Sunday, December 18, 2005

Connecticut Civil Unions = Sexual Apartheid!


Recently a good friend in Connecticut sent me an email with a link to a New York Blade article titled, "Conn. couples slow to apply for civil unions." Here is my reply, concerning the state of Connecticut's new civil union legislation.

As I former Catholic, I fell compelled to say that this is in NO WAY a religious issue... it is an American civil rights issue. When a law abiding and taxpaying American is denied the same rights that are freely given illegal aliens...there is a serious problem in America!


Brian,

As a former Connecticut resident, I am glad you are as concerns about Connecticut's civil union legislation as I have been. I have also taken the time to address these concerns directly with the editorial staff at Window Media.

Window Media/New York Blade Editorial Staff
SOUND OFF! ABOUT THIS ARTICLE Section
1408 U Street, NW, 2nd Floor
Washington, DC 20009

To Whom It May Concern:

As a lineal descendant of several former Connecticut governors (Roger Sherman Baldwin and Simeon Eben Baldwin), I have personally find the Connecticut state civil union legislation extremely offensive. The Connecticut GLBT community is wise to be cautious about running out to get there Connecticut Civil Unions.

While many news reports have claimed that Connecticut was the first state to provide a legal status for same-sex couples, without first being ordered to do so by the courts, both Hawaii and California have provided legal protections to same-sex partners for many years now. Connecticut civil unions are clearly no great legal civil rights victory for the Connecticut GLBT community.

In fact, the state of Connecticut has recently even refused to recognize those civil unions performed in state of Vermont. In Rosengarten v. Downes, a Connecticut appellate court held that a Vermont civil union was not a "marriage" under EITHER state's law, and thus could not be dissolved by the state of Connecticut. It found persuasive the fact that in 2002, the Connecticut legislature had considered, but failed to act upon two bills that would have authorized same-sex marriage or same-sex civil unions, respectively. This, the court felt, was indicative of Connecticut's very clear public policy against the recognition of any same-sex marriage-like relationships.

Perhaps even more distributing, was the fact that the week before the civil union legislation was signed by Connecticut governor M. Jodi Rell, the Connecticut House of Representatives amended the bill, at the governor's strong urging, and define the Connecticut law to read that "marriage exists only between one man and one woman." The Connecticut Senate then gave final legislative approval to this amended bill that Wednesday afternoon on a vote 26-8 vote.

After governor Rell signed the bill into law she stated: "I have said all along that I believe in no discrimination of any kind, and I think that this bill accomplishes that, while at the same time preserving the traditional language that a marriage is between a man and a woman," and perhaps closing a legal loop-hole in the process

Connecticut Civil Unions

* Reserved only for only same-sex couples. (Thus it can not be equal, it is in fact sexual apartheid)
* Must be at least 18 years old. (16 for marriage with parental consent for heterosexuals)
* No blood test. (I will not comment on my thoughts about this provision)
* Applications obtained - in person - from a town clerk’s office. (Not available on-line like marriage)
* Clerk must be in the town where Union is officiated, or where either applicant lives.
* After applying, couple has only 65 days to enter into the union, or they must reapply.
* Officiation may be conducted by anyone who performs marriages (justices of the peace, ordained clergy, judges).
* Neither partner can be currently married, or in a Civil Union from another state. (Yet, Connecticut will not even honor the civil unions of other states like Vermont)
* Same-sex marriages performed in Massachusetts are not valid in Connecticut.
* One year Connecticut residency by at least one partner is required to dissolve a civil union. (This provision is not required of heterosexual couples)
* No common law civil union provision for partners of 5+ years.
* The Connecticut civil union law provides for group health and other benefits for ONLY Connecticut government employees. (It does not mandate that private sector employers must extend equal health care/employee benefits to their employees).
* The Connecticut civil union law is also not portable; for example, if someone has a Civil Union in Vermont, that union is not recognized in any other state. As a matter of fact, Connecticut and Georgia, have already ruled that they do not have to recognize the civil unions performed in the state of Vermont, because their states have NO such legal category.
* A United States citizen who is married can sponsor his or her non-American partner for immigration into this country. (The Connecticut civil unions have no such privilege.)
* Civil Unions are not recognized by the federal government, so couples are not be able to file joint-tax returns, and are not eligible for tax breaks or additional protections that the United States government affords to married couples.

The U.S. General Accounting Office in 1997 released a list of 1,049 benefits and protections made available to heterosexual married couples, that list was broaden in 2003 list to include 1,138 benefits and protection. 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 even 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. Civil Unions creates a separate and unequal status for some of America’s citizens. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial court ruled that creating a separate class for gay and lesbian citizens is not permissible under the state's constitution, and that is why they have voted that only marriage equals marriage.

The United States Constitution guarantees equality protection to all United States citizens. Illegal aliens now have rights and privileges that taxpaying GLBT American do not, such as hospital access, death rights and hundred of additional benefits.

Marriage and civil unions, especially Connecticut's, are clearly not equal or even the same. Creating equal access to "marriage related benefits" is the only fair way to ensure equality for both gay and straight couples alike.

Additional Sources:

Religious Tolerance

yaledailynews.com - Few CT civil unions in first days

Civil Unions in Connecticut


2 comments:

Brian Richards said...

Aaron,

I'm glad to see that you are as disturbed by this legislation as I am. What can I do, here in CT, to spotlight this issue?

Brian

Aaron said...

Write to Governor Rell and U.S. Senator Liebermann and Dodds, and tell them that your disappointed in the state decision to legislate sexual apartheid (a policy of segregation; resulting in political and economic discrimination. Where a government has enacted law(s) specifically to remove the rights of a minority or more minority groups).

Connecticut was not going to let their courts tells them that Gay marriage was unconstitutional, according to the state's constitution...which it would have been!

Aaron