States at odds over gay marriage recognition:
When Massachusetts passed their law providing for legal, same-sex marriages, they also made provisions to NOT grant marriage licenses to out-of-state couples who live in states that have laws or constitutional amendments that ban same-sex marriage.
A gay couple residing in a state with a DOMA (defense of marriage act) could go to Massachusetts to get "married" and be denied.
This "helps" prevent a state with a DOMA from being forced to recognize a gay union from another state.
California has no such residency requirement.
A gay couple can come to California to get a state issued marriage certificate and then go home (wherever home is). Hetero couples do it all the time. I was at a wedding last week in the Las Vegas area (Valley of Fire - wonderful location) - the couple resides in California.
California may be the "Nevada" of gay marriage.
Scenario...a lesbian couple drive from Wisconsin to California to "get married". Driving home, in Kansas, they are in a car accident. Does the hospital in Kansas (a state that prohibits gay marriage) have to recognize the "rights" of the spouse that have a legal marriage in California?
Scenario: Does a divorce court in Michigan (that grants divorces to couples married in other states) have to grant a divorce to a gay couple married in Massachusetts or California - thus lending legitimacy to that union (how can one dissolve something that one does not accept as existing in the first place?)
Attorneys general from Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Michigan, Nebraska, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah were so worried about potential legal complications they asked California to postpone marrying gay couples until after the November elections when voters will have a chance to overturn the court's ruling.
Sticky questions indeed.
"Scenario…a lesbian couple drive from Wisconsin to California to “get married”. Driving home, in Kansas, they are in a car accident. Does the hospital in Kansas (a state that prohibits gay marriage) have to recognize the “rights” of the spouse that have a legal marriage in California?"
you just described why at the very least, civil unions need to be legal in all 50 states.
No such thing.
1) What it proves is that all 50 states should have laws that require that durable power of attorneys be honored in all 50 states.
For instance, a "civil union" would have had no positive impact on my aunt when she was dying, as her durable power of attorney was not honored. Her sister should have been able to make her end of life decisions but was not listened to.
My durable power of attorney designates my boyfriend, but I really have no idea whether it will be honored if my own doctor is not present.
2) It's not about civil unions for GLT couples. It's about "marriage". You said it yourself - civil unions are only the first step. You said, "very least".
They already have civil unions in California. But they want "marriage".
The "very least" want civil unions in all 50 states...but gay "marriage" is the goal.
If I thought that it would stop with civil unions, I'd have less of a problem. But California proves that it won't.
I'd agree with the idea of durable power of atty rights in all 50 states, if they were made available for the same cost as a marriage license.
I firmly believe that had the "conservatives" (in quotations because you cannot at the same time claim that you stand for less government intrusion and then attempt to deny people right to engage in contract, among many other issues) been willing to hold their noses and agree to domestic partnerships (what they really have in California, not civil unions) or civil unions, the debate would be moot. After all, if there had been civil unions or domestic partnerships in all 50 states, and every state recognized them, the courts could just call it a game of linguistics and easily define "MARRIAGE" as a family unit and "Civil Unions" as a contractual agreement offering all of the contractual guarantees of marriage.
Instead, this went from "protecting marriage" to "deny gay people the right to enter into contracts which guarantee them certain rights, no matter the name." The second you deny someone one cookie, they usually end up attempting to get their hands on the entire jar.
In other words, "conservatives" started this whole battle for themselves.
If there were had been a history of gay marriage, and a point at which "conservatives" started denying the right, you might have a point.
But there isn't so you don't.
Personally, I think the government should get out of the marriage business altogether. Historically, there have been marriage "contracts", overseen by the legal system. If there was a system in place for such a "civil union" (no matter who was involved, whether man and woman, man and man or my two old-maid aunts) with "marriage" being the role of the church, I could live with that.
we agree completely on your last point. I've long said that everyone should be entitled to civil unions, with marriage ceremonies offered by churches for those that want them.