Here's a few links to get you up to speed:
- Your Family, Friends and Neighbors has a nice starter summary.
- GLAD details the major differences in this pdf.
- And Scott Bidstrup presents a good essay debunking the opposition.
My trouble with civil unions, aside from the significant legal differences, is their inherent "separate but equal" nature. The legitimacy of this concept was challenged in the 50s and 60s, and finally laid to rest (or so I thought) with the Brown vs. Board of Eduction ruling in 1954.
Now, however, in an a presumably honorable attempt to satisfy both advocates and opponents of gay marriage, "separate but equal" is being offered up again. I don't doubt the sincerity of the would-be peacemakers in this debate, but I do have to question their familiarity with history.
Yes, I realize that for some, "a little" might be better than "none" given the current political climate, and that taking an absolutist position against other absolutists is apt to be an exercise in futility.
Nevertheless, compromise on issues like this do little more than sanction the attempts of fundamentalists to relegate the GLBT community to second-class citizenry. And this, in the end, is simply intolerable in a nation that supposedly reveres equality and diversity.
Editor's note: By the way -- I'm just getting started on this topic. I'll try and label posts plainly so you know what to expect, and can pass them up if this isn't one of your personal pet peeves. But don't think for a minute that this is all I have to say on the subject.