- Posted May 8, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Same-sex marriage: Civil right vs. states' rights
Same Gender Couples Deserve Equal Rights & Benefits Under Law
This iReport is part of CNN's continuing coverage of same-sex marriage in America; Join the discussion.
- davidw, CNN iReport producer
As a gay male in a long-term relationship, I was dismayed today when North Carolina voters approved Amendment 1 which banned civil unions and domestic partnerships. That amendment also defined marriage as between 1 man and 1 woman, which was already in state law.
The issue here in the US of A of what to do about same-gender relationships and legal status involving equal rights and benefits is one which I do believe is up to each individual state to decide. Each state must determine whether to allow marriage, civil union, domestic partnership or to reject any or all 3.
Historically, marriage has always been a union between a man and a woman and was based on societal/politcal reasons. Marriage was used to increase landholdings, end disputes and wars or to join families together to increase influence. In time, it also became a religious ceremony and invoked blessing by the diety of the male's family.
The state or government, however, was not really involved at that time. During the feudal ages, government became the primary grantor of permission to marry. Religious organizations always played secondary and not primary until recent times.
During feudalism, the lord of the manor had to give permission for the peasants to marry. Or in the case of the nobility, it was the king or a member higher on the nobility rankings that the nobleman/lord seeking to wed had to receive license or permission. Often during this time marriages were strictly for political gain.
Then something happened in the late 19th Century. Love became a reason to marry. During all this time in the annals of history there were same-gender couples, but the issue of equal rights and benefits under law had never been a factor.
In our world today, it is not the blessing of the church that sanctifies the joining of two individuals who choose to live life together, but rather in the US of A, one goes to the county clerk's office to receive a license to marry. Government provides recognition of long-term relationships.
The biggest hang up I see is not in most states with 50% of Americans, in the latest Gallup Poll, whether to allow same-gender couples equal rights and benefits under law. Rather the hang up has to do with using one word - marriage.
When the question is posed only about equal rights and benefits at least half of all Americans are in favor of granting those rights and benefits. But when the word, marriage, is included...that number drops.
I do believe that all Americans should stand equal in the eyes of the law. Whether same-gender or opposite gender couples, both should should not be seen as unequal in any legal sense.
Letting the issue rest on one word, to me is ridiculous. What the state decides to put on a license is not as important as being seen equally under the law.
I long for the day that both same-gender and opposite gender couples can be recognized legally by every state with the same rights and benefits
For me and my partner, Iohn, we only want the security of having our relationship recognized as legal and equal in the sight of the law. It matters not what the license is for - marriage, civil union, domestic partnership. The terminology is irrelevant.
Let opposite gender couples receive a license to marry. Let same-gender couples receive a license of civil union. Or let all couples recieve only a license of civil union.
When the state is involved let the license of recognition take place in a ceremony with a public official.
Let any of the couples who want a religious ceremony go to their religious organization and abide by the beliefs of that religion. But do not abridge in any way the right of any religious organization to not allow for a ceremony if that goes against that religion's beliefs.
State sanctioned or licensing should have no basis in relgion or morality, but be neutral.
From the Cornfield, Iohn and I don't care what you call our license of legal recognition of our relationship...just let us be seen equal under the law with any and all rights and benefits afforded long-term relationships recognized by the state.