Civil Unions for All Means All Under the Government
Dan Yorke hosted an interesting conversation this afternoon on WPRO regarding the manufactured controversy over Governor Carcieri’s plans to speak at an event hosted by the Massachusetts Family Institute. I’ve asked Dan to post the audio of his interview with Susan Heroux on his PodCast page, and I’m hoping to procure the audio of my subsequent phone conversation with him.
But while that’s all in the works, it’s worth responding to something suggested by a regular caller to WPRO, and pretty much weekly star of Matt Allen’s open-line hour on Fridays before the Violent Roundtable (although I confess that my ineptitude with names leaves me unable to provide his). Being of the more libertarian conservative school of thought, he raised the suggestion that the government should offer only civil unions, with citizens free to sanctify their unions however they wish.
The essential problem with eliminating civil recognition of marriage in favor of universal civil unions is that a civil union is something granted by the government, while marriage entails the government’s recognition of something that transcends itself. Marriage, that is, is prior to government; that’s why it’s a civil right; that’s why it is evil for the government to dictate that, for example, black folks can’t marry white folks. Civil unions would, by definition, be manipulable.
It’s important for government to recognize marriage, as traditionally understood, because households built around intimate male-female relationships tend toward the creation of new life in an inviolable family unit. Again, this transcends government. Homosexual households are not equivalent because they must procure children by some means external to the relationship, and one way or another, that process already involves — requires — government regulation (as with adoption).
It should be noted, of course, that our freedom to associate with each other also transcends government (and ought to do so more), so homosexual relationships between adults are inviolable by that mechanism, in concert with a variety of other relationship types.