Legal unions for homosexual couples won’t have any impact on traditional marriage, or so the argument goes. But consider what is happening in France, which has had “civil unions” for a decade. From Straight Couples in France Are Choosing Civil Unions Meant for Gays – washingtonpost.com:
The PACS [French acronym for the civil union law] broadened into an increasingly popular third option for heterosexual couples, who readily cite its appeal: It has the air of social independence associated with the time-honored arrangement that the French call the “free union” but with major financial and other advantages. It is also far easier to get out of than marriage.
The number of PACS celebrated in France, both gay and heterosexual unions, has grown from 6,000 in its first year of operation in 1999 to more than 140,000 in 2008, according to official statistics. For every two marriages in France, a PACS is celebrated, the statistics show, making a total of half a million PACSed couples, and the number is rising steadily. . . .Perhaps more important as an indication of how French people live, the number of heterosexual men and women entering into a PACS agreement has grown from 42 percent of the total initially to 92 percent last year.
New word alert: “Free unions” instead of “living together.” I’ll bet that catches on.
Heterosexuals have all but completely taken over the civil union option (92%, leaving just 8% for gays!). The civil unions give heterosexual couples financial advantages, but when one of them wants to leave, it is easy: “If one or both of the partners declares in writing to the court that he or she wants out, the PACS is ended, with neither partner having claim to the other’s property or to alimony.” So much for family permanence.