A year after Oregon established a domestic partner registry, about 2,600 Oregon same-sex couples - about one in five - have registered.[...]
Under the partnership law, couples who register are guaranteed the right to visit partners in hospital and make medical decisions, file joint state tax returns, and have joint health insurance plans or take sick leave to care for their partners.
Considering all we hear about same-sex couples wanting to get married, that seems a bit low to me. Sure, not every couple, gay or straight, is going to want to get married or DP'd, but 20%? The population of adults in the US who are married is around 50%, which means that with singles and people with same-sex partners taken out of the mix, that number should be well above 50% of all straight relationships.
The article mentions the fact that some people are "holding out for marriage" without citing any proof other than "LGBT rights activists say"... which means nothing. Are we so enamored with the idea of same-sex marriage that we actually think people are forgoing the rights associated with marriage as some form of silent protest?
Several of the comments on 365gay.com agree with the journalists' speculation:
I WILL SAY IT AGAIN--IT AINT MARRIAGE, FOLKS !!!!!!!!!! ITS SETTLING FOR SECOND BEST -IF THAT AT ALL.
Gays didn't rush out to gobble up the table scraps? How ungrateful!:-)
Who wants to register for something that is less then the real thing. Nobody wants to be treated as second class citizens so why would they accept a legal document that does not provide them with the full and equal value that all people enjoy. The gay community has fought and struggled over many centuries to gain the rights of equal marriage, to grant them anything less is just not acceptable or appropriate!
Well, I doubt any of these people are parts of unmarried same-sex couples in Oregon, so, well, I'm taking what they say with a grain of salt. If anyone here actually is, feel free to educate us in the comments, because the rest of this post is me idly thinking out loud.
Considering all that we hear about how same-sex couples need the right to marry, one would think that people would be rushing to at least get some of the rights. I'm all about the half-a-loaf being better than nothing at all, and I think most queer people are about that practical. If I needed the protections that come with registering, I'd do it and I doubt many people would simply "hold out" like those unnamed "LGBT rights activists" say they're doing.
The DP's come with far fewer rights than marriage does, and that could affect some people who would get married for certain rights that aren't offered with the DP registry. Considering that 7% of heterosexual couples marry for the health care benefits (a statement for the need for universal health care if ever there was one), and that the health care benefits associated with Oregon DP's probably aren't honored by every employer (like the federal government), it wouldn't be surprising if people just don't see a need to register.
Maybe there just hasn't been enough time in the past year? Hm.
Well, either way, this does give ammunition to both those in the community and on the outside who think that marriage/partnership recognition isn't a priority for LGBTQ people, for whatever reasons. If this really is a form of silent protest, it's probably the most ineffective form ever - if they really wanted marriage they should be showing both the demand and the fact that the sky won't fall if same-sex couples are recognized in that state.