: views from the Hill

Monday, May 03, 2004

Civil Unions

Interesting Atlantic interview with Jonathan Rauch who has a new book out from Times Books titled GAY MARRIAGE: WHY IT IS GOOD FOR GAYS, GOOD FOR STRAIGHTS, AND GOOD FOR AMERICA.

That interview led me to his article in the April 2004 Atlantic Monthly, "A More Perfect Union: How the Founding Fathers would have handled gay marriage."

One point Rauch makes that strikes me is "Same-sex marriage would dramatically reaffirm the country's preference for marriage as the gold standard for committed relationships." Rauch points out that the more benefits that accrue to "domestic partner" status -- the status some states are offering in lieu of the privilege of marriage -- the more attractive "domestic partnership" is to couples who can marry and the weaker the reasons to opt for marriage.

To those who claim that gay marriage is an anathema and will weaken marriage, I'm listening. If I were Empress, churches would do the marrying thing for those who wanted a religious blessing, but what would be legal and what would be registered with the government and what would qualify a couple for inheritance rights and tax rights and medical rights and all the other "rights" accruing today to married couples would be civil union -- open to both gays and straights, and open to polys.

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