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Joe_Cavalry All Day Every Day


Debate Info

55
48
Hell Yeah! No, why would it?
Debate Score:103
Arguments:62
Total Votes:112
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 Hell Yeah! (40)
 
 No, why would it? (22)

Debate Creator

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Do the words Civil Union minimize gay unions in any way?

It seems like gays are against the use of the term "civil union" as the legal definition of a gay union.  But I don't understand how the term minimizes gay unions.

Hell Yeah!

Side Score: 55
VS.

No, why would it?

Side Score: 48

Absolutely. It's like saying to a brunette child, "Here, you can still have birthday cake, but you can have less birthday cake than the blonde kid."

Side: Hell Yeah!

It minimizes it because it's not the same as the term marriage and it should be because that's what it is...a marriage! Why make it different from the git when it doesn't need to be. The differences are already built in because of the same sex aspects. Why go any further than that?

Side: Hell Yeah!

The differences are already built in because of the same sex aspects.

Are you saying that the difference between "marriage" and "civil union" (as currently defined) is the built in sex aspects. In other words, "civil union" implies same sex and "marriage" does not?

Assuming that this is what you mean, currently civil unions are being used by the elderly. But aside from that....

Are you saying that you are so offended by the notion of "a man and a woman" that you want to get rid of it from the definition of "marriage?"

Side: No, why would it?
kamranw(232) Disputed
2 points

There is a difference. Therefore, they should use a different term. If they are given the same rights, why should it matter to them whether it is called marriage or a civil union?

Side: No, why would it?
Mahollinder(900) Disputed
3 points

The only real impediment to same-sex marriage is religious opposition and those whose agenda it is to appease the religious institution. Civil unions don't grant identical rights and privileges that straight marriages receive. That's law. And changing the "term" for the sake of appeasement only results in the need for state and federal legislation amendment. And that's much more round-about and unnecessary than simply extending the term to include homosexuals.

Before the 1960s, many states had anti-miscegenation laws based on a "traditional definition" of marriage being constrained to people of the same race. Quite frankly, most of the arguments put up against same-sex marriage are similar (and often identical) to the arguments posed against legal interracial coupling. As you put it, "there is a difference". But that doesn't mean that we should use a different term, any more than we should abstain from calling interracial marriages "marriages" just because it's "different". The days of segregation are over--the whole "separate but equal" nonsense needs to be put aside.

Side: Hell Yeah!
1 point

Yes, because . . .

1) Civil unions do not offer the same rights as marriage.

“The General Accounting Office in 1997 released a list of 1,049 benefits and protections available to heterosexual married couples. These benefits range from federal benefits, such as survivor benefits through Social Security, sick leave to care for ailing partner, tax breaks, veterans benefits and insurance breaks. They also include things like family discounts, obtaining family insurance through your employer, visiting your spouse in the hospital and making medical decisions if your partner is unable to. Civil Unions protect some of these rights, but not all of them . . . Marriage laws are universal. If someone’s husband or wife is injured in an accident, all you need to do is show up and say you’re his or her spouse. You will not be questioned. If you show up at the hospital with your legal paperwork, the employees may not know what to do with you. If you simply say, "He's my husband," you will immediately be taken to your spouse's side.” http://lesbianlife.about.com/cs/wedding/a/unionvmarriage.htm

“Couples in a civil union may file a joint state tax return, but they must file federal tax returns as single persons. This may be advantageous to some couples, not so for others. One advantage for married couples is the ability to transfer assets and wealth without incurring tax penalties. Partners in a civil union aren't permitted to do that, and thus may be liable for estate and gift taxes on such transfers. The state-federal divide is even more complicated in [the health insurance] arena. [I]t comes down to what’s governed by state law and what’s subject to federal oversight . . . If a spouse or divorced spouse dies, the survivor may have a right to Social Security payments based on the earnings of the married couple, rather than only the survivor’s earnings. Same-sex couples are not eligible for such benefits. Other federal areas in which couples in civil unions don't have the same rights as married couples include immigration (a partner who's a foreign national can't become an American by entering into a civil union with someone) and veterans' and military benefits (only opposite-sex spouses have a right to pensions, compensation for service-related deaths, medical care, housing and the right to burial in veterans’ cemeteries).” http://www.factcheck.org/what_is_a_civil_union.html

2) Civil unions are not recognized by every state, nor are they recognized by the federal government. This means that if you move from Oregon to Idaho or from Vermont to South Carolina, poof! you no longer get any of the rights of being in a “civil union.”

