Argument: Civil unions have to be explained; unequal status with marriage
"Civil Unions Are Not Enough. Six Key Reasons Why." Lambda Legal: "3. A civil union has to be explained and does not get the same respect as a marriage"]: "Only the word married conveys the universally understood meaning applicable to the lifetime commitment many couples make. Marriage has a meaning unmatched by any other word. Regardless of whether civil unions and marriage offer the same benefits and obligations on paper, when the government relegates same-sex couples to civil unions rather than marriage, it forces them to explain the difference at work, at school, in hospitals and elsewhere. Those couples lose the respect and dignity that they deserve for their commitment to be responsible for each other. Chief Justice Poritz of the New Jersey Supreme Court understood this. In her opinion in Lambda Legal’s successful Lewis v. Harris case, which required the state legislature to pass at least a civil union law, she quoted from our plaintiffs’ testimony about how important it is to be able to use words that match their lives, and how, without the word marriage, other people 'have to wonder what kind of relationship it is or how to refer to it or how much to respect it.' The court created a minimum standard, and so far New Jersey’s legislature has left same-sex couples with only the minimum."
"Civil unions called second-class status." Sun Journal. February 17, 2008: "A commission established to study same-sex civil unions in New Jersey has found in its first report that civil unions create a 'second-class status' for gay couples, rather than giving them equality.[...] The commission also finds that many people in the state do not understand civil unions, which create a 'second-class status.'"