The only reasonable case against gay marriage?
From the secular humanist magazine, Free Inquiry, Tom Flynn tempers the rightful excitement about the prospect of “gay marriage’s impending victory.”
There were pluses and minuses to this approach. On the minus side, civil union would never be marriage. Same-sex couples would always have to settle for what some would regard as “second-class nuptials.” On the plus side, well, civil union would never be marriage. Matrimony, after all, is a bastard—strike that, a hybrid—institution, rooted partly in the law and partly in the churches. And it carries unsavory baggage: from time immemorial to as recently as our great-grandparents’ time, matrimony amounted to the bride’s father transferring property rights in his daughter to the groom. It locked women into relationships in which they couldn’t own property and couldn’t vote—where they essentially existed only as legal shadows of their husbands. Yes, those days are gone. But matrimony carries their taint in a way that civil union, a wholly new institution, does not. Further, as a de novo creation under law, civil union would be utterly secular, free of any historical attachment to the churches. Finally, civil union offers at least the possibility of expanding the range of relationship types the law would recognize and privilege: “couples” with more than two members, open or communal arrangements, perhaps combinations of persons not linked by romantic relationships. (If two platonic friends opt to share a household long-term, why on earth shouldn’t one be able to visit the other in the hospital, inherit from the other, and so on?)