The Era of Civil Unions Is Coming To An End

Jim Burroway

May 17th, 2013

Click to enlarge.

Remember when Civil Unions were the viable alternative to marriage equality? Robert Jones and Daniel Cox of the Public Religion Research Institute explain that those days are quickly drawing to a close:

The changing political composition of civil union supporters shows that the center of gravity of this debate has shifted significantly. The civil union option has moved from being a middle way dominated by political moderates a decade ago to one that is, today, most attractive to political conservatives. And looking ahead, there is evidence that the civil union option may have a limited future, at least if younger Americans are any indication. When given a three-way choice, civil unions are the least popular option among Millennials (Americans born after 1980). Only slightly more than 1-in-10 (13%) Millennials prefer civil unions, while 67% say they support allowing gay and lesbian people to marry, and 15% oppose any legal recognition of a gay couple’s relationship.


May 17th, 2013

I’d think Coloradans would rather have them than not, especially if it helps to smooth the path to repealing the Amendment. So I think they still have a future while the Amendments are active, but don’t ban civil unions.

Of course SCOTUS could repeal DOMA and that could make them really unequal, but that’s to be discussed than.


May 17th, 2013

Given that for all practical purposes, civil unions is just the name people give civil marriage. I think it makes sense that millennials would drop the pretense.


May 17th, 2013

It’s also worth speculating how many of the conservatives who say they support civil unions actually favor no legal recognition at all, but just don’t want to appear to be bigots.

It seems that the only time conservative politicians or political groups actually propose civil unions comes in instances like New Jersey or NH in 2011 or recently in MN, where civil unions are the only alternative to full marriage. I’m not aware of any state where gays and lesbians currently lack legal recognition and conservatives in that state have called for civil unions.

And there’s also the example of NC in 2012, when a good chunk of conservative voters who claimed to support civil unions nonetheless voted for the constitutional amendment that banned civil unions (and marriage).

Rob San Diego

May 17th, 2013

I always thought it was funny that all them conservative states who argued that civil unions is what we should have so we wouldn’t have the word “marriage” never enacted such civil unions to keep us happy. Let’s face it, it they would just give us EVERY single right and responsibility that marriage has, then I would be happy.

Ben in Oakland

May 18th, 2013

As I’ve always said, civil unions are a recognition that we have a moral, civil, legal, cultural, familial, faith based and child based claim on the hetero sexual majority.

As well as a clean unequivocal claim that there is no way in hell that certain members of that majority would ever consider any gay couple, no matter how noble and how long-lived their relationship, the civil, legal, moral, and cultural equals of any man and woman who met five minutes ago and are drunk enough to think that getting married is a good idea


May 21st, 2013

To: Markanthony,

Civil unions is not just the name given to civil marriage. Civil union confer almost no legal benefits or protections. Give us something called civil unions and maybe we won’t keep going after equal marriage.

Timothy Kincaid

May 21st, 2013


Civil Unions confer all of the legal benefits and protections that a state can offer. As for Federal benefits, there are none.

But even if there were full federal benefits, I would still pursue equality. I consider myself a full citizen of this country and would object to being made to stand in the “second class citizen with all the same rights” line.

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