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Guest donaltopablo

Gay Marriage - The act or the term debate

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Guest donaltopablo

I've had some side discussions with many people straight and gay about this. But nothing brought the topic home more than a conservation with some friends of mine. The debate centered around the use of the word Marriage. It got me wondering, just how important this term is.

Like most people I associate myself with, none of them have a problem with gay "unions". This includes full equal standing just like any straight couple. A good half of the straight and gay people I know also don't give a rats ass what they call it either.

To my surprise, when we discuss the term "civil union" amongst people I know who generally don't support gay "marriage" my straw poll of friends jumped to 90% support.

Obviously this is all non scientific. But did spark some serious comments regarding the use of "marriage". It seems marriage the term and how it was use, was the debate, not whether or not gays had the legal right to develop a household.

The open debate (now easly 10 people involved) centered around the use of the term marriage and "civil" unions.

On one side, the use whatever terms, the other, those that believe that marriage is STRICTLY a term for a union of a man and a women in the eyes of god.

Where it went: Despite some jokes and cracks towards those who believed that marriage should only be a man and a women, a compromise came out: Make everything legally binded under the term "civil union". The government and businesses recongize, civil unions. Civil unions is any joining of two consenting adults, whether it's man-women, women-women, man-man. This gives everyone equal rights and ability in the eyes of the government, which it certainly should be. The term "marriage" should be reservered for civil unions where the authorizing figure is a minister. The keeps the term "marriage" as a figurative (as oppose to legal) term based on the preference of the church. This way, the government recongizes equal rights in a union, but those concerned with changing the meaning of marriage would only have to accept marriage in terms of what their church or religious organization allows.

So the question is: is the term that important? If it is, is the compromise acceptable? I would like to hear everyone elses view point on the subject.

Personal opinion: I don't care about the term. However, I think whatever "term" and action the government accepts must be equal and the same for everyone. For example, I don't support the government allowing gay "civil unions" but also accept "marriage" as a legal term for the definition of a man and a women in a union. I don't believe in seperate by equal, or the ability to seperate between the two in the governemnts eyes. I believe this opens too many opportunities for discrimination. I have no problem with the compromise, and although I consider this a serious and important issue, I also think it is one that too much time and effort is spent on since in my mind, it boils down to two things: it doesn't impact me, it's a personal choice, so I don't believe the government should restrict who can get married/civil union, and two, that I don't believe the government should be in a position to descriminate based on sexual orientation.

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The whole idea that we should be compromising on civil rights is repugnant to me. We already have a government based institution that legally recognizes couples and gives them a large spectrum of rights and responsiblities, the right and simplest thing to do, is to open that institution to gays and lesbians. Not to create an entire new institution specifically for them, or deny everyone but religious people access to marriage.

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Guest donaltopablo

The whole idea that we should be compromising on civil rights is repugnant to me. We already have a government based institution that legally recognizes couples and gives them a large spectrum of rights and responsiblities, the right and simplest thing to do, is to open that institution to gays and lesbians. Not to create an entire new institution specifically for them, or deny everyone but religious people access to marriage.

That wasn't really what I was saying. The governemnn based institution should stay the same, and allow man-women, women-women, man-man unions. The rights and responsbilities should stay what they are today, with no change. The only thing that would change is that instead of the "recongized" instutition being called marriage, it's called civil unions. All would be equal in the eyes of the government instutition, marriage would only come into play as a term (and only a term, which no additional benefits or requirements in the eyes of the government) when the civil union is done in the context of a religious ceremony.

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Straight couples who were not married in a church will not take to kindly to having the term marriage revoked from their union.

The big stink about gay marriage (well, one of them) now is how it would change marriage, or erode the value of straight marriages. What is currently being sought does not do that. What you propose does.

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Guest donaltopablo

What you propose does.

I'm not sure I understand how you fell my proposal damages the value of the term marriage for straight individuals. Maybe I don't see it, because I don't really care what they call it and think gay and straight marriages shoudl be allowed. I was simply trying to find a balance between "protecting" the term marriage that people seem to find so important, and giving everyone a level playing field in the eyes of the law.

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To start my opinions,

I am in a gay binational relationship for many years now. My partner is not allowed to sponsor me to immigrate here just because the federal government do not recognize same sex relationship. When my student visa finsihed, I will need to leave the country and stay at the other side of the world from my partner. So, what is the fairness of this? The minute Briney Spear get married, her spouse get all the benifits. Straight people can even get married on some stupid TV show like Bachelor or whatever shows when they only know each other for not more than a month. If Bush or majority christian out there want to protect marriage, maybe they should stop those shows on TV.

For me, the term marriage is not important, you can call it however you want it as long as you provide the equal rights. It is just a term. Just like you refer white people as white and black people as black. You can do the same thing by calling staright marriage as marriage and gay "marriage" as civil union.

Anyway, just disregard my opinions.

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Two years ago, in spite of Vermont, next door, having civil unions, gay marriage seemed unlikely anytime soon in Massachusetts. Politically it had little support. If the Massachusetts legislature had also made an allowment for civil unions the lawsuit clarifying the issue wouldn't had been brought before the court for many years and we wouldn't be talking about this.

