Last week, I pointed out that the widely circulated “gay marriage leads to polygamy in the Netherlands” story was inaccurate, since the trio that recently “married” in a small Dutch town did not make use of same-sex marriage or even civil union laws but instead utilized a samenlevingscontract (“cohabitation contract”), which gives the participants some marital-like rights but largely allows them to define the terms of the partnership.
[T]he substance of my argument changes not at all: the setting-up of alternative structures meant to ape marriage in any form, be it civil unions or
samenlevingscontracts, while evading or negating the fundamental features of marriage, serves only to negate marriage itself by opening the door to the slippery slope toward the world wherein hideous Dutchmen can marry multiple women simultaneously. And that’s in a better-case scenario.
What, then, does Tacitus suggest? No legal protections of any kind for same-sex relationships — not even essentially private, legally enforceable contracts? Leaving aside humane and moral considerations, would that even be politically viable, in this day and age? It seems to me that the answer is clearly “no.”
Hence, I repeat the question I asked in my original post. If the chief concern is the dilution of marriage by “alternative structures,” isn’t the full legalization of same-sex marriage the “safest” option, as Andrew Sullivan argued years ago? Or, at least, a Vermont-like civil union system that is not available to heterosexuals or to people already married?