“The protections do not extend beyond the border of [the issuing state] and no federal protections are included with a Civil Union. Civil Unions offer some of the same rights and responsibilities as marriage, but only on a state level.” http://lesbianlife.about.com/cs/wedding/ a/unionvmarriage.htm

“Because the federal government does not respect civil unions, a couple with a civil union will be in a kind of limbo with regard to governmental functions performed by both state and federal governments, such as taxation, pension protections, provision of insurance for families, and means-tested programs like Medicaid. Even when states try to provide legal protections, they may be foreclosed from doing so in joint federal/state programs.” http://www.massequality.org/ourwork/marriage/marriagevscivilunions.pdf

“A civil union is a separate and unequal legal institution for same-sex couples created by four states (Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey and Vermont) to avoid allowing same-sex couples to legally marry. What protections are included in a civil union is up to the discretion of the state. It may contain some or all of the state-level spousal rights, protections, responsibilities and benefits. Marriage is a universally recognized institution. Everyone understands the terms husband, wife and spouse. The difference between marriage and civil unions, however, is not merely semantic. Civil unions end at the state line.” http://www.equalitymaryland.org/pdfs/cu_fact_sheet.pdf

3) Having two tiers of terminology creates more problems than it solves.

“Civil unions actually destabilize the institution of marriage by cobbling together separate, unequal institutions and creating a legal quagmire with myriad grey areas. Vermont and Virginia are actually battling over which state’s court has jurisdiction in a custody battle stemming from a Vermont couple that dissolved their civil union, with one half of the couple moving to Virginia. [This would be clear under the law if the couple was ‘married’ and later ‘divorced’.]” http://www.equalitymaryland.org/pdfs/cu_fact_sheet.pdf

4) As the Court observed in Brown v. Board of Education, “separate is inherently unequal.”

“Every day, we fill out forms that ask us whether we are married or single. People joined in a civil union don’t fit into either category. People with civil unions should be able to identify themselves as a single family unit, but misrepresenting oneself on official documents can be considered fraud and carries potential serious criminal penalties. Even if there were no substantive differences in the way the law treated marriages and civil unions, the fact that a civil union remains a separate status just for gay people represents real and powerful inequality. We’ve been down this road before in this country and should not kid ourselves that a separate institution just for gay people is a just solution here either . . . Marriages are far more likely to be respected by others than newly minted ‘civil unions.’ Using the term ‘marriage’ also prompts a discussion about fairness . . . Our constitution requires legal equality for all.” http://www.massequality.org/ourwork/marriage/marriagevscivilunions.pdf

“Paul Cates of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project at the American Civil Liberties Union stressed the cultural significance of marriage: ‘You’re not a little kid dreaming about your civil union day. It’s your wedding day.’ When you want to commit to a partner, ‘you’re not really thinking about the [legal] protections. It’s the significance and what it means to be married and hold yourself out as married’ . . . ‘Marriage is important because it’s a time-honored enduring social institution that serves women, men and children,’ [Jenny] Tyree [of the anti-gay group ‘Focus on the Family’] says." (And presumably, as far as Ms. Tyree and her ilk are concerned, a ‘civil union’ does none of those things.) http://www.factcheck.org/what_is_a_civil_union.html

“Because the state already grants marriage licenses to other families, same-sex couples want the same treatment under the law for their families. They respect the institution of marriage and want to enter into it, not have a separate institution created for them with exclusion as its underpinnings . . . Children should have the comfort of knowing their parents are married . . . Civil unions are a separate and unequal institution that send a message to children of same-sex couples that society does not value their families as much as those headed by heterosexual couples . . . No straight couple wants to trade in their marriage for a civil union, and no one gets down on bended knee and asks someone to ‘civil union’ them.” http://www.equalitymaryland.org/pdfs/cu_fact_sheet.pdf

Side: Hell Yeah!

