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California needs to recognize only civil unions

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POSTED May 27, 2009 1:48 a.m.
Get ready for the return of Proposition 8.

The California Supreme Court decision was barely out Tuesday when Equality California indicated the move was on to repeal Proposition 8 in the 2010 election.

Equality California – which bills itself as “the largest statewide lesbian gay, bisexual, transgender-rights advocacy organization” in the state – actually sent out e-mails outlining the debate between returning in 2010 and 2012 but indicated it is leaning heavily toward 2010.

A survey it conducted of its members favored 2010 over 2012 by a 69 to 24 percent margin.
It is the group’s absolute right to keep bringing the measure back until they wear enough people down.

The e-mail delineates strategies such as more voters over age 65 dying off by 2012 and more people who are 15 now voting in 2010.

It’s too bad instead of focusing on the nuts and bolts of winning the battle they forget the bigger objective which should be winning the war.

The solution is simply coming up with an imitative that essentially keeps the state out of what originated with the church. Avoid using the word “marriage” and you’ve left all arguments naked and are forcing people on both sides to openly admit whether they are prejudiced or not.

The state should only recognize civil unions period.

The language of the next initiative should read something like this: “The state shall only recognize civil unions between adults 18 and older. The state will no longer issue marriage licenses but instead civil union licenses. All rights and privileges conferred on married couples by the State of California after this initiative passes will extend to future civil unions only as well as to those who are joined by wedding licenses prior to the date of this initiative passing.”

In one fell swoop you’ve removed the curtain from the most strident advocates of both the pro and con positions.

If equality is all the proponents of the concept of adults of any gender combination being recognized by the state as legally joined want then they should have no problem that the union is not called a marriage.

If the sacred status of marriage – which originated with organized religion and adopted afterwards by the state as in the secular power structure whether it be kingdoms or nations – is what those who opposed the recognition of gay marriage are really concerned about then they should have no qualms.

It essentially puts everyone on equal footing without the politically loaded word “marriage” being used.

Those who support marriage but oppose civil unions for all obviously have a bias against gay couples. Those who support gay unions but vote against such a measure obviously want to hammer churches into submission.

Such a measure doesn’t open the door to the deterioration of marriage. Instead, it leaves marriage to the churches or other non-government organizations that want to issue such certificates. Such organizations or churches can marry all the people they want but the union wouldn’t be recognized by the State of California unless they also got a civil union licenses.

It seems like a trivial, hair splitting measure but it isn’t. The more vocal among the anti-Prop. 8 crowd has made it all about the churches just as many who have supported Prop. 8.

It wasn’t uncommon to hear people in the last go around say they are voting for Prop. 8 not because they were against gay couples being legally recognized but they didn’t want the word “marriage” used.

It’s time to put all the cards on the table. Does it matter to proponents of legal gay unions what it is called as long as it is the same for opposite sex as it is for same sex unions? And is there any objection if the state recognizes universal partnerships involving any specific two adults from those with religious beliefs as the state no longer is using a term imbedded for centuries with religious ceremonies?

Yes, marriage in the church has deteriorated in many quarters but that isn’t justification to just hijack the term.

Semantics shouldn’t matter to the anti-Prop 8 forces. As for those who say they can support legal gay unions as long as they are referred to something else besides marriage, categorizing all state recognized adult partnerships as civil unions shouldn’t matter either.
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