Same sex civil unions legalized in Colorado.

Yesterday Colorado quietly legalized same sex civil unions.  Each time LGBT people get closer to equal rights, it’s progressively met by a softer whimper from equality’s detractors.  When gays are finally allowed by federal law to get married, anti-equality people will stare at the ground and mosey into their churches to whine about how the world will collapse.  Meanwhile, the world will keep on spinning, just with more equality.

There was but one primary objection in CO:

Opponents had argued that civil unions would lead to gay marriage in Colorado and unfairly restrict those with religious objections.

Yes, because other people choosing their mate for life restricts someone else.  It restricts the ability of the pious to dictate who someone else should love, but that’s a restriction that’s long overdue.

Here’s to hoping that this provision does lead to the legalization of marriage equality during the next election cycle.  That’s another one that’s long overdue.

About JT Eberhard

When not defending the planet from inevitable apocalypse at the rotting hands of the undead, JT is a writer and public speaker about atheism, gay rights, and more. He spent two and a half years with the Secular Student Alliance as their first high school organizer. During that time he built the SSA’s high school program and oversaw the development of groups nationwide. JT is also the co-founder of the popular Skepticon conference and served as the events lead organizer during its first three years.

  • Glodson

    Opponents had argued that civil unions would lead to gay marriage in Colorado and unfairly restrict those with religious objections.


    • baal

      I’m sure Glod son of Glod knows the following:

      If the gays get to marry, then my shiny christian marriage will be less shiny and pure. If sin (da’homo) gets to ‘take part’ in marriage, the whole institution is sullied (taint of evil). <—when they are honest, this magical thinking gets recited.

      Common law marriage was standard in the U.S. for a long while (if you acted married you were married). The advent of more benefits based on marriage pushed the various States to enact marriage laws (wholly secular) to cut down on problems of determination if someone was married or not. i.e. did you get a licenses and have a ceremony (even if it's just the clerk and takes 4 minutes).* Note that this mini-history is entirely secular, the holy part of it was always an ancillary issue.

      *Marriage license also were used to prohibit 'race mixing' ('cause unmarried folks never have sex) and are the key mechanism for prevention of gay couples who live as married couples getting the same rights as other married couples.

      • Glodson

        It would just be nice to hear them say it directly.

        We know what they mean, but they like to try to hold the persecution ball as a means of effecting the rhetoric. Which is what sickens me about this phrase.

        It is akin to “I’m not a bigot, I’m just a Christian.”

    • CanuckAmuck
  • John Horstman

    Or, even better, maybe Colorado will delegislate/deregulate marriage all together and just grant universal, equal civil unions to those who wish to form them!

    (I know legal marriage was always a secular institution, as baal points out, but the term is so loaded with religious baggage, and I’m still not sure why people who claim the terminology doesn’t matter remain so opposed to simply ditching the “marriage” word for another term. My guess is that it’s a disingenuous argument, where they’re trying to convince me it shouldn’t matter to me, while it actually does matter to them. For the record, I don’t really care – I’m rather opposed to legal differentiation of coupled persons at all – but if it makes it easier to get support for sexual equality along the homo-hetero axis, why *not* simply ditch the term “marriage” entirely?)

    • Ken

      A couple of reasons.

      First, the terminology matters when different legal jurisdictions recognize rights and benefits from other jurisdictions. Changing the terminology in one state would mean other states would need to do so as well. Then all of the laws in the federal government which use marital status would need to be changed. Then all of the treaties with other nations would need to be changed, and we may need to convince other nations to adopt the new terminology.

      Or we could just abide by the 14th and 5th Amendments and let two consenting same-sex adults marry.

      Second, both sides in the same-sex legal battle agree the government has a secular interest in regulating marriage contracts, to do things like prevent abuse of women (as usually has happened with polygamy) and children. Any such restrictions (discrimination), however, must be done for a compelling (secular) government reason in a way which is the least restrictive to all.

      That’s why the Prop 8 proponents (misre)presented scientific studies to support their argument. That’s also why there was that widely publicized ridiculous study was published last year which tried to prove a social detriment to children of same-sex couples. The core argument comes down to coming up with (or showing there is no) compelling government interest in preventing same-sex marriages.

      Of course there is also much legal maneuvering in side issues which may take center stage at the Supreme Court level, such as standing and scope, but that doesn’t change the core argument for any restriction the government makes on rights of groups of people.

      The simplistic “any government regulation is bad” libertarian argument fails to capture the real-life need for government regulation to protect parties which actually could be harmed with a completely unregulated approach to marriage, such as young women who have been raised in an insular quiverfull environment or when polygyny is enforced. Removing government regulation of marriage contracts would place such women in an even more disadvantageous situation.