Mudcat Café message #3408730 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #147102   Message #3408730
Posted By: artbrooks
22-Sep-12 - 01:09 PM
Thread Name: BS: 'Gay marriage' question
Subject: RE: BS: 'Gay marriage' question
The two things - civil union and marriage - are very different (at least right now), in the US at least. It's not too likely that there are any implications that haven't been considered here, ad nauseum. If they were the same, then the struggle of individuals to obtain the rights guaranteed by marriage would, IMHO, be much more muted.

As it is, individual states define marriage and, at least in theory, each state could redefine it to include same-gendered couples, just as many had to do so to legally recognize bi-racial marriages a few decades ago. This, of course, assumes that the religious fundies who think that their world view applies to everyone (Adam and Eve, my ass!) and who control a large monolithic voting bloc would allow this. The problem is the Federal "Defense of Marriage Act" (DOMA), which governs Federal benefits such as Social Security and government pension survivors' rights. DOMA defines "marriage" as being between one man and one woman, so gay and lesbian couples are excluded from these benefits, whether or not they are married according to state law.

This is the reason that, for example, Neil Armstrong's wife was entitled to a survivor's pension, but Sally Ride's partner was not.