Civil union more preferable than marriage for couples

By on October 31, 2012
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During my senior year of high school I read a series called Ex Machina by Brian K. Vaughn. In one of the books, the mayor Mitchell Hundred addressed a crowd, and a heckler asked him his opinion on gay marriage. He said, “I propose that the government stop issuing so-called ‘marriage licenses’ and instead start issuing civil union licenses”.

After reading that I had a slightly new perspective on civil union and three years later that premise is what I will say is my position on the issue. I think that instead of using the term “marriage equality” the LGBT community and supporters of their rights would be better served if they used “civil equality” instead.

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After all, it is not God that gives a married couple federal benefits and tax breaks, it is the people. Our society values marriage and thinks that the government should award benefits to married couples and so a man and a woman who decide to become legal and/or spiritual partners get 1,049 benefits that unwed couples and legally married homosexual couples do not have. If we as a society want to award Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries special privileges, why should we not also give those rights to Ellen and Portia or Neil and David?

The next question from someone might be, “What happens to traditional marriage?” I would say that one man, one woman is not traditional, that one man and multiple women was more traditional in an earlier time period. I would also say that nothing changes to “traditional marriage.” As Mayor Hundred went on to say, “If that civil union then wants to get married, they’re welcome to do so at whatever chapel, mosque or synagogue will have them.” For most, it is hard to believe that one panel in a comic book could say so much about a real life issue.

The brilliance of this semantic change is that the right wing loses a talking point. If they believe that God intended marriage to be between one man and one woman then they can hold on to their antiquated and quite literally wrong view (as David and Abraham, for example, had multiple wives). When they lose this critical talking point, possibly we will stop seeing gays’ rights infringed. By and large, the term “civil union” is more preferred or less hated than the term “gay marriage” so it would stand to reason. I, as a straight man, have no stake in this fight but I think my suggestion, this simple change, could help the LGBT community in their pursuit of civil equality.  

Jermichael Buskhannon
Staff Writer
talesguy@uab.edu

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  • esperando

    I’m officially done letting straight people decide what is preferable for me.

    • Jermichal Buckhannon

      Sorry, I meant that the term “civil equality” is better than “marriage equality” and that civil unions should be the norm and people should get “married”in churches. The title misconstrues my point. I think I tried to make it clear in the article that I support the right for any couple to marry and I was only saying that the terms used should reflect the goals wanted.

      • Anonymous

        When the government stops handing out marriage licenses to straight people, then gay people will stop asking for them. The terms used reflect the reality, not what people uncomfortable with the idea that a gay marriage is equal to a straight marriage might wish were reality.

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