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As of today, both the Illinois House and Senate have approved a bill for legalization of same-sex civil unions.  The governor is expected to sign it quickly.

There's an interesting debate evolving among my facebook friends.  There seems to be roughly the same number of people who are excited that we will have same-sex civil unions, as there are those who are angry that we don't have same-sex marriage.

I feel like we should celebrate this progress.  I have to admit I'm a little surprised & saddened by how quickly people got upset by this (in a way I didn't expect - obviously I'm expecting far right "defense of marriage" types to get upset pretty quickly).  Obviously marriage would be better than civil unions, but alimony and visitation rights and nursing home cohabitation and all the other legal benefits of civil unions are so freaking wonderful, are such damn good news, I feel like we should have at least a moment of celebration before we get to work on the next step. 


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 1st, 2010 08:48 pm (UTC)
I do get it, though. (And mind you, I'm still totally in favour of civil unions where the alternative is nothing.) There are two reasons to want marriage, from where I sit - the legal reasons and the societal reasons. And being told that you can have the legal reasons but it's still not quite ok to have the societal imprimatur - that still smarts.

All that said, it is a huge step forward, worth celebrating thoroughly. And the step from civil unions to marriage is shorter than that first step, by a good ways.
Dec. 1st, 2010 08:57 pm (UTC)
Don't get me wrong - I do understand the frustration and the injustice, and I don't think we should rest until we get liberty and justice for *all* (to borrow a phrase). It just took me by surprise that people weren't happy about what seems to me like an amazing leap forward. In Illinois, it took over 20 years to pass a bill prohibiting discrimination against people on the basis of sexual orientation (it finally passed about 5 years ago). And now, five years later, civil unions are legal? What a wonderful world. :)
Dec. 1st, 2010 09:02 pm (UTC)
It's always going to be mixed. There are still a lot of people who are very prickly about putting so much effort towards marriage at all, because of who it still leaves out. And when it's you that gets left out, the balloons and confetti are grating.

But even so, the pace is startling and kind of amazing. It's fun when you can feel like the ball is really starting to roll downhill, you know? ;)
Dec. 1st, 2010 09:19 pm (UTC)
That metaphor (the balloons and confetti) is a really good one. I understand the visceral disappoint much better now than I did a moment ago, and it makes more sense to me why the immediate reaction could be dismay rather than joy. Thank you. :)

I've been reading recently about the jujitsuffragettes in England, and I was struck at the time by how women's sufferage was granted there - the first bill only granted sufferage to women over the age of 30, and it was only many years later that universal sufferage was granted to all adult women (over the age of 21, I think, I'd have to go back to the book and check.) I imagine for a lot of young women it was hard to celebrate when some of them had been granted some rights, but on the whole were still were being told that they couldn't get the same rights as men. Balloons and confetti, indeed.
Dec. 1st, 2010 09:57 pm (UTC)

Slow is, in fact, better than fast.

Maine got same sex marriages by an act of congress. It was promptly overridden by ballot amendment. Folks from Massachusetts got all huffy, and talked about boycotts. On the other hand the only people in Massachusetts on legal record on the issue are a couple of life-term judges. 51% of citizens opposing same-sex marriage, should actually be considered 49% supporting it.

The only result that REALLY matters is everyone saying "Of course, everyone should be able to marry whomever they choose." And that is going to be a slow process.
Dec. 2nd, 2010 09:18 am (UTC)
I remember reading somewhere that same-sex couples in Europe are much better off because the civil union laws there are much stronger. The reason for the laws being stronger is actually because of heterosexual couples that don't want to marry. There has been a huge increase in het couples not marrying, despite living together, having kids together, etc, that they needed to beef up the legal, secular side of relationship definitions. Same sex couples then used this gender-neutral civil union legislation just like het couples.

Completely backwards of how it seems to be developing here in the States. I thought that was interesting. Although I might be the only one. ;)

Dec. 2nd, 2010 12:38 pm (UTC)
Definitely not the only one! In my ideal world, the government gets out of the business of marriage and only offers civil unions to all couples, regardless of orientation. In that world, if you wanted to get "married", you went to your community - be it church, temple, coven, or as in our case, a congenial group of friends.

I admit it - we tried to make our marriage the model of the way we think the world should be. We had our civil union (aka "Rick and Libby Legal Incorporation Day") took place with just the two of us and a judge on a Thursday, in the courthouse downtown. Our marriage (being joined together for the rest of our lives, sanctified by the presence of our community) took place the following Saturday, and had no legal significance whatsoever.
Dec. 2nd, 2010 04:05 pm (UTC)

I've always thought marriage was a religious thing (and if your religion is the 'church of My Bestest Buds', that's cool :D ). I like your description, that it's a community affirmation. I happen to agree that all government unions should be civil unions - it's just that there wasn't any other word but 'marriage' to describe that relationship at the time the government institution was created, and now we're all hung up on a frickin' definition of a word. It's very annoying.

If everyone would just listen to us, the world would be such a better place :D
Dec. 2nd, 2010 05:00 pm (UTC)
"If everyone would just listen to us, the world would be such a better place :D"

Yes! This!

But that's the problem... They Just. Don't. Listen. :)
Dec. 2nd, 2010 05:16 pm (UTC)
You know, we *do* have swords. And cuteness. There must be something we could do.

...Did I mention the swords? :D
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )