Straight People Getting civil Unions

17 02 2009

Added @LeftCoastOracle to my list of people I actually follow on Twitter, seeing as how she seems to have some amazing news stories. This one included… (Note: she had also posted on the DADT thing just posted, but I had not seen it until QC.com had posted it.)


From The Washington Post

The brief procedure of the Civil Solidarity Pact, or PACS in its French-language abbreviation, put Arnaud and Aurélie among the growing number of French men and women who are choosing a novel legal and social status, halfway between living together and marriage, that is helping change the way France organizes its families.

“It’s a first step toward marriage,” Arnaud explained after the businesslike ceremony in a corner of Marseille’s graceful courthouse complex, the Palais de Justice. Then he rushed back to his office, and the beaming Aurélie returned to her art history classes. The white dress, champagne and honeymoon would be for later, perhaps much later — perhaps never.

The PACS was introduced a decade ago by France’s then-Socialist Party government. Parliament approved the measure only after a fierce debate because, although its wording was deliberately ambiguous, the arrangement was understood mainly as a way for gay couples to legalize their unions even though under French law they are not allowed to marry.

In passing the law without making it specific to gays, however, France distinguished itself from other European countries that have approved civil unions or even marriage for same-sex couples. As a result of that ambiguity, the PACS broadened into an increasingly popular third option for heterosexual couples, who readily cite its appeal: It has the air of social independence associated with the time-honored arrangement that the French call the “free union” but with major financial and other advantages. It is also far easier to get out of than marriage.

A long time ago, a friend of mine made the argument that Civil Unions and DPs are for gay people and “progressive straight couples,” which is an argument that I always thought was wrong. Politically, it makes sense, but I never thought straight people would actually choose civil unions/DPs over marriage.

Apparently, I was wrong.

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One response

17 02 2009
oddcincy

You’ll also find not-quite marriages in Norway and Sweden. They call it Samboerskap, and it’s basically a legal recognition of living together. The legal ties are weaker than in an American common-law marriage.

Heterosexual couples often have planned children while in this relationship. They may get married eventually, but they definitely take their time about it.

In fact, it’s so common that I know one young Norwegian girl who’s annoyed that she was born in wedlock, because she can’t be a flower girl at her parents’ wedding like all her friends got to be at theirs.

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