Civil Unions vs. Same Sex Marriage

Civil Unions became legal in Illinois this past week allowing many couples of the same sex to make a legal, binding commitment to one another. Sounds like same sex marriage to me. Actually it just sounds like  marriage, so whats the big deal? Why does it have to be called anything other than what it is?

I have been a part of the wedding/bridal industry for 28 years. I have seen a lot of weddings, I have personally attended hundreds of weddings and I have had the honor of being a bridesmaid half a dozen times most recently at the ‘union’ of my close friends in 2009. The quotation marks indicate that the ceremony was not legal at that time but no different than any other wedding or ceremony I have attended, with the exception of  being way more fabulous.

Usually  I have facts and interesting tidbits to share about trivia and funny pictures of things like  the Queen of England’s hat. Today I just have a lot of opinions…. and some seemingly stupid questions.

 How does a Civil Union differ from a Same-Sex Marriage?  Is it the same thing? If so, why is it not defined as such? Why does the language have to change because of your sexual orientation? Is the word for LOVE different? Is the word for COMMITMENT different? In fact, why would it even be defined as anything other than marriage? No one refers to my marriage as an opposite sex marriage, even though it clearly is and many times in our union we have been less than civil!

The same people who are enraged about political correctness, who are enraged about having to say  ‘Happy Holidays’ in December are the same people changing the language of how we express our love. The last time I checked, love is supposed to be inclusive  not exclusive.

In case you haven’t guessed, this is all designed to make sure that ‘those’ people aren’t allowed to use the word marriage to define their commitment.  It is reserved for us, the heterosexual people of the world who have done such a great job of defining marriage. We have defined it as a reason to have pre-marital contracts, multiple divorces and  drive-thru wedding chapels. That sounds pretty sacred to me.

I fel in love with my husband (the love of my life) because he has a great sense of humor and a compassionate soul. I married him because he had a great insurance policy.  We might have gotten around to it eventually but we were kind of busy that summer so we just ran to City Hall to seal the deal before my next doctor’s appointment.  The point is that our marriage does not define our relationship. The words on a piece of paper do not make our commitment any stronger, they just allow us to become a legal family. So why do those same words instill fear in the hearts and minds of so many when they are used to allow people of the same sex to become a legal family?

If you are lucky enough to find someone who loves you and the two of you want to spend your life together- go for it! Call it civil union, call it same sex marriage, call it whatever you want, we all know what it is. Grab that person and hold on for dear life because it is a scary world out there filled with hate and fear.

Congratulations to all the couples who were able to enjoy their ceremony at Millenium Park this week. Kudos to Governor Quinn for passing this legislation and Mazel tov to Mayor Emmanuel for starting his day by officiating the ceremony for one of his top aides, David Spielfogel  and his partner, now husband.