Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Uncivil Civil Servants on Civil Unions

Legislators in Connecticut included an out for justices of the peace bothered by the horror, oh, the horror, of uniting two homosexuals in a civil union. JPs do not have to perform this part of their job if they cannot stomach it. The law exempts them from liability.

Ironically of course, the civil union is just a contact in reality, regardless of the meaning to the couple involved. Nevertheless, some JPs are already refusing. Some are happy to join couples. Others have angst.

The Hartford Courant found one who had to ask her priest what to do. Carmela Apuzzo came away from the meeting comfortable with civil unions.

"This has nothing to do with religion," she said. "It's a contract. I will definitely encourage other people to think of it like that."

Likewise, the Stamford Advocate quotes JP Doris Greenberg, a flexible self-defined old lady. "I'm not used to that. But my opinion doesn't matter. If that' the law. I have to do it."

In contrast, JP John Campbell said, "I wish they would ban the whole thing. We should go back to the way we used to live." The paper did not say whether he added a folksy by cracky. Similarly JP Patrick McBennett does not want to perform civil unions. As he put it, "It would be awkward. I'm not in line with that thinking. To me, marriage is between a man and a woman."

The president of Love Makes a Family, Anna Stanback, said, "I think it's very disappointing that a justice of the peace, who is acting as an agent of the state can discriminate. "

There are not any statistics yet on how many of the 6,000 to 8,000 JPs in the state will do their duty. Gay couples may have to open up the phone book and shop.

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