Should gays and lesbians be allowed to enter into “civil unions” as opposed to marriage, or should civil unions be denied as well?
I have to agree that this question poses problems based upon the fact that both law and religion impacts the answer. While some may agree that the law should recognize marriages of same-sex couples, some religions fail to do so. Personally, I believe that they should be able to marry and/or enter into civil unions. Who am I to keep two people who love each other from having the same rights I do as a person involved in a heterosexual relationship?
I suppose I look at the legal and religious aspects of marriage differently. Legally, any two people have the right to marry. They should be allowed the same rights and benefits as other married couples. From a religious aspect, I understand why many religions do not agree with same-sex marriage. However, I think religious groups should not have a say in the law of the country. Let's look at another example. Some religious groups believe that women should not be leaders and they should not be in a position of power above a man. Clearly, we have women in positions of power outside of religion. Just look at how many woman there are in political positions. These religious groups don't set the law for the country but they do control their own churches and organizations. Why should gay marriage be any different? While a church might elect not to allow a gay couple to be members of their church, they should not be able to control the law.
The problem unfortunately stems from a muddling of Church and State affairs, topics that the US has, for the most part, been successful in serparating. The legal benefits of being married should not be denied to any adult for any reason; one should be free to bind one's property and estate with another if that individual decides to do so. Traditionally, the state allowed such a binding only after a blessing by a religious ceremony.
My guess is that part of the uproar over this issue is that the religious monopoly on marriage (which is the gateway to the legal aspects) is threatened; the concept of a legal, civil union would ultimately supplant a "blessed by God" religious marriage.
As long as "marriage" is the term used for heterosexual couples by the government then "civil union" is different than marriage and cannot address all of the legal inequalities. As history has shown, "separate but equal" isn't right and a civil union will be perceived as second class. Religious organizations don't have to recognize any marriage that they choose not to do. I don't think Catholic churches don't recognize all marriages even between heterosexual couples.
I don't see how two people in a loving, committed relationship getting married affects my marriage at all (assuming neither of those two people is my spouse ;) ).
The legal equalities can be addressed by civil union wording, but there is more to the wording of "marriage" -- religious persons want to protect the sacramental, God--binding connotation of the word, while same-sex couples insist that their relationship is much more than a civil convenience -- it is a marriage of hearts, minds, psyches, "souls." The controversy is a raw example of defining logical linguistic problems and emotional or psychological problems.
My first preference would be that same-sex couples should be allowed to marry like straight couples can. If that is not allowed, then I absolutely think that civil unions should be allowed.
The reason for this is because there is a need to allow same-sex couples to have legal rights similar to those of married people. For example, it is important that same-sex partners should be automatically allowed to visit one another in the hospital or to have the power to make decisions for one another when one of them is incapacitated. They should be able to be the beneficiaries of one another's pensions or to be on one another's health insurance plans. All of these things would make life easier for same-sex couples and would contribute to the stability of their households.
I do not think that gay marriage is going to harm America so I think they should be allowed to marry. If that is not allowed, then civil unions should be so as to give them many of the rights associated with marriage even if we will not allow them the ability to officially marry.