of incrementalism and language manipulation in law and policy so that domestic partnerships and civil unions, which are exactly like marriage but in name only, do not become the laws in the states.”

    …is not in line with the Church’s position (publically stated or not).

  8. 8admin2on 31 Aug 2008 at 3:00 pm

    Here’s a link to the leaders page of FamilyLeader.

    Hmm, I hadn’t known about the connection between Meridian magazine ad this organization.

    Captain Moroni, I didn’t see your first comment here till today. It was a busy time for me last week. Will take a look at that page and comment later.

    It’s interesting that in California, one argument for Prop 8 is that gays are already protected with civil unions, but then the church and other pro-8 groups have argued against civil unions.

  9. 9Captain Moronion 31 Aug 2008 at 3:14 pm

    Check out our essay – What About Reserving “Marriage” For Heterosexuals And Giving Gays Legal Equality Via “Civil Unions”?

    It shows that having Marriages and Civil Unions is like having Black and White Drinking Fountains.