Conservative groups: Civil unions undermine traditional marriage between heterosexual couples

By Andrea Whatcott

Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, May 24 2011 12:49 p.m. MDT

Starting June 1, civil unions between same-sex and opposite-sex couples will be allowed in Illinois. While conservative groups remain frustrated with the idea of gay couples being permitted to unite, they are also not pleased with this additional relationship option that straight couples are now afforded, according to Christian News Wire.

While these conservative groups wish to extend civil rights to all, their greater concern with civil unions is how they will effect families in the long term. "Unfortunately, this social experiment will have a ripple effect on our culture that will touch every American and, most tragically, our children," said David Smith, the executive director of the Illinois Family Institute, in an interview with Christian News Wire. "What is happening here in Illinois is a tragic attempt by radical forces to advance a political agenda by using the authority of the government to validate wrong and unhealthy relationships."

The fear, according to Smith, is that children will be taught in school that homosexuality is normal and even something they might want to try. It can also cause lawsuits to be brought against objectors of homosexual legislation and also a concern about the overall disrespect for "real marriage" and the idea that even straight couples will substitute civil unions for marriage.

According to the blog, who's author supports civil unions, ChicagoNow.com, a civil union for straight couples can provide a halfway point between a boyfriend and a husband.

For couples who do not want to carry the title of "marriage," a civil union provides them with the state level rights of marriage, including health insurance benefits, without being "married," according to Andrew Koppelman's statement on mywebtimes.com. Koppelman is a professor of political science and law at Northwestern University. "There are some people who like the symbolic status and some people who don't," Koppelman said.

The Catholic Church, however, will not acknowledge couples who do not embrace the symbolic status of marriage. According to the new Illinois law, churches will not be required to perform the civil unions of same-sex or straight couples, according the Medill. "We wouldn't be performing a rite of opposite-sex civil unions in our churches," said Bob Gilligan, executive director of the Catholic Conference of Illinois. Gilligan said the Catholic Church also does not recognize same-sex civil unions.

EMAIL: awhatcott@desnews.com

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