Communications and Society blog: By and for students in Marist COM 201

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Gay Civil Unions Now Facebook Official

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Last week, Mark Zuckerberg and the Facebook team made an amendment to their relationship status.  In addition to the typical relationship status options – single, in a relationship, in an open relationship, married, etc.- there is now an option for gay couples in a legally binding commitment, ‘civil union‘.

On the surface this seems like a great stride for gay rights.  Facebook is a very influential medium in our culture.  I believe that if Facebook stands behind gay rights, it won’t be long before we see that reflected in our government and laws.  But I have to admit, that I am unsure as to why we must label gay life-long partners as being in a civil union rather than being married like a straight couple?

For the most part, civil union couples receive the same financial benefits as married couples.  Both couples live together, share bills, raise children, and support each other.  There is no real difference between these two couples other than their sexual orientation.  Still, many people struggle with the semantics.  I believe we are not furthering the gay rights cause by allowing them to have civil union in place of a marriage.  Civil unions in place of marriages is much like the institution of “Separate, but equal” rights for African Americans in the early to mid nineteen hundreds in the United States.  Supposedly African Americans had the same opportunities and rights of Whites but that was not the case.  It was a step in the right direction, however, it was not until all segregation laws were abolished that African Americans were truly equal.

If gay couples wish to make real strides in terms of equality, I believe they should continue to fight for the right to be legally married.  That being said, I am not entirely convinced that giving users the option to be in a civil union is as big of a stride for gay rights that it appears to be.  I think that gay couples should insist on the label of being married.

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Written by stephsheff

February 23, 2011 at 3:15 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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