“Domestic Partnership” Does Not Equal Marriage

February 5, 2009 at 7:00 am 6 comments

An editorial on marriage in the Portland Press Herald laid out in the clearest language possible why the debate around relationship recognition should about marriage and not just the collection of rights and responsibilities accessed through marriage.

A domestic partnership law is the wrong place to start the discussion. Those who object to the state applying family law norms to same-sex relationships see it as a way to sneak gay marriage into the law books.

Those who support same-sex marriage view it as a less-than-equal legal status that does not carry one of the most important benefits of marriage – its universal recognition.

In a school, hospital or courthouse, everyone understands the family relationship of marriage and the rights that go with it. A new institution with an unfamiliar name would not have the same weight.

We support full marriage rights for same-sex couples because we believe they are entitled to equal protection under the law. Marriage is the best building block for stable, supportive families, and families led by same-sex couples should have same legal rights and obligations as those led by heterosexual couples.

That editorial appeared on January 25, 2009 two weeks after Equality Maine and its partners in the Maine Freedom to Marry Coalition unveiled a bill that would extend civil marriage rights to same-sex couples in Maine. To counteract efforts to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples, Republican State Rep. Les Fossel has proposed a domestic partnership bill that he is holding up as a “compromise.”

As we have learned again and again in places like California, Connecticut (before marriage was legalized) and New Jersey, creating separate structures like domestic partnerships and civil unions for the recognition of same-sex relationships does not work. By virtue of their being separate categories, they are inherently unequal. And, in their daily lives same-sex couples have experienced the shortcomings of being relegated to separate and unequal legal structures.

Pursuing domestic partnerships legislation is only a pragmatic tactic in places where it clear that marriage will not become a reality anytime soon and only as part of a pragmatic and multi-pronged strategy to provide real benefits for LGBT families while moving towards the goal of marriage equality.

Maine is one of the few places in the country where we can win and keep marriage equality. It is in no way going to be easy and our brothers and sisters in Maine will need the help of all of us in this fight.

This is a fight that can be won. Make a contribution to support the marriage work of Equality Maine now.


Entry filed under: Advocacy, Family, LGBT, Marriage, Politics. Tags: , , , .

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6 Comments Add your own

  • 1. HalfGay  |  April 18, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Ya know…the problem is that the “marriage protectors” keep fudging the line between a state right and what people do in the church. The state’s job is to provide equal rights for all of its people….the churches job is to define their purpose for themselves. Quite intentionally, it seems, these people who are anti-gay want to blur this distinction so they can continue to have something to fight about. What I would really like Gay Rights Advocates to do is to put that distinction back in its place. No one is asking to get married in their churches. That would be a like a Muslim asking to get married in a synagogue…meaning that is for them to work out. People keep letting themselves get away from the civil rights aspect of this issue. In a world where people are so easily influenced by misinformation, it is so important to keep pushing the truth.

  • 2. Noclegi Kotlina  |  May 19, 2009 at 3:05 am

    I agree HalfGay, religion has way too much to do with the gouvernment decision. And the fact that marriage traditionaly is associated with church only adds to that.

  • 3. MFairness  |  June 9, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    The stigma surrounding marriage is definitely unfortunate. However, if enough citizens speak out to their Senators regarding this inequality, we can make change happen. Visit MarriageNY.com to find out how to help achieve marriage equality in New York State

  • 4. Gry Dla Dzieci  |  June 17, 2009 at 7:29 am

    The most hilarious argument I’ve heard about why same sex marriages are wrong, was that the word marriage came from God and it meant a union between a man and a woman. And we all know God has never made a mistake, right ?:D
    Generally, as soon as religion is taken out of the picture, it all works and makes sense. Too bad so few people can actually see that..

  • 5. Odzyskiwanie Danych  |  July 10, 2009 at 4:52 am

    That’s true, domestic partnership is hated by everyone. Tough I belive that it’s the best solution. It’s right in the middle and I don’t see why everyone’s bitching about it.

  • 6. Tammi Reynero  |  May 18, 2011 at 6:19 am

    hello, i set up your weblog on bing.it??¥s actually pit published also it assisted me tons. carry on the certified perform.


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