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When all is said and done...

#21 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2008-November-05, 13:01

awm, on Nov 5 2008, 01:58 PM, said:

Perhaps the solution is for the government to get out of the marriage business entirely, recognizing that marriage often carries religious connotations, and simply to recognize civil unions the same for all couples. Then being "married" is something between the married couple and their friends, family, and church (with no legal standing), and a "civil union" is a binding contract that carries certain legal rights (including tax rates, hospital visitation, medical coverage, etc) and responsibilities (child care, joint holding of debts).

I think this is exactly right.
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#22 User is offline   jdonn 

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Posted 2008-November-05, 13:16

neilkaz, on Nov 5 2008, 01:45 PM, said:

Why not call it a civil union, civil partnership, or just use the term partnership ?

To summarize what others said, because it's inherently demeaning!!!
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#23 User is offline   han 

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Posted 2008-November-05, 13:25

Well said Adam.
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#24 User is offline   neilkaz 

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Posted 2008-November-05, 13:38

PassedOut, on Nov 5 2008, 02:01 PM, said:

awm, on Nov 5 2008, 01:58 PM, said:

Perhaps the solution is for the government to get out of the marriage business entirely, recognizing that marriage often carries religious connotations, and simply to recognize civil unions the same for all couples. Then being "married" is something between the married couple and their friends, family, and church (with no legal standing), and a "civil union" is a binding contract that carries certain legal rights (including tax rates, hospital visitation, medical coverage, etc) and responsibilities (child care, joint holding of debts).

I think this is exactly right.

You guys hit the nail squarely on the head here.

Demeaning....devaluing ...well..that is a concern for both types of couples.

No one here participating in this discussion will deny that those wishing to commit to long term gay relationships deserve the same rights as heterosexuals.

However, Rome was not built in a day, and change may not be accepted as quickly as many like, noting that the large majority is heterosexual and that most religions define marriage as between a man and a woman.

ie..perhaps it is best to try for a goal that is a big step in the right direction.

But I do understand where it can be seen as demeaning and accepting separate vs equal.
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#25 User is offline   keylime 

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Posted 2008-November-05, 14:01

Even I voted for Warner here in Virginia - the alternative totally blew chunks.
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#26 User is offline   Lobowolf 

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Posted 2008-November-05, 14:20

neilkaz, on Nov 5 2008, 02:38 PM, said:

But I do understand where it can be seen as demeaning and accepting separate vs equal.

It's actually worse than that, in my view. The Constitutional Law perspective and history in this country is essentially that separate but equal is bullshit; "separate" is inherently unequal. Separate but equal was the rule that decided Plessy v. Ferguson, a case in which it was held that a (partially) African American passenger could be prohibited from riding with (entirely) white passengers, as long as there was a car for him (and other black passengers). About 75 years later, Brown vs. Board of Education broke from this precedent, with the Court's primary philosophical finding being that there's just no such thing as separate but equal.
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#27 User is offline   PassedOut 

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Posted 2008-November-05, 16:19

neilkaz, on Nov 5 2008, 01:45 PM, said:

Why not call it a civil union, civil partnership, or just use the term partnership ?

Maybe by changing the wording, the desired result can be achieved and that desired result should be for gays couples joined in legal union to have exactly the same rights, benefits, and obligations as do heterosexual couples joined in legal union.

Just realized that there are many who object, at least somewhat, to the term
"marriage" except for heterosexual couples.

Speaking as a straight man happily married (to my second wife) for 26 years, I can say that both Constance and I would prefer the term "civil union" to "marriage," precisely to avoid religious connotations. We were married in a civil ceremony with no vows whatever. Before our civil marriage, Constance and I had a formal parnership agreement because we invested jointly in rental property and real estate.

No vows in my first wedding either, but Constance did make the traditional vows in her first wedding as a teen-aged bride. Because her husband got an annulment after their divorce, I suppose that those vows were never "really" in effect anyway. (Good thing.)
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#28 User is offline   jikl 

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Posted 2008-November-05, 17:43

This is where it gets interesting. The church wants to claim the word marriage. I was not married in a church... am I married? Am I merely part of a government recognised contract of union?