Oh yes! YES! I love it! How long did it take for someone to finally use the argument, "Gay marriage, it's for the children." ;)

Side: No, why would it?
1 point

By giving gay marriage the same status as straight marriage, we will be showing our children that being gay is ok. They will grow up in a more tolerant world and be better off because of it.

Gay marriage, it's for the children.

Side: Hell Yeah!

Item #4, first quoted paragraph is crap. The forms I see specifically state, "domestic partner." There is a term for them. They are able to identify themselves as a single family unit. They don't have to misrepresenting themselves on official documents.

If you really think that using the word marriage will automatically grant respect to gays than maybe you would consider calling black people white. I mean, they have been having a hell of a lot harder time than gays. So if that solution works for gays, it should work for blacks as well.

Side: Hell Yeah!
Banshee(288) Disputed
1 point

Don't be facetious. Nobody is saying we should call gay people "straight." Nor did I argue that using the word "marriage" will automatically grant gay people social respect. I argued the converse, and not equivalent, proposition that denying "marriage" to gay people reinforces notions that they do not deserve social respect.

Side: Hell Yeah!

Actually item 3 supports my argument.

It is obviously apparent that the majority of the states do not want gay marriage. How is it apparent? Simply put, because only a handful of states allow gay marriages. The majority of the states don't want it (otherwise, they would have it).

So, how do we fix the quagmire with myriad gray areas? Easy. We don't allow gay marriage but we do enforce civil unions. It will be a hell of a lot easier to pass civil unions than to pass gay marriage. For example, California is an extremely liberal state, yet gay marriage was overwhelmingly voted down. But there are civil unions in California and the majority doesn't complain about civil unions.

Side: Hell Yeah!
Banshee(288) Disputed
1 point

No, item 3 really doesn't support your argument. Whether the states "want" gay marriage really has nothing to do with the legal quagmire presented by "civil unions." Those quagmires have long since been sorted in regards to "marriage." You cannot force a state to recognize another state's "civil unions" under the current laws, whereas "marriage" is totally portable. And no, I doubt very much that it would be at all easier to get all the states to agree to allow and recognize one another's "civil unions," with totally different rights and benefits depending on where that civil union was contracted and where the couple moves to. It would, in fact, be far easier to get states to keep doing what they're doing, which is to recognize common rights and benefits that attach to "marriages" regardless of where they were contracted. So it's actually much easier to get "gay marriage" to fly than it is to enforce "civil unions" in all 50 states.

Side: Hell Yeah!

Item 2 has set both a precedence and an example of how "civil unions" can work. Gays should take that opportunity to work the kinks out civil unions in those states that allow civil unions and then hold those states as the standard for all other states. The other states will run out of arguments for not allowing gay unions.

Gays can simply tell the other states:

1. We don't call it marriage, so you can't use that argument.

2. We have shown that it can work, as evidenced by these states.

3. We already did it in these states so we know how to set it up in your state (you don't have to do a thing). We'll do it for you.

4. The only thing you can say is explain why we are not allowed these benefits.

Side: Hell Yeah!
Banshee(288) Disputed
1 point

We don't call it marriage, so you can't use that argument.

Sorta like, "hey, we're cool with being second-class citizens. S'alright."

We already did it in these states so we know how to set it up in your state (you don't have to do a thing). We'll do it for you.

"You don't have to do a thing"? Don't be goofy, man; of course the government has to do many things to institute a law, even if the legislature has already figured out how the law should work. That's like telling Congress that setting up national health care would not require them "to do a thing" because England and Canada have done it already. Obviously somebody needs to review the law for conflicts with other areas of state or federal law, enact it, and implement it. Since it's not a "marriage" they also have to figure out which benefits will attach and which won't, and which are pre-empted by federal laws. Out-of-state property ownership becomes a whole new nightmare at death or dissolution. Financial protections like homestead exemptions may or may not apply. It's much more work for a legislature to concoct a whole new legal relationship then just to extend the existing one to a broader segment of the population.

