Civil Unions

March 29, 2000

A bill to create "civil unions" giving gay and lesbian couples nearly all the benefits of marriage has been making its way through the Vermont legislature. If passed by the Vermont Senate and signed by the governor, this bill would set in motion the most sweeping set of rights for same-sex couples in the country.

Though the bill makes a distinction between same-sex unions and marriage, the benefits are virtually the same in providing state recognition for same-sex couples. Partners in civil unions are entitled to joint title of property. Law and probate procedures would apply to civil union partners. Partners could make medical decisions and have hospital visitation. Participants would have standing to sue for wrongful death of a partner, emotional distress cause by death or injury, and loss of consortium. Same-sex couples, already allowed to adopt, would now be treated as spouses under state adoption law.

The Vermont legislature is making "civil unions" virtually the same as marriage, at least in the eyes of the law. That, of course, leaves mute the question of whether these civil unions would be equal to marriage in the eyes of God.

But even if Vermont legislators donít care what God and the Bible says about all of this, they should at least consider the social and economic implications of what they are about to do. Talk to someone who works in human resources at a company that provides domestic partnership benefits, and they will tell you about complex and exhausting horror stories. Ask them about the added insurance costs when you place a high risk group (such as homosexuals) in the same pool with a low-risk group (such as married couples). Before Vermont tries this social experiment in the public sector, they may want to look at its dismal record in the private sector.

Iím Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and thatís my opinion.