See, that just sounds like we're going through the motions of the whole "Separate but Equal" shenanigans all over again. A thing which I had thought we'd already sorted out.
That's a strawman though. Civil Unions/Domestic Partnerships are not intended to be "separate but equal". They're intended to be two separate legal statuses for two different types of couples, and *should* be unequal.
That's the point... Do you get that the whole "separate but equal" thing stemmed from the segregated schools in the south, because that was what was claimed and later found out to be completely untrue?
Yes. But that's because they were supposed to be equal in the first place. It was the entire concept behind segregated public services. No one (outside of pro-gay marriage advocates and the occasional idiot conservative who thinks he's compromising by using the same wrong language) is arguing that domestic partnerships are or were intended to be "equal" to marriage in every way. Those statuses were specifically created to be a legally recognized status for couples who could not procreate, but wanted to have a state defined set of contracts and benefits to apply to them. The base assumption that the make up of the couples and therefore the benefits the applicable status would be different has been there from the beginning. Why bother creating a different status in the first place if it wasn't intended to be... different?
The "colored" schools had significantly lower quality books, buildings, and resources in general than the white schools did. That was the primary reason people pushed to desegregate schools, because black students were at an extreme disadvantage and a lot of people thought that was wrong.
Yes. Again though, that's because the argument for creating segregation in the first place was that the result would be equal. As long as they were equal, segregation was ruled to be constitutional. I'm not aware of any constitutional argument that's been made regarding restricting gay couples from qualifying for the marriage status that is based on the idea that civil unions are legally equal. The argument has been quite different from the strawman that most people hear about.
The most direct case (so far, obviously there are new ones winding their way through) is Baker v. Nelson
. Key arguments in this case directly address most of the commonly flung around assumptions, which is why it's always surprising to me that those flinging them appear to be completely unaware that those questions have already been answered on a legal level, choosing instead to pretend that the only answer is "we hate gays, so nyah!".
 2. Petitioners contend, second, that Minn.St. c. 517, so interpreted, is unconstitutional. There is a dual aspect to this contention: The prohibition of a same-sex marriage denies petitioners a fundamental right guaranteed by the Ninth Amendment to the United States Constitution, arguably made applicable to the states by the Fourteenth Amendment, and petitioners are deprived of liberty and property without due process and are denied the equal protection of the laws, both guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment./2/
These constitutional challenges have in common the assertion that the right to marry without regard to the sex of the parties is a fundamental right of all persons and that restricting marriage to only couples of the opposite sex is irrational and invidiously discriminatory. We are not independently persuaded by these contentions and do not find support for them in any decisions of the United States Supreme Court
The iinstitution of marriage as a union man and woman, uniquely involving the procreation and rearing of children within a family, is as old as the book of Genesis. Skinner V. Oklahoma ex rel. Williamson, 316 U.S. 535, 541, 62 S.Ct. 1110, 1113, 86 L.Ed. 1655, 1660 (1942), which invalidated Oklahoma's Habitual Criminal Sterilization Act on equal protection grounds, stated in part: "Marriage and procreation are fundamental to the very existence and survival of the race." This historic institution manifestly is more deeply founded than the asserted contemporary concept of marriage and societal interests for which petitioners contend. The due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is not a charter for restructuring it by judicial legislation.
It's amusing how often Skinner is quoted from and the word's "and procreation" are just lifted out of the quote.
Oh. And here's the answer to all those who say "But what about heterosexual couples who can't or wont procreate"? Again, they ask the question as though it has not already been answered. But it has:
The equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, like the due process clause, is not offended by the state's classification of persons authorized to marry. There is no irrational or invidious discrimination. Petitioners note that the state does not impose upon heterosexual married couples a condition that they have a proved capacity or declared willingness to procreate, posing a rhetorical demand that this court must read such condition into the statute if same-sex marriages are to be prohibited. Even assuming that such a condition would be neither unrealistic nor offensive under the Griswold rationale, the classification is no more than theoretically imperfect. We are reminded, however, that "abstract symmetry" is not demanded by the Fourteenth Amendment.
And here's the answer to the whole "It's just like racial discrimination" argument:
Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 87 S.Ct. 1817, 18 L.Ed.2d 1010 (1967), upon which petitioners additionally rely, does not militate against this conclusion. Virginia's antimiscegenation statute, prohibiting interracial marriages, was invalidated solely on the grounds of its patent racial discrimination. As Mr. Chief Justice Warren wrote for the court (388 U.S. 12, 87 S.Ct. 1824, 18 L.Ed.2d 1018):
"Marriage is one of the 'basic civil rights of man,' fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541, 62 S.Ct. 1110, 86 L.Ed. 1655 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190, 8 S.Ct. 723, 31 L. Ed. 654 (1888). To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations./5/"
Loving does indicate that not all state restrictions upon the right to marry are beyond reach of the Fourteenth Amendment. But in commonsense and in a constitutional sense, there is a clear distinction between a marital restriction based merely upon race and one based upon the fundamental difference in sex.
Again, it's interesting how often these arguments are parroted by gay marriage advocates as though there aren't already answers to the questions. And no matter how many times this is pointed out to them, they will "forget" the answer and repeat the question the next time the issue comes up. It's funny and frustrating all at the same time.
Those of us who support gay marriage do so because we don't agree that civil unions are enough, specifically because they DON'T offer the same protections and rights that marriage does.
I'm sure you believe this, mostly because you've been told this over and over and therefore believe it to be true. But just for fun, could you list exactly which protections and rights you believe gay people are being denied by not being able to marry? It's easy to say what you said, but much harder to back it up.
Civil unions are better than nothing, but they're just today's version of the "separate but equal" garbage that existed during the civil rights movement.
No. They're completely different. In all honesty, they probably shouldn't have been created either, since all they've really accomplished is to create the very argument you're making right now. But that's like a whole topic by itself. Edited, May 10th 2012 4:26pm by gbaji