Email L. Henry Platt, Jr.
Where marriage is not permitted, the individual states should provide for the establishment of Civil unions. Civil Unions would be defined to permit two adult persons (otherwise prohibited from marrying each other) to form a family unit enjoying many of the legal, social, and insurance benefits otherwise reserved for married couples. However, if either party of the Civil Union were or became married, the Civil Union would be null and void.
As Connecticut and other states follow the lead of Vermont with legislation allowing Civil Unions, I recommend that each state include in proposed legislation a sentence, section or paragraph providing that any Civil Union recognized by any other of the United States will be recognized by the state governed by such legislation. I further suggest that as other states enact legislation allowing Civil Unions Vermont should also amend its laws to include this provision.
In places in the world where less than married families have been permitted to exist there are stories of abuses of social programs. In France immigrants from former West African Colonies bring several or more wives (concubines) to France to take advantage of liberal incentives to be fruitful and multiply. In Australia one man was reported to accumulate (with government financial assistance) to expand his family to include over 700 of his concubines and children. Civil Unions should not be allowed to become back doors to polygamy.
Civil Unions are not just for same sex relationships. In a true case a widowed father lived with his adult unmarried daughter and her son. The son suffered from expensive medical problems, but the man could not put his grandson on his employer-sponsored medical insurance because his grandson was not his son. Where Civil Unions might be permitted, he would have had the option of forming a Civil Union with his daughter, and her son would qualify for insurance as progeny of their union. Civil Unions do not need to be considered as sexual contracts -- nor should they be, but I endorse legislation permitting them.
The Constitution of the United States of America (1787 & 1972) allows each of the several States to create and establish marriage laws for their people. (I read this to include laws governing civil Unions.)
© L. Henry Platt, Jr.