A great deal of debate has been going on recently about the difference between civil unions, marriage, and the idea of "separate but equal". It's a touchy issue with some saying unions between consenting adults of the same sex should never be called marriage, people of the same sex who will only accept the word "marriage", and fence-sitters like me who would cheerfully let the various religions keep the word and let all of us more or less secular folks share the title with our BGLT counterparts.
US Governor Bush, when he proposed the amendment denying BGLTs the use of the word "marriage", did make some small noise about allowing states to do some sort of civil union setup which would give BGLT at least some of the more important rights which have been assigned married folks of opposite sex; things like power of attorney and so on. As early as today there was a post in a group I read about BGLT folk shouldn't get "special" rights to do with marriage. I'm not quite sure if the poster meant that they shouldn't get equal rights, or that they should and the rights shouldn't be considered special. Either way, those who have replied, last I checked, have all latched on to the sentiment but changed the emphasis; we/they don't want special rights, we/they want equal rights.
I was completely blindsided today, something which rarely happens due to my overly cynical nature. In all of the back-and-forth about marriage versus whatever other word(s) might be used, it seemed as if the other side was at least willing to allow at the very least "separate but equal" rights, albeit begrudgingly. Yesterday my first thought might have been "It wasn't equal back then, either".
Now, though, a state has taken this one step further. Not only are civil unions prohibited, according to this bill ratified by both houses, but the state reserves the right to nullify any contracts which purport to provide the benefits of marriage. Please note that this is commentary on a press release by a partisan group, and is angled as such. Once this hits the more commonly cited news sources I will re-link. The commentary also notes another thing which is troubling: apparently Virginia can decide which employees' families private corporations can insure.
Suddenly the distinction between marriage and civil union doesn't mean so much any more. And now it is even more important to keep Bush's mis-named Marriage Amendment from passing.
[Edit: Added some four hours after the initial post; thanks to torquemada for the link.]
And now, in a move which I imagine will have turnberryknkn more furious than even the Florida legislature banning recounts, the Michigan House has passed a bill allowing doctors to deny service to BGLTs. Hopefully, as a Logrus friend who doesn't have a journal pointed out, this is almost certain to be overturned once someone realizes that certain religions (Aryans, for one) would be able to deny those of non-Western-European descent. Or the first time someone on religious grounds refuses to treat a Catholic or something.