Civil unions took another hit today. Two months after a New Jersey commission found them flawed, a similar group in Vermont released a report that “stopped short” of endorsing marriage. The move’s particularly important because Vermont started the civil union craze back in 2000, when it became the first state in the nation to pass the pseudo-nuptial laws.
The report, released yesterday, makes it pretty clear that Vermont needs some matrimonial reforms:
“It is the role of Vermont’s policy-makers and elected officials to read and reflect on this report and in their best judgment determine what steps to take in their role as public servants of the people of Vermont,” it said.
But in its findings the commission said “such a change in the law would give access (to same-sex couples) to less tangible incidents of marriage, including its terminology (e.g. marriage, wedding, married, celebration, divorce), and its social cultural and historical significance.”
It added that full same-sex marriage “would likely enhance the portability of the underlying legal consequences of the status. … The tangible same-sex marriage benefits … raise serious questions about the operation of the civil union law and warrant additional research and serious attention.”
The commission drew its conclusions after holding eight public hearings across the state. Despite this study, a number of social conservatives are gearing up to launch a state referendum on the matter. Because redundancy is God’s work, right?