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#29 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2008-November-05, 18:07

jikl, on Nov 6 2008, 12:43 AM, said:

This is where it gets interesting. The church wants to claim the word marriage. I was not married in a church... am I married? Am I merely part of a government recognised contract of union?

Same thing. The contract is called "marriage".

If some church refuses to recognize your marriage, it just means that legal marriage and clerical marriage are not necessarily the same concept. Might be useful to avoid using the word "marriage" at all in legal contexts to avoid confusion.
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#30 User is offline   pigpenz 

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Posted 2008-November-05, 18:29

helene_t, on Nov 5 2008, 09:54 AM, said:

I think you mean "proposition 8 passed". It's unbelievable, I used to think California was a somewhat enlightened state.

California is a stat when you look at it by county its about 85% conservative christian
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#31 User is offline   Mbodell 

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Posted 2008-November-06, 01:44

There is also a practical problem with a state moving to "civil unions" for all and "marriage" for no one.

Namely, everyone else things about marriage, not civil unions. That means Federal laws, benefits, immigration laws, other countries immigration procedures, other state's procedures, etc. are all normally written in terms of marriages. And in the US different states have different rules on marriage (not just same-sex, but historically interracial marriages, and currently rules like minimum ages, which relationships are incest versus allowed, etc.). So a move to "civil unions" by a single state would hurt everyone in that state.

And really, if we already have a word for it (marriage), why not keep using it. There is a precedent here too. For much of US history marriage was an institution that meant two people of the same race. In 1948 when the California Supreme Court ruled these laws unconstitutional and extended the right to marry people of a different race to people the term wasn't changed from marriage to "civil union" or "miscegenation marriage". It wasn't until 1967 that the US supreme court ruled these laws unconstitutional through out all of the US. And it wasn't until 2000 that these laws came off the books in Alabama (and only 59% of the population voted to repeal it in Alabama in 2000!)

We're in the 1948-1950 phase of the struggle and it may well be 20 years until the US supreme court would strike down the DOMA across the country, and maybe 50 years until a state like Alabama would change their laws.

But maybe we'll be lucky and things will progress more quickly. Demographics are certainly on our side.
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#32 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2008-November-06, 05:17

Yes, agree with that. When I arrived in the Netherlands, the immigration authorities among other things needed a verification of my marital status. Suppose I had been in a "civil union". As it happens, this concept exists in both Netherlands and Denmark, but suppose it did not exist in the Netherlands, or that it meant something else than it does in Denmark. Practically speaking, we are stuck with the legal concept of marriage.

But I think what US (and some other countries) need to do is to get rid of the legal recognition of church marriage. It could be a pure formality: local authorities could still let certain private (religious or otherwise) organizations do the paperwork on the authorities behalf, but a marriage certificate would still need the signature of civil servant to be valid.

Btw, suppose you are married in one country and then move to another country where you could not have married for whatever reason. Would you be considered married there? In some cases the answer would be yes. EU member states recognize each other's marriages. But I was told that Australian same-sex couples who go to New Zealand to get married are not recognized back in Australia (may have changed since, they have a different government now).

I suppose if I married another woman, it would not be recognized in countries where same-sex marriage is not possible. The same would certainly be true if I married someone who was already married (in a country recognizing bigamy) and then moved to a non-bigamy country. Suppose I married a moslem and then moved to Malaysia where moslems can only marry moslems. I suppose my marriage would be recognized, but who knows....
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#33 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2008-November-06, 08:37

If a marriage, whatever word you use for it, is a contract between consenting adults, which imo is what it ought to be, then it doesn't need validation, by a civil servant or anybody else. It doesn't need a license. And government should not be in the business of issuing same.
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#34 User is offline   hrothgar 

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Posted 2008-November-06, 09:12

blackshoe, on Nov 6 2008, 05:37 PM, said:

If a marriage, whatever word you use for it, is a contract between consenting adults, which imo is what it ought to be, then it doesn't need validation, by a civil servant or anybody else. It doesn't need a license. And government should not be in the business of issuing same.

