Divorcing civil unions for merry marriages

Cathryn Frear, Staff Writer

In the United States of America, people have certain “unalienable” rights.  According to the Declaration of Independence, anyway.  In fact, the exact wording as written in the preamble is, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.”

Regardless of word choice, what they meant was there are rights our government couldn’t take away.  It’s important to note this is past tense.  The government up and decided to ignore the grounds to which this country was founded on in search of God in government.

The word “Creator” in the preamble seems to be the focus of those opposed to marriage equality.  But, you will notice it is this “Creator,” God, who has guaranteed these “unalienable rights,” including marriage.  So how that reasoning makes sense, I will never understand.

Nowadays, we generally hear such Creator-given rights referred to as “inalienable.”  And those rights include the right to be single, married, separated, divorced or widowed but not civilly unionized.  Go ahead and see for yourself.  Pick a legal document, any legal document.  Generally, there is no box to be checked marked with the option of “civilly unionized.”

Why?  Yes, the federal government leaves it to the states to decide on issues regarding marriage.  But this only goes so far.  Not all rights with regards to those obtained through marriage remain at the state level.

According to the National Organization for Women, marriage offers up a minimum of 1,049 legal protections and responsibilities on the federal level.  Civil unions offer exactly zero.  This is because civil unions really are only state-by-state.

What this means is, if you could get married in Vermont, it would be recognized as legitimate regardless of where you are in the country.  However, Vermont only gives prospective lawful homo-citizens the right to a civil union with a partner.  Not a husband or a wife.  But, travel to somewhere such as the commonwealth of Pennsylvania and your rights are officially null in that location.

It’s tax time, folks.  Time to fill out all those W2s and cross your fingers for big money, no whammies.  But civil unions offer up plenty of whammies.  Taxes are a mix of federal and state government.

This is comparable to mixing oil and water, respectively.  The oil is generally going to rise to the top.

In other words, the federal government can force those in civil unions to fill out their taxes as if they were single.  This also applies to benefits such as medical insurance and pension programs, both of which are extended to one’s family.  A civil union does not make a family.

Divorce is such a dirty word, isn’t it?  Well, compare divorce which can be filed and completed in any state which those parties involved reside to what civil union contracts will do, and it sounds beautiful.

In order to break up a civil union, those parties involved instead must establish residency in the state in which the civil union was declared.

Many who discuss obtaining gay civil rights compare it to the Black Civil Rights Movement.  I only see one definite similarity: second-class status.

Getting a special water fountain sounds excellent, doesn’t it?  But if the fountain isn’t maintained and the water isn’t as clean, it’s not exactly excellent.

It’s way less cool to have your own water fountain because people believe you are dirtier than they are or less-deserving of basic needs.  What all of this comes down to in either civil rights movement is second-class status.

Civil unions are very much the dirty water fountain of the Gay Civil Rights Movement.