Can Civil Unions Compare?

The media coverage in the past months of this election have highly emphasized each presidential candidate’s positions on many issues, and leaving the policies of gay marriage on the side lines. However, there has been some coverage, which I would like to weigh in on. The presidential debates all had many tangents, but none have lead to the issues of gay marriage and other gay rights. Recently, there has been footage of Mitt Romney on his point of view on gay adoption, moreover there are multiple clips from various media appearances where his positions have been flip flopping – from a slight opposition to full blown disapproval.

One of the major arguments against gay marriage is the proposition of civil unions as an alternative that could potentially set a compromise between the Christian traditional advocates and the LGBT liberal advocates. However, the idea of a “secondary” level of partnership would violate the basic principles of equal rights that our country was founded upon. The American people have been continually redefining the term marriage. Long ago during the civil rights movement, there was much discourse on the legalization of marriage between two people (albeit, one man and one woman) of different races. Similarly, during southern segregation, the “separate but equal” doctrine defended a “secondary” level of accommodations for many African Americans that were far from equal.

As a gay man, it’s hard for me to think about settling. Barack Obama’s evolution on his position on gay marriage was one of the major cornerstones in LGBT history. For the first time, a sitting president had shifted his views on LGBT rights to include gay marriage – not civil unions, not domestic partnerships – but full-fledged gay marriage. The LGBT people cannot settle for civil unions, and more than ever, it is important for LGBT people to vote for the president they believe will further rights for the community.

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