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Hear hear! (nt) – Explodicle

The GOP here is introducing a bill allowing “contractual cohabitation”: marriage in everything but name. I think this is a pretty reasonable stance to take on gay marriage. Anyone here who wants to argue that this is actually a bad thing?

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Comment by kadath
2007-02-02 23:47:46

Yes, but not at 1 in the morning. Catch me later.

Comment by ultimatepsi
2007-02-02 23:54:40

It’s better than writing discrimination into their constitution, but it’s not offering full rights to gay and lesbian couples. For example, “Employers would still have the option of recognizing the contract for health insurance and pension purposes.” Left unsaid but implied is the option of *not* recognizing the contract. Shared employee benefits are a major financial boon for married folks.

Unrelatedly, I think it is unfortunate that the bill also includes the provision: “They also could not enter into a contract with two people at the same time.”

Comment by jjlc
2007-02-03 07:05:54

The only problem is that they are still allowing states to hand out marriage licenses, a function completely outside the roll of government.

Comment by anonymous
2007-02-03 09:42:17


Comment by coriolinus
2007-02-03 12:59:25

I’m kind of curious as to why the one-at-a-time rule seems a bad thing to you; my understanding of this legislation’s goal is to create an analogue to marriage, which has similar provisions.

Comment by coriolinus
2007-02-03 13:02:48

I’m tempted to agree with you on principle, but as a practical matter, so long as the state is allowed to regulate benefits (or penalties) to marriage, such as the right to make health decisions in a hospital, they need to have some official notice of when such a state is created, and when it is dissolved.

Comment by para_cynic
2007-02-03 15:05:25

I think the whole question is one of rights. If this bill allows couples the same rights, effectively marriage in the eyes of the law, the insurance compnaies etc, I approve.

You can still have a Marriage ceremony of your choice, but the religious part should not be up to the state.

My wife and I arguably have a legal civil union, in that we were married by a JP, and didn’t ask any church to endorse our union.

I like how the bill allows for hetero unions as well, making this not a “separate but equal” issue where the gays get a “runner up” option, but a non-marriage choice for legal union for benefit purposes. I’d do it for me.

Comment by ultimatepsi
2007-02-03 17:50:31

It is similar to marriage. And it doesn’t actually surprise me at all. It makes me sad because I believe that it is possible to build a family with more than two adults, and I’d like to see legal infrastructure for that.

Comment by coriolinus
2007-02-03 17:55:47

Absolutely. I’d prefer it to a ceremony with religious connotations as well.

Comment by amalcon
2007-02-03 22:56:16

Well, in principle I think something like this is a good idea. In practice, unless state-sanctioned marriage goes away, this is a pretty obvious case of “separate, but equal.” If it’s actually equal, great — but that’s not likely to happen.

Though, it does have interesting potential side effects: Could someone marry person A, who “contractually cohabitates” with person B, who marries person C, etc? If not, then the law basically has to state up-front that the contract is different from marriage (because it has to say that you cannot be in a marriage at the same time). I doubt there’s a way they could play that, that would make it acceptable to all parties, but I will be interested to see them try.

Comment by jjlc
2007-02-08 09:04:50

This is why contractual cohabitation or civil unions or whatever makes more sense. Marriage is a term that means different things for different people, and many people have religious objections to redefining it.

If they simply make civil unions–between any number of adults, sure–a contractual arrangement, then religious people are free to get them or not, homosexuals or polyamorous people are free to get them or not, and anyone who desires a marriage is welcome to find a church that will marry them (but since this is purely a religious ceremony, no one could try to force a clergyperson to marry them if it was against that person’s conscience).

I think that separating marriage from tax laws and such is the best way to preserve the rights and autonomy of both religious persons and persons who want to change the way “marriage” works. I know that if I had gotten married after the MA supreme court had changed the laws on marriage, I would have either gotten married in the church without a license or obtained a license from another state, such as Connecticut, rather than signing a form that said “Party A” and “Party B.”


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