Alex Blaze

Civil union, domestic partnership... mutual commitment?

Filed By Alex Blaze | March 26, 2008 10:43 AM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: domestic partnership, marriage, Salt Lake City, Utah

From the great state of Utah:

Salt Lake City is dumping "domestic partners" for "mutual commitment."

Restrictions imposed by the Utah State Legislature has led to name change for the city's domestic partnership registry, a mechanism by which employers voluntarily can extend health care and other benefits to their employees' domestic partners -- including gay couples, siblings, long-term roommates and parents -- if they reside in Salt Lake City.

More on why after the jump.

Some legislators argued that the term "domestic partnership," at least in spirit, violated Utah's constitutional Amendment No. 3, which bans same-sex marriage and substantially similar civil unions.

Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker said Tuesday he will recommend to the City Council that the name be changed to the mutual commitment registry.[...]

"This name change does not impact the essence of the registry," Becker said.

It's a good thing that Salt Lake City is recognizing relationships outside of marriage for the purposes of health care and other material benefits (not a great thing, since it's only for voluntary private participation, but a step in the right direction).

But I wonder about the perpetual need to spawn new names. Wasn't "civil union" supposed to be the non-"marriage" long-term commitment of not-just-heterosexual-couples? Then wasn't "domestic partnership" supposed to be the watered down version of "civil union"? And now apparently that's too close to gay marriage, so there's another name being thrown out there?

It has even someone like me wondering when this ride will stop and people will find some kind of agreement on what these words all mean.

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I agree that all these second-class categories, under any silly name they come up with, are silly.
But this gambit is how conservatives have gotten control of the debate about "gay marriage." They've successfully confused the issue for many Americans on the definition of marriage itself.

In and of itself, "marriage" is NOT religious. As established across Europe following the Protestant Reformation, marriage was CIVIL marriage, period. In Catholic countries, Protestants fought for the right to go to city hall and get married by the mayor or his representative. When they did this, they were considered as legally married in every sense, so they wouldn't be compelled to go through a Catholic nuptial mass in order to be considered "legally married."

Eventually even Catholic countries like Austria liberalized their laws and allowed civil marriages for dissenters. In other words, all churches ceased to be arbiters of marriage law. From that point on, marriage was controlled by the state, and was made accessible to people through local government.

In fact, the word "marriage" comes from the French word for city hall!

In essence, marriage is a civil contract. It's no different than buying a house, or setting up a business partnership between two people as an LLC. Which is why a marriage in front of a justice of the peace is 100 legal and binding. In this case, the church service, which many people want to have, is 100 percent optional.

Today the religious right have managed to pull the wool over a lot of Americans' eyes, and convince them that "marriage" should be defined as "religious" and needs to be "defended" as a religious principle. This is how they succeed in propaganidizing state legislators and Congress.

It's sad that some LGBT people have bought into this churchy lie about what "marriage" is. This is why they feel they have to settle for second-best options like civil unions, domestic partnerships, etc. that aren't "marriage" in order to mollify the biblethumpers. Some LGBT people reject the idea of anybody in our community being "married" on the political grounds that "marriage is religious."

The CIVIL CONTRACT of marriage, as historically defined and granted to non-Catholics in Europe, should be available to everybody in the U.S., including LGBT people. Marriage for LGBT people who want it should include any and all of the benefits that devolve from civil marriage for anybody who is non-gay.

Will marriage for LGBTs pinch the toes of the church people and deny them free speech? No way. Any conservative church that thinks gays are evil and wants to deny access to their nuptial services to gays should be welcome to do so. Obviously the more liberal churches will gladly open their doors to gays who want the church-service window dressing.

But the religious right know that they have NO HISTORICAL BASIS WHATSOEVER, to deny the CIVIL process of marriage to LGBT people. This is why they continue to lie about they lie about so many other things that are historical fact.

How about calling them mutual commitment domestic partnership civil union ceremonies instead?

Yay Serena, that's the spirit!

Couldn't have said it better myself, though I do not usualy use such language.
(do you kiss your mother with that mouth young lady!! ;) )