Side: Hell Yeah!

Item 1 has one flaw that gets my panties in a bunch. Item 1 talks about a list of benefits and then turns around and calls these benefits rights. I wish people could read my lips. Benefits are not rights.

The definition of a civil right is as follows:

Civil and political rights are a class of rights and freedoms that protect individuals from unwarranted government action and ensure one's ability to participate in the civil and political life of the state without discrimination or repression.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Civil_and_political_rights

NOTE: the government is not taking any unwarranted action against gays in order to keep them from participating in the civil and political life of the state. In other words, gays don't need protection in the form of rights and freedoms. Specifically gays are not being discriminated against nor are they being repressed.

Here's the definition of political repression for your convenience:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_repression

NOTE: gays are politically active, they can vote, they have representatives and there are gays who hold political office. In other words, they are not politically repressed.

And here's the definition of discrimination for your convenience:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Discrimination

NOTE: the only thing gained by a couple who has the title of "married" bestowed on them are benefits like tax credits. But the government is allowed to give away these benefits as it sees fit, to whomever it sees fit. In other words, this does not constitute discrimination.

Now, please explain to me how gays are being repressed and how they are being discriminated against. I would also like to know which rights are being denied to them. Please keep in mind that rights are not benefits and that the benefits provided for under the term "marriage" are granted to gays under the term "civil union." The list you refer to is from 1997. That list has been updated. But even so, if there are any benefits that are not included under the term "civil union" then gays should fight to have that corrected.

Side: Hell Yeah!
Banshee(288) Disputed
1 point

"the benefits provided for under the term 'marriage' are granted to gays under the term 'civil union'."

No, they aren't necessarily the same. The benefits of a "civil union" only extend as far as the state extends them. There are no federal benefits for partners to a civil union at all.

"That list has been updated."

Then please provide a more current citation.

Side: Hell Yeah!
Banshee(288) Disputed
1 point

That list of benefits is from 1997. But the comparison of which benefits attach to "civil unions" and which don't cannot possibly be from 1997, because no states had civil unions for gay folks at all until 2000. It would be absurd to say that a description of the differences between marriage and civil unions was drafted three years before the first civil unions were even invented. The 1997 list described "marriage" benefits, and later analysts of "civil unions" simply used that list to say "hey, we don't get A, B, C, D, E, or F as partners to a 'civil union,' whereas 'married' people do."

Side: Hell Yeah!
1 point

Explain, please --

How some people are arguing BOTH that applying the term "civil union" instead of "marriage" to gay relationships does NOT trivialize or minimize said gay relationships; but at the same time, using the word "marriage" instead of "civil union" DOES trivialize and minimize straight marriage.

If "gay marriage" DOES trivialize straight marriage whereas gay "civil unions" do not, then obviously there is something culturally superior about "marriage" as opposed to a "civil union." If that's NOT true, then gay marriage would not minimize straight marriage in any way, and there is no need for the term "civil union"; we should just call it "marriage."

This sounds a lot like the civil rights schools cases, where the white supremacists rested their case on the argument that putting blacks in separate facilities did not minimize or trivialize black education, but at the same time claimed that integrated schools would utterly destroy the educational facilities where the white kids went by letting all those unwanted black students in.

So if "civil union" and "marriage" are equally good terms, how can gay marriage possibly minimize straight marriage? And if they are NOT equally good terms, how can gay civil unions possibly NOT minimize gay partnerships?

Side: Hell Yeah!
kamranw(232) Disputed
2 points

The definition of marriage according to many people beliefs must be changed in order to accomidate. Therefore, if you use a different term and allow all the same rights, you satisfy both parties. I say take it one step further and rid the legal system of the word marriage altogether. Leave marriage for the churches.

Side: No, why would it?
Banshee(288) Disputed
1 point

But that doesn't answer my contention. What is the need for a different term, unless to imply that one term is superior to the other?

Side: Hell Yeah!

