Gay Marriage Substitute Soon to be Officially Available in New York, But Still Not Actually Gay Marriage

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No, it's not gay marriage, but New York City will soon be offering ''civil ceremonies" at City Hall to gay couples who want them and become "domestic partners" with a ceremony. One problem, however:

The difference is sadly not just in a word. To be clear, this is just a ceremony. It still isn't gay marriage. In fact, it has less of an impact on the gay community then it does the straight community. Via the New York Daily News:

Registering as a same-sex domestic partner is not the same as gay marriage - which the state Senate nixed last year - but it does convey some legal benefits, especially if one partner is a city employee. Registered partners of municipal workers are generally entitled, for instance, to the same city health and other benefits as given to married spouses. Domestic partners also qualify for tenancy rights at city developments.

Most of the city's registered domestic partnerships are not gay. Of the 5,534 partners who registered last year, 70% were straight....Unlike married spouses, domestic partners don't usually receive inheritances. They also don't have marital-type confidentiality privileges. At least now, they can have a party.

For some reason - despite the money it could bring to this city, despite having a spiraling deficit, despite having to make transit cuts and education cuts and welfare cuts because of how little money New York has - the extra step of putting that word into place just hasn't clicked with New Yorkers - or really, the State Senate - yet. If smart people actually went into politics (which they don't, because the pay sucks) some well-to-do businessperson would've already juiced this idea for all the cash that it's worth, increasing the fees associated with marriages, opening it up for America's gay community, and turning New York City into one of the most prominent gay marriage destinations in the country. Instead, they get a party that doesn't mean shit, and doesn't really help anybody else out, either. And here I'd write something about getting shafted, but no doubt some closeted homophobic state senator likely already made a demeaning joke like it as he continued to screw New Yorkers of all sexual orientations by not making this happen.

[fkamer@villagevoice.com]


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