plastic bouquets

Why Are Straight European Couples Getting Married the Gay Way?

For every three straight couples that get married in France, there are two that enter civil unions originally created for the gays. Why? Because civil unions are marriage-lite: they provide all the tax benefits and fewer headaches if you need a divorce. Which just shows again that as soon as gays create something for themselves (like anal sex and tassel boots) the straights want in on the action.

For the handful of European countries that offer them, pactes civil de solidarite (PaCS) are seen as “a low-risk stepping stone to marriage.” One straight French couple just wanted to pay less in taxes, so they took 15 minutes to get PaCSed and voila!: lower taxes. Though the bride-lite says the paperwork “doesn’t replace marriage. I’d still like to get married one day.”

Oh yeah, lady? So would all the gays in Europe fighting for actual marriage rights.

On one hand, it kinda pisses me off that straights are taking the only option that European gays have in lieu of marriage and treating it like a lower-case m. PaCS are weaker, easier marriages—almost marriages—and their popularity shows straight couples don’t even take seriously the only legal arrangement available to gays.

On the other hand, PaCS popularity also proves straight marriage is a drag, especially since it focuses so much on the woman taking the male surname, combining financial assets, and levying penalties for divorce. If public declarations of love exist merely as a way to financially punish couples that lose their love, why would anyone want them (no matter what they’re called)?

Of course the fogies have started bitching about how young folks see everything as disposable and temporary these days. We might as well start making wedding rings out of biodegradable plastic and putting officiates in convenience stores—but that misses the point. Lovers with kids and shared financial stakes shouldn’t have to get married just to sort out financial and parental legalities; if you and your lover already share those responsibilities, you deserve the tax benefits without the screaming, throwing, and bitter court battles that normally accompany traditional divorce proceedings.

It makes European civil unions seem a heck of a lot more civil than marriage indeed.