Saturday, February 14, 2009

Amore con benefici

Many people, maybe even every single person on earth, likes reassurance. Someone to say "I believe in you" or "yeah, you're doing a good job" or "that's the right decision." That's one reason why marriage continues to remain so popular, even as 40-45% continue to fall apart. Marriage says, "even though I say I love you and I do love you and we spend every day together, I'm paying $28 to get a certificate from the state to say that I really, really do love you." There are other benefits to marriage, too, of course. If you believe in a church, you get their approval. If you file taxes (as you should), you get a discount. If your spouse goes into a coma, you can pull the plug on them. It's what every little girl dreams about.

I'm not a big fan of marriage. Many of the traditional reasons for marriage - becoming owner of your wife, having presumptive paternity of your children, getting a dowry - are outdated and out of touch. Still, I understand the need, the yearning, the desire for proof of love, for ultimate affirmation. So, if I am ever in a situation where I love a girl and want to enter into a government-approved romance contract with them, I want a civil union.

Civil unions are great. You get all of the legal benefits of marriage, without all of the nasty and outdated social, historical and religious baggage associated with the latter. Unfortunately, in the state of New Jersey, I am not allowed to have a civil union as a straight male marrying a heterosexual female:
For two people to establish a civil union in New Jersey, they must satisfy all of the following requirements:

- Not be a party to another civil union, domestic partnership or marriage in this state or that is recognized by this state;
- Be of the same sex; and
- Be at least 18 years of age, except that applicants under 18 may enter into a civil union with parental consent. Applicants under age 16 must obtain parental consent and have the consent approved in writing by any judge of the Superior Court, Chancery Division, Family Part.
[emphasis mine]
I am outraged. I am offended. I am angry. How can I be denied the same rights as other citizens? Am I not a human being? I pay taxes, I vote, I own property, I am white. When this country was first founded, I would have been a king. Now, I'm denied a basic right enjoyed by my fellow Americans.

Oh, yes, I know what you're saying - you can just have a marriage. I don't want a marriage. I want to enjoy a civil union. In the field of state recognition of interpersonal relationships, the doctrine of "separate but equal" has no place. Separate matrimonial standards are inherently unequal.

For the above reasons, if I ever reach the point of marriage and can convince the girl to join me in my quest, I am going to sue the state for the right to civil unionize. Hopefully the ACLU or other similar organization will support me in my quest, since I do not have the funds to finance this litigation on my own. Actually, by the time I am ready to wed, I hope the aforementioned discrimination is a distant memory.

Based on historical trends, my hope will probably be misplaced.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A tragic loss

Kurt Vonnegut is dead. Still.