I know my solution is likely unworkable, but as Connecticut has now become their third state to allow same sex marriages, and the religious groups against same are likely to become more and more vocal as they see their position weakening, here’s a compromise which I think *could* make everyone happy over the long term, though it is a somewhat radical change from current nomenclature.
I say the term “Marriage” should be limited only to religious marriages. Heterosexual, Homosexual, Omnisexual, or Asexual — it would be up to any individual religion what they would allow. The First Amendment protections would guarantee no government interference in what a specific religion allowed.
All civil unions would be civil unions. The term ‘marriage’ wouldn’t apply. (All current “civil unions” that had been called ‘marriages’ would either be renamed, or grandfathered, there would likely be argument over which, but in the end, it doesn’t really matter.) Homosexual, Heterosexual, Omnisexual or Asexual – there would be no discrimination with respect to who could have a “civil union.” (I’d throw in polygamy, but I suspect that could be hotly contested, so maybe it would be best to leave that out for now.)
Legally, civil unions and marriages would have the same benefits. (That’s why in the end, it wouldn’t really matter whether current ‘marriages’ get renamed as ‘civil unions’. It’s just nomenclature.)
More often than not, I hear the argument from the Religious Right that the issue is one of nomenclature. That they feel the word ‘marriage’ should not apply to homosexual marriages. Their argument is religious in nature. And I agree that the government shouldn’t meddle in religious affairs. So let’s accept their argument at face value, and make the word “marriage” really be *just* a religious term.
There would be religious marriages of homosexual couples. The religious right have to be prepared for that. With the Universal Life Church (ulc.org) willing to make anyone a Reverend in exchange for their email address – and sufficient numbers of Liberal churches and synagogues in America – it won’t be difficult for a homosexual couple to find someone to marry them. But one church shouldn’t care what another church does.
This solution, I think, adequately makes all couples equal under the law despite sexual preference, and provides religious groups the protections they require to act in the way they see fit.
Couples who want to get “married”, but don’t want to get married under the auspices of a religion aren’t going to be thrilled with this solution, at first, but once they realize it’s just words without meaning, they ought to be satisfied. And if not, it’ll be easy enough for them to find a friend/relative willing to become a Reverend-by-email.
Does anyone see a problem with this solution?