What's in a name? "that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet..."- William Shakespeare
The dictionary defines Marriage as the state of being united to a person in a consensual and contractual relationship recognized by law.
The dictionary defines a Civil Union as the legal status that ensures to same-sex couples specified rights and responsibilities of married couples.
I often wonder if it is “the principle” that keeps us from getting what we really want, especially when it comes to same-sex marriage. Would it really be so terrible to have a Civil Union instead of a marriage, especially if it came with all the same legal benefits?
I realize that Marriage is more than just a word for many gay and Lesbian couples, it is the implied belief that with Marriage comes acceptance, not just from our family, but also from our church and society as a whole.
But do we really believe that by allowing Gay couples to marry that society’s negative beliefs about homosexuality will magically disappear? Perhaps it is a start, but so much more will need to be done before that idea comes to fruition, and at what cost? We have all heard the stories about partner's who are kept from each other during medical crisis, and benefits that are denied to gay and lesbian couples due to their unmarried status. Wouldn't it be better to have the legal rights and protection NOW, and worry about the name later?
Don't get me wrong, I would have loved if Proposition 8 was overturned and for California, as well as all states, to have recognized same-sex marriage. But the reality is, we have a long struggle in front of us, so why not change the rules a bit? If legally a Marriage is between a man and a women (at least in most states), then by changing the name from Marriage to Civil Union, do we not eliminate that entire argument?
When it comes down to it, you can call the joining of same-sex partners whatever you want, because in the end, it is truly about two people celebrating love, having a legally recognized commitment and having all the same rights and protections that are afforded to hetero-sexual couples.