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Civil-ized unions

Posted by Bob on October 08, 2005

In Reply to: Chick flick, civil union, brain freeze posted by ESC on October 03, 2005

: Dictionary Adds Terms Like Chick Flick By ADAM GORLICK, Associated Press Writer
: Mon Oct 3, 6:59 AM ET
: SPRINGFIELD, Mass. - Go ahead, treat yourself. Check out the latest chick flick, get a bikini wax or enjoy an ice cream that might give you a brain freeze.

: And if you're not sure what you're getting yourself into, it might be wise to consult the latest edition of Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary which formally defines those terms that have taken root in American conversation...

: ...Merriam-Webster is also recognizing civil unions, which have been talked about enough in social and political circles to earn a place in the Collegiate's latest edition.

: The dictionary dates the term's genesis to 1992. But a Vermont lawmaker insists it wasn't really coined until 2000, when his state became the country's first to establish the legal rights of same-sex couples.

: "We needed to decide a name for this, and we just didn't have one," said Bill Lippert, a Democrat who now chairs the Legislature's House Judiciary Committee. "Somewhere, someone said `civil union,' and we all said `oh, that sounds good.' It was a name that did what we wanted it to do. It was new, it designated that the fact that this was a civil act, and it suggested the bringing together of a union."...

Marriage, at least in Western countries, has had a dual tradition: there's religious marriage, and "legal" marriage. A civil union. Many if not most people observe both, but they are separable. They get a license from the state to be official, but have a person from the clergy officiate at a ceremony. The idea of same-sex marriage has spread quickly in countries where there is clear separation of church and state. (Religious people feel most threatened by this, since they don't always separate the two kinds of marriage.) You could make the case that you can measure the civil-ization of a country by how readily they accept this evolution of civil unions. Canada adopted it without much debate, the US is divided 50-50, and Saudi Arabia is stuck in the 8th century.