Argument: Civil unions offer same benefits as marriage
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Susan Shell. "The liberal case against gay marriage." Public Interest. Summer, 2004: "Keeping the goals that advocates emphasize in mind, one can reach a principled and liberal public policy toward gay marriage. Most, if not all, of the goals of the gay marriage movement could be satisfied in the absence of gay marriage. Many sorts of individuals, and not just gay couples, might be allowed to form "civil partnerships" dedicated to securing mutual support and other social advantages. If two unmarried, elderly sisters wished to form such a partnership, or two or more friends (regardless of sexual intimacy) wanted to provide mutually for one another "in sickness and in health," society might furnish them a variety of ways of doing so--from enhanced civil contracts to expanded "defined benefit" insurance plans, to new ways of dealing with inheritance." See Debate: Civil unions vs. gay marriage for more arguments along these lines.