Sunday, May 15, 2011

Civil Unions

A paper on civil unions.

Civil Unions
Legislators in Illinois passed a law that will forever change history and the structure of family as we legally know it.

Against many opponents, civil unions passed both legislative houses with just 1 and 2 votes to spare.

This bill hit the Governor’s desk for signature and it was signed into law shortly thereafter.
There are only a few other states in the nation that have taken an active stance on civil unions, allowing same sex couple to unite and secure some of the very same rights that a heterosexual married couples now have.

Once the law goes into effect, Illinois will be the sixth state in the U.S. to allow homosexual couples to legally unite.

Whether a person believes that such a law should exist, its passage is another milestone in the 150 year progression of civil rights in the United States of America.
The issue of gay marriage has raised so many social and moral issues, that when Vermont, the first state to successfully adopt such a law, began the quest to legalize gay marriage, the term “civil union” was coined.

So what are the major differences between marriage and civil unions?

Marriage is defined in the United States Constitution as a legal contract or social union between one man and one woman that forms a lawful kinship. This legal arrangement is honored across state lines, throughout religions of all denomination and in every country across the globe.
Civil unions are described as a legal contract or joining of two people, there is no clear distinction of gender matching or opposites, however civil unions are not recognized by the federal government, preventing same sex couples from taking advantage of some of the benefits married couples are eligible to receive. Also, most religious organizations are against civil union and do not recognize it as part of their religious doctrine.
Though unionized couples miss out on some of the benefits and recognition that heterosexual marriage has to offer, they still have many protections that were once not available to them.
As a unionized couple living in a state that recognizes their legal merger, couples are eligible for insurance benefits, to take part in medical decisions of their partner, and take advantage of joint filing of taxes at the state level.

Opponents of civil union argue that all legal rights and protections can be obtained by drawing up a legal document with one’s attorney and having it notarized by the courts to achieve a legal agreement that will recognize the protections granted in marriage.

However the stark reality of the issues is that same sex couples not joined in civil union can only secure a small number of rights such as power of attorney or executor of estate, and even those may be challenged by a blood family member who happens to be next of kin.
Legalization of civil unions in Illinois is a step in the right direction to stabilizing families and creating a lasting bond that will impress upon children the importance of family and taking care of those we love.

Nearly 25% of all gay or lesbian couples in the United States are currently raising children and reside in states where it is illegal to marry their partner.

I personally believe that the enactment of this law is a good thing, and that it should be enacted in other states as well.

As I mentioned above, I believe that marriage brings stability to couples and families and all should have that right.

There were many great men and women who lived before our time who pushed for all races to be created equal, and I believe that this is no different.

You can argue that one is not born gay, it is a decision that one makes when they reach sexual maturity, but it is no different than religion.

We can be born one religion because that is what our family believes, but once we establish our lifestyles we can chose a completely different one and that is okay.

In America you cannot be legally discriminated against because of your religious practices, so why should someone be treated differently because they like boys instead of girls or girls instead of boys. Civil unions are the right decision for the people of Illinois and the people of America. It may take a little bit of getting used to, but in 50 years it will be a blip in the past just like colored only drinking fountains.

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