A civil union would simply not be equal
The civil-unions bill introduced in the Minnesota Legislature does not give equal rights and responsibilities to same-sex couples, whatever its authors might say.
Legal analysts expect the U.S. Supreme Court to find the federal Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional, which means that married same-sex couples would have federal benefits this summer. Yet as Justice Stephen Breyer pointed out, “if a [civil union] is enough, they won’t get federal benefits, those that are tied to marriage, because they’re not married.” These benefits include Social Security, joint tax filing and immigration benefits.
I’m painfully aware of this shortfall. As a gay graduate student abroad, if I were to develop a serious relationship here, I would be able to sponsor a husband for U.S. residency, but not someone with whom I have a civil union. I would hate to be kept from returning to Minnesota with someone I love because of that distinction.
Of course, civil unions do not carry the dignity, respect or gravity of equal marriage, but let us not pretend they even carry the same protection under the law.
Ian Snyder, Prague, Czech Republic
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Made here: Weapons and empty promises
The article “Arms trade treaty faces enough Senate opposition to scuttle pact if Obama submits it” (StarTribune.com, April 3) shows the terrible political power of the armament industry in the United States. While other countries are manufacturing goods such as TVs, toasters and clothes, the United States manufactures armaments.
Sixty percent of our exports are armaments. We need to move this unwieldy ship around and start manufacturing items to meet people’s needs rather than supplying the world with arms. We need Eisenhower to rise up from the dead and warn us again about the military-industrial complex.
Judith Moore, St. Louis Park
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After World War II, there was a national outcry over housing shortages for veterans. Today, there are still homeless heroes, but not because of a housing shortage. Unaffordable housing and lack of employment hit veterans especially hard as they transition back to civilian life. Comprehensive care simply isn’t there!
Our nation’s soldiers fought bravely for us overseas (with some having been POWs), but what are they coming home to? The government promises not to leave anyone behind, but what about the ones left in the street? Steve Sack’s April 4 editorial cartoon is correct in pointing out how big government boondoggles what it started. If the Department of Veterans Affairs can’t take care of its own, who can?
Howard Jay Meyer, Brooklyn, N.Y.
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The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.