The Connecticut Compromise

GayPatriot has some thoughts about the recent same-sex civil unions legislation in Connecticut:

Twenty years ago, few, even in the gay community, recognized gay couples as a social unit. Nor did many more “mainstream” institutions, whether commercial, civic, educational, religious or governmental. Today, a growing number of commercial enterprises offer benefits to the partners of their employees while other institutions welcome same-sex schweeties (i.e., significant others) to meetings, services and social events.

And now, a state, not forced by a court and with an elected legislature close to the people, has recognized gay unions. This is huge. Let me repeat, this is huge.

I remain somewhat skeptical, but at the same time, Connecticut did things right. No judge forced this decision down the throats of the people. This was a legislative decision that tried to reach a compromise between traditional marriage, and not denying gays basic civil and legal rights. Only time will tell how this compromise will work, but at least this decision was made in the right way.

On the other hand, the family remains under seige from all quarters. The family is the foundation of society, and when it crumbles, society inevitably follows suit. Many of the problems in America stem from the decline of the American family. Gay rights advocates argue that civil unions/gay marriage won’t do anything to harm the state of the family — I remain skeptical of that claim, but they may well be correct. The problems with marriage aren’t legal, they’re societal. Society has turned agains promoting strong and healthy marriages, and the societal implications of advancing gay marriages may only make that trend worse. When we begin to accept that any arrangement is just as valid as a traditional marriage, we ignore both millennia of human experience and our own biological natures. Humans have formed family units since the beginning of time. The “traditional” family isn’t some arbitrary construct, it has existed for centuries because it works. The family is how the values of citizenship and society are disseminated to the next generation. With all due respect to Plato, The Republic‘s vision of the state replacing parents in this regard is hardly a good idea.

How will civil unions fit into all this? Will they hurt marriage? Or as some gay rights advocates argue, will the potential for civil recognition make gays less likely to engage in a libertine lifestyle and instead choose more monogamous relationships, something which would help marriage? GayPatriot seems to argue for the latter, and we’ll see if he’s right.

Meanwhile, the Connecticut Compromise should be a model for other states. Defining marriage should be a state issue under the Tenth Amendment, and the states should be allowed to decide through the legislative process whether or not they choose to acknowledge same-sex civil unions. If the Defense of Marriage Act holds (which is questionable, but possible) then other states won’t be forced into accepting the same terms until they so chose. Certainly there are those on both sides who see the Connecticut Compromise as being at best a half-measure and at worst a denial of basic rights, but for most, it’s a wise legislative decision on a controversial and difficult issue.

3 thoughts on “The Connecticut Compromise

  1. Resistance to gay rights in the early 21st century is as futile as resistance to desegregation in the 1950s and 1960s. Any rational person knows we’re 20 to 25 years away from a coast-to-coast retreat on the systematic discrimination of homosexuals despite all the reactionary state initiatives to indefinitely maintain that discrimination. All of the “American family is under siege” zealots (unfortunately, a huge group) will continue their bombastic efforts to undermine the civil rights of gay Americans, but their efforts will be wasted as fair treatment for all always seems to win at the end of the day, even though it often takes a half century longer in America than other civilized societies.

    Connecticut’s “compromise” will not be viewed as acceptable by activists on either side of this debate as both will view it as a baby step towards inevitable gay marriage. A plurality of Americans may be indifferent on this issue, just as they were with the civil rights struggles of the 1960s, but those with the shrillest rhetoric hold the reins on the outcome of homosexual unions, and the “Connecticut compromise” will not satisfy either group. If every state followed in Connecticut’s footsteps tomorrow, the battle would rage on still stronger on Saturday. And for Republicans eager to push through one after another plutocratic parlor trick under the noses of the distracted peasantry, life has never been better than to manufacture a new “abortion” issue.

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  3. I disagree mark. I forsee this compromise as being the breath of fresh air the majority of americans have been looking for. When put to the question most americans admit Homosexuals need some rights, but many dont want the m-word involved. This compromise is exactly what they have been looking for, and obviously this is what the people of conneticut want ( or at elast we’ll see come next years election).

    Your belief that the rhetoric fire breathers wont be satisfied and thusthis compromise wont stand is based on the beleif that people will still listen to the flaming breath of both sides. The recent cultural debates have left many with a bad taste in their mouth’s, and both the far right and the far left lack a controlling interest in the public. Perhaps the time of the moderates is at hand?

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