Disagree completely

If a "marriage" is a religious ceremony / sacrament then the government has no interest in the event.

However, once marriage enters into the realm of contract then the governmnet has a very strong interest. The government is responsible for the legal infrastructure that enforces said contract. Therefore, the government has a strong interested in understand

who entered into a contract
when they entered into a contract
what was promised by said contract
yada, yada, yada
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#35 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2008-November-06, 09:21

If the government stayed out of the marriage business, third parties with stakes in whether a couple was married or not (adoption organizations, pension fonds, yada yada) would have to hire a lawyer to find out if the contract this particular couple had was sufficient for a particular purpose, and whether a court is likely to consider the contract valid.
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#36 User is offline   jikl 

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Posted 2008-November-06, 15:45

Quote

If the government stayed out of the marriage business, third parties with stakes in whether a couple was married or not (adoption organizations, pension fonds, yada yada) would have to hire a lawyer to find out if the contract this particular couple had was sufficient for a particular purpose, and whether a court is likely to consider the contract valid.


The problem here is that there are different tax laws when a couple is "married". When someone dies if there is no will then the government steps in to decide who gets what depending on marital status. Health insurance companies give different rates for a "couple". It is because of these government regulations that they have to be involved. Plus you have regulations on who can be married to stop people marrying their pet goldfish.

Sean
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#37 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2008-November-06, 17:27

hrothgar, on Nov 6 2008, 11:12 AM, said:

Disagree completely

If a "marriage" is a religious ceremony / sacrament then the government has no interest in the event.

However, once marriage enters into the realm of contract then the governmnet has a very strong interest. The government is responsible for the legal infrastructure that enforces said contract. Therefore, the government has a strong interested in understand

who entered into a contract
when they entered into a contract
what was promised by said contract
yada, yada, yada

Of course you do.

The government has no interest in the details of contracts unless and until there is a dispute between the people involved - and then its interest is limited to ensuring a fair resolution of the dispute.

Or would you suggest the government should keep a database of the details you mentioned of all contracts? If so, why?
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#38 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2008-November-06, 17:28

helene_t, on Nov 6 2008, 11:21 AM, said:

If the government stayed out of the marriage business, third parties with stakes in whether a couple was married or not (adoption organizations, pension fonds, yada yada) would have to hire a lawyer to find out if the contract this particular couple had was sufficient for a particular purpose, and whether a court is likely to consider the contract valid.

So?
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#39 User is offline   blackshoe 

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Posted 2008-November-06, 17:31

jikl, on Nov 6 2008, 05:45 PM, said:

The problem here is that there are different tax laws when a couple is "married". When someone dies if there is no will then the government steps in to decide who gets what depending on marital status. Health insurance companies give different rates for a "couple". It is because of these government regulations that they have to be involved. Plus you have regulations on who can be married to stop people marrying their pet goldfish.

Sean

All this says is that it's not as simple as "we ain't gonna mess in marriages (or whatever) any more". Lots of other laws will be affected. Good.
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Factor in Alzheimers, and I can not recall a bad result from aggessive action in this situation. -- Aguahombre
When I look through the hand records after a club evening, the boards I didn't play are always the ones where I would have done great. -- Cherdano
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#40 User is offline   helene_t 

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Posted 2008-November-06, 17:44

Blackshoe, if you don't want the government to regulate your contract with your SO then there is nothing that prevents you from not marrying, and setting up your own tailored contract instead. Dunno about USA but in the Netherlands there are quite a few couples who go for a "partnership contract" instead of marriage or civil union. While marriage and civil union are off-the-shelf products, partnership contracts are tailored. That makes them more expensive but obviously also more flexible.

It saves a lot of legal expenses that such off-the-shelf products exist. Take it or leave it - it doesn't hurt those who prefer the tailored contracts.
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