Why Civil Unions Now?

From Senator Chris Lauzen:

Nearly 10% of Illinois workers are unemployed, home foreclosures are at all-time historic highs, our budget is unconstitutionally and catastrophically imbalanced, state pension plans are bankrupt, social services decimated, education on its knees . . .. we are the “incompetence” laughingstock of government mismanagement with misplaced priorities . . . and Illinois one-party leadership spends our time on homosexual civil unions!

Some people now claim that Bill Brady lost the governor’s race because the opposition saddled him with social issues, despite his protests to the contrary that we should be first-and-only focused on jobs, the budget, and restoring confidence. Yet, here we are forced to debate an issue that may be “political payback” to a small but politically powerful special interest group.

Several years ago, I offered representatives of the homosexual community to confirm that decisions made between loved ones, i.e. medical decisions, healthcare necessities, asset transfers upon death, etc. would be allowed under Illinois contract law and power-of-attorney statutes. I even offered to work on consolidating these statutes in one place so that they could be used more easily.

My offer was sincere and genuine. However, to this date years later, I have never heard back again from these representatives.

Perhaps this call for compassion and commonsense middle-ground is really smoke screen and charade. The Chicago Sun-Times, which recommends civil unions as an “important step” to initiating homosexual marriage, reported on November 10, 2010, “Of the 5 state plus D.C. that now allow (homosexual) marriage, four began with civil union laws”.

So, at the risk of some awkwardness and what many of our constituents should consider grossly misplaced priorities, we now engage in a conversation concerning the most basic questions about the “facts of life.” Yes, we end up talking about sex.

For those who don’t accept doctrine from thousands of years of religious tradition of “one man – one woman”, and for those who don’t accept the public health arguments confirmed by many CDC studies about the dangers of homosexual practices, let me confine my evaluation of civil unions and subsequent homosexual marriage to a natural law platform and ask the first question, “Why does government have any valid reason to regulate emotional relationships among people?”

It is true that marriage is, in part, an emotional union, and it is also true that spouses often take care of each other, thereby reducing the caregiving burden on other people. But neither of these truths is the fundamental reason for marriage. The reason marriage exists is that sexual intercourse between men and women regularly produces children. If intercourse did not naturally produce vulnerable children, who add to the population of a country, neither society nor government would have much reason, let alone a valid reason, to regulate people’s emotional unions.

Government does not regulate non-marital friendships, no matter how intense they are. My goodness, if the purpose of marriage is to care for parents and siblings, to establish inheritance order, or provide hospital visitation procedures, why are we not regulating inter-family relations and calling them civil unions? No, what the institution and policy of marriage aims to regulate is the sex, not the love and commitment.

Marriage exists to solve the major challenge that arises from sexual intercourse between men and women, but not from sex between partners of the same gender, i.e. what to do about its potential generation of vulnerable children. That does not mean that marriage is worthwhile only when it yields children – – the law has never taken that view. What a healthy marriage culture does is encourages adults to arrange their lives so that as many children as possible are raised and nurtured by parents who have the greatest natural incentive and instincts to permanently protect them.

We wonder why there is so much chaos, pain, and even expense in our society for raising healthy children. Look at new data released by the U.S. Census Bureau showing the largest increase in poverty in U.S. recorded history. An additional 3.7 Million Americans fell into poverty in 2009.

Buried in this Census report are startling figures revealing the principal cause of child poverty is the collapse of marriage. Single mother families are almost five times more likely to be poor than are married couples with children. Nearly 70% of poor families with children are headed by single parents and less than 8% of new single moms are under 18 years old.

Stop experimenting with traditional marriage. We are already deeply trapped in the consequences of poor individual choices and public policy decisions. Our focus must return to self-discipline, self-sacrifice, and the exercise of traditional virtue.

Senator Chris Lauzen represents the 25th Illinois senate District.