Friday, November 6, 2009

It's not the same thing: marriage and DPs

I'm glad that Washington appears to have saved domestic partnerships--though the margin is agonizingly close. But the closeness of that race is proof that this battle is not about a word. It's not about marriage. It's about ANY recognition of same sex couples.

So why does the word itself matter? next time someone says that in a post-Prop8 world, marriage and DPs in CA are the same, remind them that it's just not true. Some differences are listed here: Marriage versus domestic partnership in CA.

These include a big one, that legal status and rights are not portable out of state. And even with protections, as we've seen rights may be denied IN state. Tax benefits, retirement, leave and other benefits are absent. There are no immigration protections, and other differences in how they are treated compared to marriage including common residency name change, and privacy. Interestingly marriages are not state-recorded or easily searchable. But DPs are. whazzup with that?

And let's also remember that, as shown in Washington and Wisconsin, even benefits from civil unions are under attack by the haters. As Andrew Sullivan wrote recently
it doesn't matter what equality is called - civil unions, domestic partnerships, civil partnerships, or civil marriage - the GOP believes in no rights for gay couples whatsoever.

As a recent Op/Ed in Maine wrote,
There is virtually no way to surgically carve out and tie together all the rights and responsibilities of marriage in a legal relationship that does what marriage does without calling it marriage......

Families led by same-sex partners are here now. They are part of our communities and they need and deserve the legal protections -- as well as the dignity -- that comes with civil marriage status.

It's not about marriage. It never was. It's about bigotry.

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