Article Title:Civil Unions: Keep it logical and simple!
Author or Credit:Mike Binis
Published on:28th March 2004 - 12:00 pm
Story ID:194
Text:Mike Binis There is no solution that seems likely to satisfy all sides concerned, but the most logical answer satisfies even the most outspoken opponents of each side: radical gays and fanatical straights. Take the current Marriage License document, and with a bottle of Twink, remove the word 'marriage' from the top and replace it with 'Civil Union'. Any reference to union of 'man and a woman' should be changed to 'two people', and nothing more. That means that the legal document and all it encompasses applies to any two people joining together as one unit with the exact same legal rights. It also means that the 'sanctity' of marriage remains in the hands of religious institutions. This simple change accomplishes the goals of nearly everyone concerned. First, it gets the government out of the bedrooms. All the government must be concerned with are the legal ramifications of two people becoming one unit for purposes of heath care, next of kin, property settlements, etc. just as it already does. Second, it keeps the ‘sanctity of marriage' in the domain of the churches and religious institutions, where so many feel it belongs. These groups have the power to grant marriages to those which it's congregation approve, and cannot force their authority to others who do not belong to their particular group. Third, it allows this choice of union for gay couples to be exactly the same as for anyone else, without ‘buying into an outmoded straight institution' as the crabbiest of gay radicals argue. The union is the same, and if straights want to have a ‘marriage ceremony', they can turn to their church or spiritual support leaders. There is one other point. It makes the dangerous De Facto Relationships bill redundant, which has the advantage of not inducting unsuspecting partners into it's jurisdiction. Current De Facto law ropes members of long-term couples into a maze of property-sharing which they may or may not have ever wanted. By eliminating the De Facto law altogether, everyone has a legally binding choice: Formalize your union legally and be recognized for all communal property and kinship rights, or don't. No surprises. No break-up after ten years ‘living together' with a battle over who gets the car. No need for other legal documents safe-guarding property rights, unless it's wanted. Partners know that if they want to remain individuals with separate property, they can. If not, the option to formalize the union would be legal, straight or gay. Currently, couples can opt out of the de Facto bill by having a legal agreement drawn up by a solicitor. That strikes me a bit like a Reader's publishing scheme where they send you one book free. Then every month for the rest of your life they send you another and charge you for it. (Of course, you can cancel at any time by re-wrapping the book, taking it to the post shop and re-posting it back to the company with an official notice of cancellation form in triplicate to take effect 60 days from the shipment of the last book, which you are entitled to pay for.) Why should anyone, straight or gay, have to engage legal advice to opt out of something they never bargained for to begin with? Drop the complicated De Facto bill, make civil union the only legal requirement for everyone, and you have fairness to all without offending anyone's sensibilities. Those who want to get ‘married' can see their church leader. Mike Binis - 28th March 2004    
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