why civil unions just don’t cut it

There’s been a lot of talk about civil unions lately. In fact,
civil unions have become very popular among democratic presidential
candidates. Civil unions enable candidates (like John Edwards in
the last debate) to say I things like gays should have rights but I
believe marriage is between a man and a woman. Candidates have
found civil unions to be a safer middle ground.

I realize that the climb to full equality is a process. But civil
unions just don’t cut it for me. Greta Christina sums it up
perfectly in her blog, stating:

There are legal reasons why they’re not equal —
marriage is recognized in every state and indeed every country,
while civil unions aren’t; so the rights and responsibilities don’t
necessarily travel with you when you leave the state that granted
them. There are emotional reasons — marriage is an institution/
ritual/ relationship that has existed for thousands of years, one
that has tremendous resonance in our culture in a way that civil
unions simply don’t. And there are moral reasons — as history has
born out, separate but equal is pretty much by definition not

Above all, marriage is the only currency of commitment that this
country understands. I immediately think to hospital visitation
rights. Would you trust a nurse or hospital administrator to
interpret the rights that a civil union bestows? What about
employers? According to Garden State equality, the equality
organization for the state of New Jersey (where civil unions are
the law),
1 out of 7 civil unioned couples is being denied partner benefits
by employers

The fact is, civil unions are unequal in every sense. I would like
to think that history has taught us that separate is never

But we’re making strides. Same-sex couples from Rhode Island who
are married in Massachusetts are being recognized, and now
New Mexico has followed suit
. Yes, it’s a long climb to
equality, but civil unions are not a rung in that ladder.