Why Conservative Spin About ‘Stepping Stone’ Civil Unions Is True And Telling

Now that same-sex couples in Illinois are suing for marriage equality, conservatives are whining that same-sex couples aren’t content with civil unions, which the state passed last year. Here are Laurie Higgins and David Smith of the Illinois Family Institute telling the American Family Association their complaints about the new legal challenge:

HIGGINS: For those conservatives who were saying, Oh, just give them civil unions and that’ll be the end of it — they were naïve and ignorant. I don’t mean [they’re] stupid — I mean [they’re] unaware, not knowledgeable; and they should have been [aware] that this was what was coming… Because yes, they do want the benefits — but what homosexuals want centrally is cultural approval. They want there to be no formal public recognition that homosexual unions are different from heterosexual unions.

SMITH: It’s now painfully obvious that the purpose for securing civil unions legislation last year was to gain legal leverage in the left’s attempt to overturn the Illinois Defense of Marriage law.

Civil unions were invented in the year 2000 in Vermont. By design, they are a compromise to grant same-sex couples legal recognition without granting them full marriages. They have been proven not to provide equality, but in the absence of marriage, they do at least provide some important legal protections for families. When hate group representatives like Higgins and Smith point out that civil unions are, in fact, inferior to marriage, they are absolutely correct, and the intention behind their remarks should not be ignored.


Anti-gay activists like those at IFI have devoted their lives to opposing LGBT equality. When they accuse civil unions of being a “stepping stone” to marriage, they’re admitting that they want same-sex couples to be treated as inferior second-class citizens without any recognition. What’s worse: their children should have less family security solely because their parents are gay. It’s no secret that gay activists want full equality, not semi-equality, so comments like these should evoke no surprise or outrage.

Furthermore, nothing has changed in the Illinois state constitution since civil unions became law last year. When the judges rule in these cases, the legal foundation for their ruling will be exactly the same as it was before there were civil unions. Higgins and Smith are just bitter that same-sex families have any respect in society at all.