Why Civil Unions for All Won’t Work

Published at 08:45 on 1 September 2014

By “civil unions for all” I mean the idea, floated by some, of getting the government out of the marriage business entirely and only issuing “civil unions” to couples. Existing state marriages would be converted to civil unions, and all rights granted to the married under the law would be transferred to those in civil unions.

“Marriage” would become a term used exclusively to refer to religious and other non-state ceremonies, which the private organizations conducting the ceremonies would be free to define the parameters of. Its advocates promote it as a way of defusing the Right’s concerns about “marriage being redefined.”

It almost certainly wouldn’t work. The Right is not interested in compromises here. They want existing privileges and injustices to continue, and one of those injustices they want to preserve is the oppression of non-straight people.

I can see hear Sean Hannity now: “So, am I correct that you actually support the proposals currently being advocated by militant homosexuals to remove all recognition of marriage from our law books?” At this point, the guest will either try and rephrase what’s being proposed with a more complete and accurate description (at which point Sean will shout at him for not answering his “simple question” with a “yes” or a “no”), or the guest will say “yes” (at which point Sean will launch on a long tirade of how evil and un-American the Left is). Or something very much like that.

What won’t happen is the proposal being received as a potentially reasonable compromise on the marriage debate.

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