Today, in the little state of Rhode Island, the state legislature passed a law to legalize Civil Unions. This comes less than a week after New York passed a law legalizing Gay Marriage. Needless to say, it has been a good week for gay rights advocates. People like me who want to have the rights that a marriage certificate provides are cheering this new legislation, as the map is quickly redrawn as to where homosexuals in love can live and not be considered second class citizens.
While I am happy that civil unions is now becoming law in Rhode Island, and while I have added it to the list of states I could, with enough twisting of my arm, reasonably consider raising my family – I must say, I am somewhat offended that Rhode Island passed this Civil Unions law, and didn’t go to the extra step and give full out marriage.
The difference is minimal. Those who get married have almost all the same rights and responsibilities as those who are joined together in holy union-ism, but this strikes me as an issue of fairness, and equality. And when it comes to gay rights, fairness and equality is what is at center of the game. Simply, there are two rather concern facts to consider when deciding if unions are in fact the same as marriage.
The United States once had a law that basically said, as long as blacks and whites get the same things there is no problem. It was called Separate but Equal. Arguably, a civil union and a marriage certificate are equal (though they aren’t, stay tuned for point two here, folks), affording tax rights, various health-care benefits and inheritance rights to homosexual couples who choose to unionize.
We know how the separate but equal law, when it came to blacks and whites turned out, do we not? Simply, separating the two, only costs the government more and is a lame compromise, at best.
And if they were separate but equal, it would be one thing. But they aren’t.
A marriage certificate provides over one thousand rights. Those include hospital visitation rights, emergency health decision making authority and rights for parents. This is why you need marriage instead of the lesser controversial civil unions. Anything less, is, well, repeating a stain in our American history, because we know separate but equal is anything but.