What Are We Talking About Here?

This is the proposed amendment banning gay marriages:

Marriage in the United States shall consist only of the union of a man and a woman. Neither this Constitution or the constitution of any State, nor state or federal law, shall be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents thereof be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

Personally, I have no strong feelings on this issue. Frankly, if men and women can get "married", while gay couples can only have "civil unions", that’s fine with me. A rose by any other name . . . right?

The problem, which I think many people miss, is that this amendment is specifically designed to discriminate — it’s not just about what people can call their relationship.

The key words are "or the legal incidents thereof". As Daily Kos accurately explains:

What are the "legal incidents thereof" of marriage? Things like hospital visitation, inheritance rights, employee benefits, social security and disability benefits, immigration rights, divorce laws, and so on.

This means that the proposed amendment will make it possible for the federal and state governments to deny hospital visitation rights, etc. to gay couples who, even though not technically "married", have engaged in civil unions.

While the polls show that an overwhelming number of people disapprove of "gay marriages", they also show that an overwhelming number of people disapprove of discrimination against gays. The proposed amendment, while purporting to forbid "gay marriages" (which it does) additionally sanctions discrimination against gays. And, being in the U.S. Constitution, not a thing can be done about it.

Do people — even those opposed to "gay marriages" — approve of this?

What do you think?