Gay marriage does not minimize straight marriage. But try changing the definition of marriage at this point in time and people are going to push back. Hell, people have been pushing back, hard! That's why I'm a proponent of using a different tactic in order to get the benefits as quickly as possible and then, given time and education, change it to marriage at some point in the future when people are more agreeable to the idea. Right now the time is not right.

Side: No, why would it?
0 points

It minimizes gay unions because when you talk to a straight couple and use the word "marriage," they are all big smiles but if you use the words, "Civil Union," they roll their eyes.

Side: Hell Yeah!
2 points

Wait..., what? No! That makes no sense at all.

That's like saying that we should call black people white because when you talk to your white friends and use the word white to refer to someone they are all smiles but if you if you use the word black to refer to someone they roll their eyes.

You can't legislate morality. Don't you get that? A person who would roll his eyes at a gay couple is going to roll his eyes regardless of what you call it.

Maybe we should get rid of the words black and white and simply say, "This person...." without any qualifiers.

The point is that it is not the qualifier that needs modification, it's the perception. And you can only modify perception through education, not by forcing everyone to use a different word (not through legislation). Which is why I think that political correctness is a bunch of crap. but I digress ;)

Side: No, why would it?
3 points

It does not minimize gay unions at all. Provding, a civil union entitles them to the same rights as a married couple. Also, why not turn ALL marriage straight or gay, into a civil union in the eyes of the law, and leave marriage to the churches?

Side: No, why would it?
2 points

"Also, why not turn ALL marriage straight or gay, into a civil union in the eyes of the law, and leave marriage to the churches?"

Those are my exact thoughts. I feel like you're inside of my head. o.O

Side: No, why would it?
Banshee(288) Disputed
1 point

1) It does not afford the same rights.

2) "Marriage" is a cultural institution and the word has significant impact. Nobody introduces their "civil partner;" one introduces a "husband" or a "wife." Other countries recognize "marriage" and understand its legal and social meaning, whereas a "civil union" is whatever any given U.S. state has cobbled together out of bits and pieces of legal marriage.

3) "Marriage" is not a specifically religious institution. Somewhere between 25% and 40% of the heterosexual marriages in this country are not performed by clergy and have no religious component.

Side: Hell Yeah!

Just because someone has a civil partner, it does not mean that they cannot call that civil partner their spouse, husband, or wife. No one is going to throw a lesbian in jail for saying, "She's my wife." People will just understand the implication and that it is a civil union.

Side: Hell Yeah!
2 points

The words don't. There is nothing derogetory With respect to the words.

It's the restrictions and stigmas associated with the words that are the issue.

For example, if all marriages were to be called civil unions, it would be fine.

Side: No, why would it?

You know, there are restrictions and stigmas associated with the word black. For example, if we got rid of "black" and "white" and replaced it with "skin color" for everyone, then it would be fine. The news would be like, "Today a skin color person killed another skin color person in a dispute over...." ;)

Side: No, why would it?
3 points

LOL dude. This is why I don't hate you yet. You come up with funny, but good points.

Side: No, why would it?
2 points

Yeah, like instead of the mens restroom and the ladies restroom they could just have two person restrooms. Because well, ... . . .. .... .I want a couch. (((;

Side: No, why would it?
2 points

I fail to see how any of the arguments change the fact that civil union, provided they are given equal rights as marriage, is not discrimination.

Marriage is a sanction between a man and a woman by definition. You cannot and should not change definitions just to please the public. Especially, when there is another solution.

Side: No, why would it?

Marriage benefits were meant to encourage couples to get married. Why?

Because people are horny beings and if they are going to have sex then it would be preferable for them to be married. Why?

Because the consequences of unmarried couples having sex were undesirable

i.e., sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), unwanted children, illegal abortions, women dying from illegal abortions and the problems associated with single parent homes.

But didn't these problems exist even when couples were married? Yes.

And we still have these things as a deterrent to acting irresponsible in a marriage and that hasn't helped matters any..., so how do we fix it?

We can't, so everybody is doing their own thing and dealing with the consequences as they come up.

Can we at least curb STDs in the gay community by allowing them to get married?

Sure. Why not? Marriage didn't pan out as intended so... screw it ;)

Side: No, why would it?