New York’s Governor Paterson has announced that the state will recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states. This will entitle “domestic partners” to 1,324 benefits previously available only to heterosexual couples. Minimally, this settles the debate over whether or not there are legal advantages to being married. There are well north of a thousand of them. And while groups may debate the morality of same-sex unions, there is no justification for openly discriminating against the legal entitlements of homosexuals.
Just thinking out loud here, but maybe the solution is to separate the word “marriage” from the idea of a legally binding partnership. Let the government define “partnership” as any binding agreement between two consenting adults, and have that used for any legal or financial dealings. Then leave the term “marriage” as the purview of religious or other social groups to define and regulate within their communities.
Either way, this is a welcome and refreshingly bold step for the new governor. And for those who think that Governor Paterson is destroying the sanctity of the institution of marriage, perhaps they should get Silda Spitzer’s opinion on how sanctimonious marriage is already.