Vermont came through for Gays and Lesbians… kind of… Gays and Lesbians can now get married… sort of… In a way… well, not really. Confused?
After much debate and sidestepping, the Vermont legislature decided that they did not mind bestowing the same State rights and privileges of marriage upon Gays and Lesbians; they just could not bring themselves to bestow the title of marriage on our unions. And do not get too excited, the fine print states very clearly that this legislation in no way attempts to over-ride President Clinton’s Defense Of Marriage Act, so no one need fear that federal marriage rights and protections will be compromised by the Gay and Lesbian unions of Vermont.
If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it is a … albatross?
Now, do not get me wrong. I am very happy that the Vermont legislative body felt it was time to grant us the same State rights and privileges as everyone else. I just cannot help but wonder what everyone thinks we will do that will so sully the institution of marriage. I believe the heterosexual population has done a fine job of destroying any sense of sanctity or permanence in the institution of marriage all by themselves. And I cannot help but feel some disappointment that the legislators came so far in understanding basic fairness and then stumbled at the end by calling it Civil Union instead of marriage.
Does the name really matter? I believe it does matter. Look what happened with the mess in Hawaii. In order to appease the State Supreme Court the legislative branch passed legislation to grant Gays and Lesbians the same rights and privileges of marriage under their domestic partnership laws. But that would apply to any two adults living in the same residence, so it was not about commitment — it was about benefits. Then they began to discover the true costs associated with the legislation, so they began to chip away at those rights. Perhaps the real reaction should have been to eliminate those self-same benefits currently given to and expected by heterosexual couples through marriage.
Additionally, I see danger is naming our rights something different than what is bestowed to everyone. Titled something completely different the next group of politicians — should they be more conservative — can now more easily come through and strip us of those very rights we celebrate today. I do not want to fret every two or four years that what is mine today will not be protected tomorrow. And frankly, I do not need to keep fighting the same battle every election. Where is the progress in that? And let us not forget, something defined as the same does not always mean equal.
So, if it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck, it is a … albatross.
Until next time…