On February 21, a NY Times op-ed piece written by David Blankenhorn and Jonathan Rauch argued that the federal government should recognize state marriage laws and itself only extend civil union status to relationships recognized in such states. This argument was presented as an attempt to compromise the opposing views on same-sex marriage.
Reading this, I grew more and more irritated - where in the history of civil rights has any minority group compromised their rights? What makes us any different? Why set up a "special" new system for a group that has been accused so many times of wanting "special" rights when all we want is what our fellow citizens already have?
I was preparing a post in response, but the Advocate.com presented three great responses from marriage equality leaders that I feel do a much greater job responding than I ever could. They are Evan Wolfson from Freedom to Marry, Nicky Grist of Alternatives to Marriage Project and Jenny Pizer of Lambda Legal, who will be arguing against Prop 8 in the CA Supreme Court this Thursday, March 5th.
An excerpt of Jenny's response:
"We do not think it's a good compromise at all. The heart of the issue is that we're talking about civil marriage and the fact that the government should be treating everyone equally in this civil institution. They would never suggest that the government disallow interfaith or interracial marriages -- or people who remarry after divorce -- just to accommodate some who oppose such unions on religious grounds.
"The government shouldn't avoid this conflict and "compromise" by saying that a minority group that has been discriminated against and excluded for a long time should continue to be kept out of the system in order to accommodate the views of people who think this minority shouldn't have equal rights and should be segregated and subordinated."
Check out the full responses at the Advocate.com.