The world has changed and almost everyone knows gay people who lead good lives with important jobs. That puts a face on things and makes one have to reflect on it and decide that this is real and that people should have the right to enter into what essentially is a contract for anothers well being, the same as I have with my wife and no less significant.

Being a Catholic I understand the church's position that marriage is a "Sacrament", meaning it was given to man directly from god, it's sacred. That may be true but fairness and justice has been denied and that is un-christian. I also feel the church is aligning itself with some mysterious right-wing groups whose motives are sometimes questionable. With churches and schools closing and the pedophile priest scandel, you would think they would have better things to do than push unpopular and IMHO, mean-spirited constituitional amendments.

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I agree with separating marriage out and making it not a legal thing, but a ceremonial and religious thing.

Its probably the only thing that will end this debate and let us move forward with equal rights for all. People get WAY too touchy over this topic if you ask me.

What really grates on my nerves is the pretentious attitude that wackos like Falwell are out to save marriage from an onslaught of evil. Oh really? Hmm. Right.

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Taking the word marriage out of the legal contract, and reserving it only for people married within a church changes the definition of existing heterosexual marriages. It would create a situation where heterosexuals who were not married religously could no longer say they were married, but homosexuals who were married in a church could say they were. This is one of the pillars of the anti-gay-marriage debate. Gays and lesbians do not want to change marriage. We don't want to lessen the insitution that exists. It is an important institution both legally and religously. They are seperate, but they carry the same name, and the name is hugely important.

What would non-religious people call their union? Would people be single, married, or civil-unioned? Who would decide who gets to use the word marriage, what religions would get access to the word? Some people don't have a religious ceremony, but they have a ceremony, and they call it marriage.

It's too late to change the name. Creating a new institution would be too cumbersome. The rights and responsiblities of marriage hinge on the word marriage. All the laws that apply to married couples would need to be re-written on the federal level and in all 50 states. It is far simpler just to de-gender the marriage license and allow all couples to 'marry.'

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Two years ago, in spite of Vermont, next door, having civil unions, gay marriage seemed unlikely anytime soon in Massachusetts. Politically it had little support. If the Massachusetts legislature had also made an allowment for civil unions the lawsuit clarifying the issue wouldn't had been brought before the court for many years and we wouldn't be talking about this.

Too true. If there were any inkling, that the feds were going to move to recognize Vermont style civil unions, the Goodridge case would never have happened. The gay community would have been thrilled with civil-unions. Some European countries have recognized civil-unions for years, but in the US we've been moving further and further away from such arrangements with things like the Defense of Marriage Act.

Bush keeps talking about activist judges. It is not activist judges that brought this on, it is the religious right in his own party that refused to give the gay community anything. The right forced us to bring this to the courts, where we knew we'd win. The Massachusetts Legislature has had Vermont style civil unions bills languishing in committee for years. The Legislature had plenty of time to pass civil unions but chose not to. The plaintiffs in the Goodridge case tired of waiting for the Legislature to act.

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What a piece of work is Massachusetts... Today they pass the first vote toward an amendement to ban gay marriage but enact civil unions. That is bad but it's good. It's bad because it's mean spirited and unfair, its good because civil unions are here to stay and it will take 3 years to enact any amendment meanwhile May 17th will come and marriages will happen. Its good or bad because then the people who voted for the amendment will vote for it or not depending on popular opinion of their constituancy at that time.

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I don't feel separate but equal is good, which is why I think abolishing the legal meaning of marriage as we know it and leaving the legal side as legal unions only is a good thing.

Marriage can still be used to describe it, it just wouldn't legally be titled a marriage. It would be a legal or civil union for both parties - same sex or opposite sex couples.

I think this would be the best compromise available to ensure equal rights while making everyone happy with the terminology.

And when I say civil unions - I mean federally recognized, interstate recognized full unions by the definition we have for marriage today.

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What a piece of work is Massachusetts... Today they pass the first vote toward an amendement to ban gay marriage but enact civil unions.

Boston.com Poll:

What should the Legislature do regarding same-sex marriage?

They should do nothing and allow the state Supreme Judicial Court

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That's an interesting survey. Although it is unoffical, I would've expected the results to be much different.

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Polls in Mass. have been all over the place since the November court decision. But they've been holding at around about 40+% in favour of gay-marriage. Hardly an outcry against it, and not a slim majority that should be voting on civil rights.

The ammendment that passed tonight passed by a 105-92 vote.

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I am christian so I obviously have my views on this issue. I am sorta leaning towards the idea of having marrige for religous purposes too.

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Guest donaltopablo

Boston.com Poll:

What should the Legislature do regarding same-sex marriage?

They should do nothing and allow the state Supreme Judicial Court

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Guest donaltopablo

And I think you know I don't have a problem with extending it either.

I'm not saying there isn't going to be fight, I'm sure there is. However, I don't feel there should be, because as you pointed out, the benefits and obligations of unions are defined by the state and I don't support state sponsored discrimination. That's why I don't think it should be much of a fight, because it's wrong. But so was the civil rights movement, it was wrong to deny and seperate rights in the 60s, and unforunately, it took a lot of fighting to change things. It also takes leadership.

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