State to Church: I Want a Divorce

By the Power Vested in Us: Civil Unions for All—Gay or Straight. Blessings Optional.

There's a wider advantage to promoting civil unions for all as the simplest and most constitutionally sound solution to the vexations over queer vows. Once queer folks' emotional need to see their love recognized is separated from the practical need for various economic and legal benefits (especially revolving around children), the community can look more clearly at what the state proffers to those civilly united—and why. Should a home with an amorous relationship at its center be any more deserving of the option to file taxes jointly than, say, a couple of single friends who have decided to set up a household together? Sure, I'd like to be rid of those extra income taxes, but I'd rather see our movement fighting for universal health care so nobody's coverage depended on having a spouse with a job with insurance benefits.

As we win this the right way—and help lead America away from establishing fundamentalism as the law of the land by getting the state out of the business of holy matrimony—we can pick up the many issues that have been the bridesmaid for almost a decade now: the rising epidemic of violence against transgender youth and the homophobia faced by LGBT elders, to cite only two. Andrew Sullivan has infamously said that once gay marriage is won, the movement can pack up and go home. On the contrary.

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