Civil Unions?

It is a proven fact that civil unions lead to same sex marriage. The creation of civil partnerships/unions is part of a clearly documented strategy by those seeking marriage redefinition to achieve their aim. In almost every country that has now redefined marriage, this was preceded by the creation of civil unions. Therefore, because we are FOR preserving marriage in Bermuda we must be against civil unions by default because civil unions lead to same sex marriage.


DATE      18 October 2014

Executive Summary: The creation of civil partnerships/unions is part of a clearly documented strategy by those seeking marriage redefinition to achieve their aim. In almost every country that has now redefined marriage, this was preceded by the creation of civil unions. Even legislating for a future possibility is part of the strategy in an attempt to influence public opinion by affording the future unions legitimacy at a time when public opinion wouldn’t yet support instant creation.

Have “civil unions” contributed to the redefinition of marriage?

The strategy

  1. The creation of civil partnerships or unions has almost inevitably been the forerunner to marriage redefinition. It is no coincidence that so many states have followed this path. Kees Waaldijk, William N Eskridge and Yuval Merin have all noted this theory of the “law of small change” or “incrementalism.” They suggest that every country will, on its path to the legalization of same-sex marriage, follow the following three stages:
    1. Repeal of sodomy laws
    2. Enactment of anti-discrimination laws protection LGBT people
    3. Enactment of civil unions expedites legalization of same-sex marriage.
  2. Within the European context, the first two steps are now almost moot given that all Council of Europe countries have repealed sodomy statutes as result of European Court of Human Rights jurisprudence and any country seeking accession to the European Union was and is required to pass anti-discrimination legislation protecting LGBT people.
  3. Commentators reason that this third step is desirable because it can show the public that their fears about same-sex partnerships and the potential negative effects are unfounded. The theory behind this is that “the acceptance of same-sex marriage will be perceived as but a small step once all preceding steps have been achieved.” (Available at <http://scholarship.law.duke.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1185&context=djglp>.)
  4. On this theory, Waaldijk notes that: “[the] Netherlands is following the same trends as most other European countries. In that light, the opening up of marriage to same-sex couples is only natural.” (Available at <https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/handle/1887/3609> at p. 49.)
    Eskridge offers a more nuanced approach in which he acknowledges that these moves will only occur if public opinion also shifts. However, trite as it may sound, it is significant in this case to repeat his observation that “public attitudes can be influenced by changes in the law.”(William N. Eskridge, Jr., Equality Practice: Civil Unions And The Future Of Gay Rights (2002), p. 115.) Or, as another legal academic puts it,
    “as legislation gives more visibility to LGB individuals, society becomes more accepting of them. The more society accepts LGB individuals, the easier it is to advance pro-gay changes in law and to legalize same-sex marriage.”(Above, note 4 at p. 115.)

    The strategy in action: Examples
  5. This incrementalist approach is well evidenced by the UK’s leading homosexual agenda group Stonewall. From 2006-2010, Stonewall claimed there was little support for marriage within the LGBT community, that many practicing homosexual behaviour opposed it and that civil partnerships were sufficient.(Available at <http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/peter-g-tatchell/stonewall-equal-marriage_b_4979549.html>, though note from this article that this strategy is not universally accepted with others criticizing Stonewell for “damaging the push for marriage equality.”) Stonewall’s official policy changed in late October 2010 to support same sex marriage with a survey of its members.
  6. In September 2011, the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition announced its plan to consult the public on extending civil marriage to same-sex couples and on 17 July 2013, the bill redefining marriage received royal assent.
  7. Turning closer to Europe, we see the “Marriage Equality” group of Ireland write that:
    “[a]lthough civil partnership in Ireland marked an important step in relationship recognition for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, there is still some work to be done to reach our ultimate goal of equality for same sex couples, our families and our children. We’ve identified over 160 statutory differences between civil partnership and civil marriage.”(Available at <http://www.marriagequality.ie/getinformed/marriage/faqs.html>. Emphasis added.)
  8. Similarly, in the final slide of a 2014 presentation by the Global Equality Network of Ireland, they conclude that the upcoming 2015 referendum on civil marriage is “there to be won…building on the success of civil partnerships.” As of May 2015, that final step was taken with the redefinition of marriage as a result of a national referendum. (Available at <http://goo.gl/MqV0E1>.)
  9. Turning outside of Europe for a moment, we find similar material in Australia with campaign literature from the “Australian Marriage Equality” group arguing that:
    “more and more countries are moving on from what has been labelled the ‘failed experiment of civil unions by enacting equality in marriage.” (Available at <http://www.australianmarriageequality.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/12/A-failed-experiment.pdf>)

    The strategy: the world
  10. An overview of the status of civil unions and same sex marriage around the world is instructive:

    Country
    Legislated for same sex unions Redefined marriage Number of years in between
    Argentina
    2002-2009 progressively region by region. 21 July 2010 8
    Belgium
    2000 - Legal cohabitation 30 January 2003 3
    Brazil
    2004 (though some individual judicial decisions precede this) 16 May 2013 9
    Canada
    2001-2003 progressively region by region 20 July 2005 4
    Denmark
    1/10/89 - First of its kind in the world 15 June 2012 23
    England & Wales
    2005 17 July 2013 8
    France
    November 1999 - PACS 18 May 2013 14
    Iceland
    1996 17 May 2010 14
    Ireland
    1/1/2011 22 May 2015 4
    Luxembourg
    01/11/2004 18 June 2014 10
    Netherlands
    1998 - Registered partnership 1 April 2001 3
    New Zealand
    25/04/2005 17 April 2013 8
    Norway
    1993 11 May 2008 15
    Portugal
    11/5/2001 - "De facto unions" 17 May 2009 8
    Scotland
    2005 4 February 2014 9
    South Africa
    30-Nov-06 30 November 2006 0
    Spain
    1998-2005 progressively region by region 3 July 2005 5
    Sweden
    1995 (third country, after Denmark and Norway) 1 May 2009 14
    Uruguay
    01/01/2008 3 May 2013 5
        Average
    8.6


  11. Indeed, of all the countries which have legalized same sex marriage, in all but one case (South Africa), this was preceded by the creation of some form of “registered partnership”. The average number of years between the creation of a civil union and the redefinition of marriage was 8.6 years. Of course, the fact that each country which has redefined marriage previously introduced civil partnerships does not prove that the latter causes the former but in light of the clearly documented strategy discussed above, the link is clear.
  12. Furthermore, given this strategy, it is unsurprising that in may of these countries, civil unions were introduced as an "answer" to alleged discrimination with public and/or the government believing that this would be the end of the matter.
  13. In most cases, the end goal seems always to have been marriage redefinition but that would be too sacred a ground to start upon. However, once a civil union is endorsed, the next step is to identify, in law, differences between a marriage and a civil union and effect media campaigns and direct litigation complaining of subsisting discrimination. Even if all other differences were eliminated, from the tax and social security code to provisions for adoption, the argument remains that a civil union affords less "dignity" and "respect" to a same-sex union which can only be remedied by "full marriage equality."
18 October 2014
Updated 26 May 2015

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