Marriage, Civil Union & Domestic Partnership

by Sam Clemmons

As a New Jersey resident raised in the Roman Catholic Church, I would like to know what is a civil union and what is a domestic partnership?

Marriage, as I understand it, is a religious sacrament for which you need a license from the government. That seems out of sync with the spirit (and letter) of the First Amendment.


Marriage is the only one of seven sacraments of the Catholic Church for which one requires a license from the government.

I needed no license for Baptism, Penance, Eucharist, or Confirmation… and I suppose I would not need one to get holy orders, but the death tax would apply whether or not I get last rites as long as I leave behind an estate worth more than $3 million.

I needed a license for driving and marriage, but there was a written exam and road test for only the first one.

As it turns out, the other crashed and burned… costing me a fortune and throwing my kids into some kind of psychic hell.  I never even saw a marriage manual when we shelled over the ten bucks to City Hall.

I understand why some people do not want to allow gay marriage… After all, that may assume if homosexuals marry one another, there’s a good chance their children would turn out to be homosexuals. It’s ironic that coming to that conclusion would require both a belief in genetics and a degree of ignorance in more basic biology.

Many of the most virulently anti-marriage equality people equate Darwin with the devil, so I would have suspected more doubt about heredity.  Then again, they could attribute homosexuality to environmental conditions.
When I was growing up, a couple of men owned a house and lived together about halfway down my block. One was a hairdresser; the other had a ceramic shop, and the neighborhood ladies seemed to like them.  It’s amazing that all the kids did not go gay.

I read that 8,000 New Jersey residents have civil unions and 10,000 are in domestic partnerships, although maybe the number of people involved is 16,000 and 20,000, respectively, or perhaps 4,000 civil unions and 5,000 domestic partnerships have been licensed.

I wonder if any of these relationships are outlasting marriage.

I have been led to believe that half of all marriages end in divorce. The rest end in death.  Considering that these statistics add up to a 100 percent rate of either failure or mortality, perhaps they should outlaw marriage.

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