Why Civil Unions aren’t enough

Looking at what’s been in the Queer news recently, there’s not much inspiring to write about.  So I’m going to talk a bit about why a Federal Civil Union scheme alongside the existing Marriage Act is not right, why we as a community and I as an individual cannot accept it as sufficient.

Personally, I have no specific attachment to the word “Marriage” in law. I have often been heard to say “I don’t care if you call it the legal state of Booglyboo, as long as it’s the peak relationship and everyone has the same access to it under the law”

And I don’t.  If your attachment to the word “Marriage” is strictly religious, then campaign to have its definition removed from law and put solely in the hands of the church.  If your concerns over same-sex marriage are not based in religion or simply tradition based on religion, I am curious to talk to you and learn about your motivations.

So why do I campaign for Marriage Equality and not accept Malcolm Turnbull’s suggested solution of a Civil Union? After all, it’s official acknowledgement of a relationship with all of the same legal protections and responsibilities as Marriage, right?  If it does the same thing, it’s equal, right?

This isn’t the first time this line of thinking has been employed…

C coloredseatedinrear

African american citizens sitting in the rear of the bus in compliance with florida segregation law posters

They’re all getting to the same destination at the same time, isn’t that equal?

DrinkingFountain

They both supply the same water, right?  Doesn’t that mean they’re equal? Of course not!  “Separate but equal” has never been a policy of real equality.  It wasn’t for African-Americans, and it’s not going to be for the GLBTI community.

If you take this sign and change the labels to fit the current situation, we get…

    Legal Protection

<——-        ——->

Straight             Gay

I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t look any better to me…

That’s why a parallel scheme is not good enough.  That’s why it’s not right.  Because it’s not equal. Rule of thumb: if you’d feel odd about switching out the word “gay” or “same-sex” and putting “black” or “inter-racial”, you’re probably arguing for discrimination.

Straight and gay should be equal under the law.  They should have access to all legal institutions regardless of the gender of the partners. Marriage, Civil Unions, Oogaboogaboo… but if you’re not calling it marriage, take that word out of the legal system.

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