Â The majority of Democratic presidential candidatesÂ and even some folks who consider themselves fair-minded pretend that supporting civil unions–the separate but equal remedy for gay family relationships– gives us our civil rights. Across the country, however, LGBT experience in domestic partnerships, reciprocal beneficiary relationships, and yes, civil unions, has demonstratedÂ that it just isn’t so.
CA is stepping into the foreground, again, to argue in court that only marriage is equal. Ersatz gay marriage just does not cut it.
Courts, politicos, opinion leaders, and those committed to true equalityÂ should stop ignoring the success of gay marriage in MA for the past three years.
MA is the only state in which committed LGBT couples have clear rights and responsibilities because they are married. Everyone knows what marriage is. Only attorneys state by state really know whatÂ the distinctions are between aÂ civil union in NJ or CT or VT and soon in NH. Or a domestic partnership is in CA. Or what a reciprocal beneficiary protection isÂ in Hawaii.
When the ACLU, Equality California, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Lambda Legal filed briefs last weekÂ in a coordinated case in CA seeking marriage rights for gay people, the challenge for full equality had its basis in the inequalities of domestic partnerships and it could have an anchor in reality on the East Coast of the country. MA has proved that marriage equality works.
The Advocate of Aug. 23 reported that Lambda Legal senior counsel Jennifer Pizer said in a statement that anything less than marriage is a â€œconfusing twilight zoneâ€ for gay and lesbian couples. â€œWe know this because we answer the distress calls every dayâ€”calls that began with the first statewide domestic partner bill in 1999 and havenâ€™t slowed as the law broadened over the years. To the contrary, the distress calls have increased as more couples register, hoping to shield their families, and encounter inconsistent, incomplete protections. Weâ€™ve welcomed the supreme courtâ€™s invitation to explain how far domestic partnerships fall short of full marriage.â€