Lifesitenews recently published an article about how being Catholic means opposing even Civil Unions. Now, I have had Catholic friends explain to me why they oppose Civil Unions, but no one ever claimed this was Church teaching. They link they provided was about “homosexual unions.” Most of the arguments were about not supporting gay marriage. Meanwhile I also agree that there is a valid point: if a civil union is the same as gay marriage, than we’re playing semantics.
In the meantime, I’ve listened to opposing arguments as well. Civil Marriage laws does seem to protect more than just the children. There are some civil marriage rights that it does seem should be able to be applied beyond those who are married. These would be namely:
- Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse – that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse’s behalf.
- Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse’s employer.
- Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
- Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse’s close relatives dies.
- Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
- Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.
- Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
- Making burial or other final arrangements.
- Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.
Certainly these are not all the legal benefits in marriage, but I just can’t see barring people from loving their loved ones as right regardless of how immoral the sexual behavior is. I think these things can go far beyond people in sexual relationships. My mother was abandoned at her aunts house repetitively. My grandma would show up at her sisters, claim she was running an errand and return just before she’d lose custody. My mom had no stability in her life and was mostly raised by her aunt. Her aunt also ran a foster home. One of the kids stayed at the home till adulthood. My mom considers this foster kid a sibling and considers her cousins siblings. I still consider my mother’s aunt my “real” grandmother. I consider my mom’s cousins my aunts and uncles. My mom however was never legally adopted.
Certainly we haven’t come into great legal hassles in our situation, but non-traditional families do exist. Say a young girl is pregnant. Her boyfriend abandoned her. Her mother is a widow. Rather than putting the baby up for adoption, the young girl’s mother and the young girl decide to raise the child together. Wouldn’t it make sense to allow the young girl and her child to stay under her mother’s insurance?
I think that if we just legally recognized people’s right to love each other, that would be enough – even if its not a tradtional family, even if we believe their sexual lifestyle is immoral. Certainly its not marriage. It shouldn’t be called marriage, but it doesn’t make sense to me that we should make people’s ability to be there for one another difficult.