Dispatches from the Creation Wars

New Hampshire Passes Civil Unions

The New Hampshire senate passed a bill creating civil unions for gay couples, which the governor has already said he would sign. New Hampshire becomes the second state to pass civil unions purely through the legislative process without any court action, which is very important. The tide is turning and the anti-gay insurgency, to borrow Dick Cheney’s phrase, is in its last throes. You just have to feel sorry for all those straight couples in New Hampshire whose marriages will no longer have any sanctity.

Comments

  1. #1 Tyler DiPietro
    April 27, 2007

    Fuck, New Hampshire beat us. I wanted Maine to be second, damn it!

  2. #2 Tyler DiPietro
    April 27, 2007

    Wait a minute, from the story:

    “Connecticut and Maine also offer some sort of civil union or domestic partnerships, but the issue continues to be a source of deep division in most other states, especially in more conservative areas.”

    Well, I was unaware that we gave recognition of any sort. But damn it, I’m still looking at gay marriage! It would drive the Heath Squad up the friggan wall.

  3. #3 Stuart Coleman
    April 27, 2007

    When I heard that I just said, “Hooray New Hampshire!” I can’t wait until the rest of the country joins in (I think my home state of RI can’t be too far behind).

  4. #4 MG
    April 27, 2007

    Off topic, somewhat related. An update to the school newspaper/teacher saga you have been following.

    http://www.cnn.com/2007/EDUCATION/04/27/school.newspaper.flap.ap/index.html

  5. #5 Poly
    April 27, 2007

    Perhaps I am overly optimistic, but I feel that quite soon in the US we will have a court test – along the lines of Loving v. Virginia – eventually deciding that all states that try to enforce a ban on civil unions from another state are acting unconstitutionally.

    I think the circumstances are too similar for anything else to happen, in the long run. The laws banning same-sex unions in some states, as well as the federal DOMA, may remain on the books for a while – much like the ‘anti-miscengenation laws’ did until the eighties in some places – but their essential features will be generally unenforcable and ineffective.

    Changing people’s attitudes, however, may take a longer time. Interracial marriages are still not socially accepted in some places, and this is decades after they were made legal everywhere in the US. In that respect, I don’t think smarmy comments are helping any.

  6. #6 mollishka
    April 27, 2007

    Poly: agreed, but then the question becomes how today’s Catholic Supreme Court would interpret that whole “pursuit of happiness” thing. But then again, the Constitution doesn’t actually have that phrase … I do think that soon the US will have such a court case, but I am too cynical to think that the ruling will be unbigoted.

  7. #7 MAJeff
    April 27, 2007

    Perhaps I am overly optimistic, but I feel that quite soon in the US we will have a court test – along the lines of Loving v. Virginia – eventually deciding that all states that try to enforce a ban on civil unions from another state are acting unconstitutionally.

    I think you’re overly optimistic, but I also think we’ll be getting a test case sooner rather than later. It’s looking like the MA law that has kept out-of-state couples from marrying will be repealed this session, so folks will be able to come here and marry. My fear is that they’ll challenge DOMA and, with this Court, be shot down hard, forcing us to live in a situation similar to the post-Hardwick v. Bowers days. There’s not a chance in hell that this court will declare DOMA unconstitutional.

  8. #8 Sadie
    April 27, 2007

    This is wonderful news. It’s about time.

  9. #9 Bird
    April 27, 2007

    What’s the general rule on same-sex marriages performed in Canada? Are they generally recognized in the US? Or is that a state-by-state thing?

    If Canadian same-sex marriages aren’t recognized in some states, how would that affect the rights of spouses in case of hospitalizations and such (if the couple was vacationing, for example)?

    I’m just curious about how non-US citizens would be treated in those circumstances, and how US citizens who married same-sex partners in Canada would be recognized (or not).

  10. #10 MAJeff
    April 27, 2007

    Bird,

    According to the US gov’t, same-sex partners married in Canada are legal strangers. The marriages don’t exist.

  11. #11 Rieux
    April 28, 2007

    I find it hard to buy the “last throes” idea when the evidence on the ground is showing that civil unions are so clearly inferior (WRT the real-life legal benefits they carry) to full marriage.

    It seems to me that, outside of Massachusetts, gay couples who desire civil marriage have gone from no-holds-barred Jim Crow to Plessy v. Ferguson–and even that is only in the handful of civil-union states.

    The gay marriage Brown v. Board of Education (which could, I suppose, be legislative rather than judicial) is still a long way off; until we get there, the triumphal “last throes” rhetoric doesn’t seem justified to me.

  12. #12 Rev. Big DumbChimp
    April 28, 2007

    My money is on my home state of South Carolina next….

  13. #13 pablo
    April 28, 2007

    I’m not “on the team”, but I am in the stands, cheering the team on. This kind of legislation gives me cheer. I hope your right about the “last throes” of the opponents to this issue, but I suspect they stay up at nights thinking of ways to undermine progress.

  14. #14 ThomasTallis
    April 28, 2007

    These articles always forget to mention that California has had a domestic partnership law since 2000, recently strengthened to the point that it’s the legal equivalent of marriage. My mother was not a little dismayed to discover that my partner of many years is now my legal next of kin (at least in California).

  15. #15 Evets
    April 29, 2007

    Connecticut was the first state to pass Civil Union legislation purely on a legislative level without prompting from the courts. Vermont became the first in the nation to allow civil unions, after a ruling by the Vermont Supreme Court. In Massachusetts, it was a Supreme Judicial Court ruling to legalized gay marriage. As someone from the land of steady habits I am happy that our state is one of hopefully many more, to come to their sense and help protect the rights of anyone who wants to make a life together.

  16. #16 Brandon
    April 29, 2007

    It seems to me that, outside of Massachusetts, gay couples who desire civil marriage have gone from no-holds-barred Jim Crow to Plessy v. Ferguson

    In New Hampshire, civil unions are for all intents and purposes identical to marriages. So, gay couples will have exactly the same rights as straight couples, even if their union is called something different. It’s an unfortunate distinction, but I don’t believe it will actually affect their lives in any way.

    But yeah, gays have made progress in what, 5 states? Only 45 to go? I wouldn’t call it “last throes” for a while.

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