The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Civil Unions Provide Same Benefits Without Overtones

3 min read


One of the biggest social and political debates of today is whether or not to allow gay marriage. I would argue that same-sex marriage is, by definition, not a marriage.

Before you start to light the torches and gather the pitchforks, I am not homophobic and I do think that people should be able to live their lives as they wish.  However, whether we like it or not the government does and will always have a say in how people deal with the topic of marriage.

Don’t believe me?  Currently there is a show on TLC called “Sister Wives.”  It is a reality show about a polygamist family containing one husband and four “sister wives.”

Due to their newfound notoriety, the government is actively pursuing the possibility of breaking up the family.  Keep in mind, only one of these women is actually married to the man, the rest just are joined by a religious ceremony and consider themselves married.

Even though they never sought government recognition of their marriage rights, the government is still attempting to interfere with the situation at their home.  With gay marriage, I am not arguing that the same-sex couples are not given the same rights as couples that are married; just don’t call it a marriage.

If the only requirements for marriage are consenting individuals then why can’t multiple consenting adults marry?  What about siblings?  The problem is, regardless of what your view is, it is based on your moral perceptions.

Separation of church and state works best on paper.   We, as citizens, can separate church and state but it is impossible to separate our own moral compass from the decisions we support and don’t support.
It is difficult to argue for the sanctity of marriage when over half of all marriages end in divorce.  However, the assertion that disallowing same-sex marriages is robbing people of their civil rights isn’t fair either.

Former Mayor of Fresno, Ca, Alan Autry, stated, “I do not believe that defending traditional marriage between one man and one woman excludes anybody or usurps anybody’s civil rights and denies anybody their civil rights.”

I fully support the recognition of Civil Unions, giving the rights of a marriage without its title.  That way, the people in the same-sex union could be able to receive all of the same benefits that come with marriage, like tax cuts.

On one hand, it seems unfair to force people to abide by your own moral personal morals.  On the other hand, we do this every single time we vote on anything, whether its marriage, taxes or severity of the punishments for criminals.  Our own moral bias and our opinions are inseparable.

That being said, I do think that Virginia, along with other states should legalize some form of civil union.  Some states already have done so, to the benefit of the same-sex couples in their state.
Same-sex unions carry all the same privileges of a marriage without that specific title.  If the marriage is not between a man and a woman, it simply cannot be called a marriage.