The big argument for "civil unions" – but not marriage! – is that gays are denied ordinary civil rights here in the American Taliban. This is where gays usually bring up the argument about all the straight couples living in "sham" marriages, but I see no point in dragging the Clintons into this.
The classic formulation was given by John Kerry in the Democratic debate earlier this week: "What we're talking about is somebody's right to be able to visit a loved one in a hospital, somebody's right to be able to pass on property, somebody's right to live equally under the state laws as other people in the country." You would think there were "Straights Only" water fountains, the way Democrats carry on so (as if any gay man would drink non-bottled water).
Apparently, health care in this country is better than we've been led to believe if so few Americans have ever been to a hospital that they think there's a guest list. In case you don't know: Gays already can visit loved ones in hospitals. They can also visit neighbors, random acquaintances and total strangers in hospitals – just like everyone else.
Gays can also pass on property to whomever they would like, including their cats. Every few years you read about some daft rich widow leaving her entire estate to a cat. It's perfectly legal. You just need to write a will. Liberals have figured out how to get abortions for 13-year-old girls without their parents' permission. But we're supposed to believe that they just can't get their heads around how a gay guy could leave property to his partner.
As for "living equally under the state laws as other people in the country," unless Kerry is referring to the precise thing he claims to oppose – gay marriage – gays do live equally under the state laws as other people in the country. There are no special speed-limit laws or trespassing laws or murder laws for gays. There is, however, some evidence of gay profiling with regard to the enforcement of fashion "don'ts."
What gays can't do is get married – something all Democrats swear up and down to oppose. Instead, the Democrats demand "civil unions" and then throw out a series of red herrings to explain why. In fact, the only difference between what the Democrats claim to support (civil unions) and what they claim to oppose (gay marriage) is the word "marriage." As John Kerry explained: "I think the term 'marriage' gets in the way of what is really being talked about here."
Republicans ought to try that: We don't support "guns" – the term "gun" gets in the way of what is really being talked about here – we want choice in personal security devices. We don't want a "ban" on partial-birth abortions; we just don't want there to be any of them. We don't support "tax cuts"; we support a "union" between people and about 60 to 70 percent of their money. We don't support "war" with Iraq; we are talking about somebody's right to be able to visit a loved one in a hospital. (Huh?)
Except the difference is: All those positions are popular with voters, so Republicans don't have to lie. The Democrats' purported opposition to gay marriage is like all their other phony policy statements that are the opposite of what they really believe.
When they're running for office, all Democrats claim to support tax cuts (for the middle class), to support gun rights (for hunters) and to "personally oppose" abortion. And then they get into office and vote to raise taxes, ban guns and allow abortions if a girl can't fit into her prom dress.
The common wisdom holds that "both parties" have to appeal to the extremes during the primary and then move to the center for the general election. To the contrary, both parties run for office as conservatives. Once they have fooled the voters and are safely in office, Republicans sometimes double-cross the voters. Democrats always do.