Altered states

Some conservative strategists accept the idea of gay civil unions
While churches continue to debate their understanding of homosexuality, the political debate on gay partnerships has moved dramatically toward legal acceptance. Consider the movement of the past four years. In 2000, when Vermont enacted a “civil unions” law giving homosexual couples the rights and benefits of marriage, the move seemed at the extreme edge of political feasibility. In the eyes of local and national critics, Vermont’s civil unions were marriage in everything but name and therefore constituted (to quote the Family Research Council at the time) “a direct assault” on marriage.

Then, last year, the Massachusetts Supreme Court declared that granting same-sex couples anything less than full marriage rights is discriminatory. And this year, emboldened by the Massachusetts court, San Francisco and other municipalities decided to issue marriage licenses to gays and let the courts and legislators sort out the legalities later.


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