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In the news coverage of New York’s legal recognition of same-sex marriage, I noticed in listing other states that have passed similar laws that most news reporters failed to mention Illinois. And then the difference between “civil unions” and “marriage” really sunk in. New York passed same-sex marriage; Illinois passed same-sex civil unions. It is not the same. Even if there were no substantive differences in the way the law treated marriages and civil unions, the fact that a civil union remains a separate status only for same-sex couples represents real and powerful inequality.
As the Chicago Tribune reported yesterday in coverage of Chicago’s Pride Parade: “Asked if they were pleased with civil unions, they answered simultaneously, “Yeah, but it’s not marriage.” Don’t get me wrong. I celebrated when same-sex couples gathered in Chicago’s Millennium Park to enter into civil union. And I totally understand that the use of civil union language is a strategic political compromise – but the effect is more than simple semantics.
When confronting opposition from the religious community, shouldn’t we talk about the difference between “holy matrimony” and “civil marriage” rather than always yielding to fears over use of the word marriage? Thinking about this issue led me to rediscover (Lieutenant Governor of California) Gavin Newsom’s interview on the topic:
My friend Tracy Baim, Executive editor of Windy City Media Group, shared her thoughts on the topic in this Huffington Post article: “If you truly believe we as gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered citizens are equal in all ways, there should be nothing in the way of your support for full equality. If you ask us to compromise, to settle for unequal civil unions; you are saying, in no uncertain terms, that we are not the same.” What do you think?
This morning Thom Forbes wrote an interesting blog for MediaPost in which he takes a look at J.K. Rowling’s next adventure with the wizarding world of Harry Potter.
As you can see from the video, the author of the now-famous series has launched Pottermore.com – “a free-to-use Web site taking readers right into Hogwarts, as a way of thanking her fans and paying them back for their contributions to the book.” Take a look at Thom’s blog post to get his thoughts on the implications of this bold, digital move.