My main concern with the concept of civil unions is grammatical. If civil union is the literal equivalent of marriage, what is the equivalent of married?
Is the correct way of asking a loved one into such a venture, Will you civil union me? And after, is a person expected to say we were civil unioned on the weekend, what a magical non-wedding ceremony it was?
It doesn’t matter now, of course, as the federal government has deemed these precise matters so urgently dangerous that not a second could be lost in the battle for the sake of all the children.
But before said concerned government got into a right stupid state about my relationship, I spent a bit of time pondering the language of civil unioning.
See, last week I asked my girlfriend of six years and the mother of my child (or, in the eyes of the federal government, my non-related flatmate) to civil union me.
Before all this I wasn’t the marrying kind. I’d never had a fantasy about walking down an aisle in a fancy frock with my hair, um, combed.
My girlfriend is just as bad -“ she likes a party but doesn’t want to be in the middle of one. Fittingly, the civil union question was popped by phone, in a conversation that also included lunch details and a discussion about daytime television. It was not our most romantic moment.
Do you want to civil union me? I asked. Okay, she said. Tr?nonchalant.
But these things have a life of their own. Before I knew it we were printing out forms, digging out our birth certificates and excitedly checking our diaries for available dates.
I even started shopping online for one of those tuxedo-print T-shirts. And every time I’d mention it to one of my straight mates or family members they’d get really, really happy. Like, insane-happy-bordering-on-psychotic happy.
What do you mean you’re just going to Canberra for -˜some quiet thing‘. Okay, I’ll come. No, I’ll come. As if I’m not coming. I don’t care if you don’t want me to. Do you have a registry? Well, you’d better start thinking about it, selfish.
Turns out everyone loves a civil union, and everyone loves a non-gender-specific person entering into a civil union. Oh, except those in the government who think it’s going to bring about the downfall of civilisation and destroy society as we know it. Funny, I always thought it was just a piece of paper.