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Domestic partnerships for everyone?

SFGate: Politics Blog : Domestic partnerships for everyone?

An excellent idea and one I've long thought was the best solution to the problem. Separation of Church and State, where is it I read about that?

“The same-sex marriage debate has been at a boiling point since California voters approved Proposition 8, which banned such couples from being wed in the state, by a slim margin in November. Protest and counter-protest marches have filled streets across the state and the state Supreme Court took up the volatile issue last week. Out of the furor comes an idea that attempts to sidestep the debate over marriage. Attorney General Jerry Brown this week approved a ballot initiative for circulation that would eliminate the term "marriage" from state statutes and replace it with "domestic partnerships." According to the summary of the measure, "'marriage' itself would become a social ceremony, recognized by only non-governmental institutions." Such a system even came up at Thursday's supreme court hearing as a potential solution to the debate.”



I think I read an Op-Ed in the NY Times on the same subject a week or so ago. It makes sense that California would be 1st in line for such legislation. I haven't read Mark Morford in a few weeks.


This is of course the obvious solution. Government doesn't have any business at all mucking around with the religious institution of marriage. But civil institutions, certainly. The state sanctions the civil union, and religions do anything else they want around it.

But that doesn't mean I think the proposal has any chance of making it in this country.

I think Brown is 100% correct. The state has no business handing out marriage licenses in the first place.

Fun fact: the original marriage license was a scam to prevent cross-racial marriages.

I take issue with your term 'original', Zaphod. Marriage license application records from government authorities are widely available starting from the mid-1800s with many available dating from the 1600s in colonial America.[1] Marriage licenses were used by 38 states in the 1920s to prohibit whites from marrying blacks, mulattos, Japanese, Chinese, Indians, Mongolians, Malays or Filipinos without a state approved license.[2]

They were, in fact, introduced in the 14th century in England.

[1] Szucs, Loretto Dennis, and Sandra Hargreaves Luebking. The Source: A Guidebook to American Genealogy. Provo, UT: Ancestry, 2006. Pages 87 to 103. [2] Taking Marriage Private - New York Times, 26 Nov 2007

  • I'm feeling a little pedantic this morning, sorry!

Yeah I have been saying the same thing for years. Why does the government have to be involved in that part of our lives?

Not to mention, I personally think Marriage (much like religion) is in most cases a useless and out dated practice anyway. If two people want to stay in a relationship together for life, why is a contract needed? My guess is because one of them could change their mind. All the more reason to down play the concept of Marriage in the first place if you ask me.

I'm sympathetic to what they're trying to do, but this is so not a solution.

Sure, it's all great within California, but what's going to happen when California defines a unified legal class, expressly not called "marriage," to represent a particular legal status?

The answer is, every other legal jurisdiction on the planet must thereafter begin a legal process of defining how a California domestic partnership translates into their own interpretation of marriage laws as regards California visitors and transplants.

Shall Alabamians be obliged to respect all California partnerships as marriages? Is anybody from California considered married in Utah? On what legal theory would Texas justify counting the straight couples as married but rejecting the gay ones?

If this passes, do you file jointly on your 1040 or not? The Defense of Marriage Act doesn't offer much insight into how to handle this case. It seems the darn thing is very specific in its use of the word "marriage."

The same holds true when traveling to any other country. I am unaware of any that does not respect the concept of marriage among visiting foreigners. What should they do with "domestic partnerships" that include both gay and straight couples?

I'm not inviting speculation as to which is the "correct" approach, because any of them may fall out of any other jurisdiction. The slim majority of bigots in California simply will not stand to be placed for even one moment into the uncertain legal ghetto they intend to reserve for same-sex partnerships.

Bottom line, marriage has never been exclusively, or even primarily, the province of religion. Religions bless them, but they bless meals too, and atheists choose to marry despite having no religion at all. The same sort of marriage atheists would choose to enter into is all anybody's asking for. If you're going to pick an issue on which to suddenly back down and let religious people push through their expansive and unsupportable claims unchallenged, I put it to you that this isn't that issue.

"If you're going to pick an issue on which to suddenly back down and let religious people push through their expansive and unsupportable claims unchallenged, I put it to you that this isn't that issue."

Sure it is. The only difference between a "Domestic Partnership" and a "Marriage" is the title from what I can see. Religious nuts have argued this point very well, so well in fact that I just don't see why any of them would complain if they're title of Marriage was taken away from them as well. ;)

While a domestic partnership may bear resemblance to a marriage, the California intermediate appellate court concluded that the legislature "has not created a 'marriage' by another name or granted domestic partners a status equivalent to married spouses."

In support of its conclusion, the court recounted the differences between domestic partnerships and marriages - most of which are spelled out above - with respect to formation, dissolution, tax treatment, and relevance under federal law. It also focused on an important aspect of marriage that is decidedly not true of a domestic partnership - its portability, when the couple travels or migrates to another state.


@politicjunky Not to mention, I personally think Marriage (much like religion) is in most cases a useless and out dated practice anyway. If two people want to stay in a relationship together for life, why is a contract needed?

If it is useless, why are so many people fighting for it on both sides? Because in addition to being a concept of personal and social importance, it has consequences too."

"In 2004, the Government Accounting Office identified 1,138 federal laws in which marital status is a factor in determining or receiving benefits, rights, and privileges.

* #0047: Joint Taxes

  LGBT couples cannot file taxes jointly; as a result, taxes for a LGBT couple can be significantly higher.
* #0221: Hospital Visitation

  LGBT couples have no legal right to visit a spouse in the hospital and can be barred from entering the room by medical personnel.
* #0497: estate tAXES

  LGBT couples cannot pass their estate to a spouse tax-free, which creates a huge tax burden that can result in the loss of a spouse's home or business.
* #0544: Job Security

  In a majority of states, employees can be fired just for being gay, which can put a huge burden on any family's financial security.
* #0608: Immigration

  LGBT are denied special consideration for the immigration of a spouse, often resulting in a painful seperation when a loved one is from a foreign country.
* #0812: Property Taxes

  LGBT must pay property tax when transferring property between spouses.
* #0904: Social Security

  LGBT are not eligible to receive a spouse's Social Security pension or many other government benefits.
* #0945: Medical Decisions

  During a medical crisis, LGBT couples have no legal authority to make critical treatment decisions for their loved one.
* #1121: Domestic Violence"



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