Yesterday I blogged here about an ABC report of a same-sex “wedding” at a military base in New Jersey. The story didn’t seem quite right to me, since there is no such thing as same-sex marriage in New Jersey-only civil unions-and we usually mean to say someone got married when we say a “wedding” took place (and that the couple are “newlyweds,” as ABC’s report had it).
New Jersey marriage law governs any military base in the state, so the event’s taking place on federal property, with a Navy chaplain officiating, can’t make any difference. But the truth did wink at the reader from this story when it referred to the couple’s “civil union” in just one place.
It bears pointing out that a civil union requires no ceremony, and no ceremony can solemnize one. It’s a registered relationship, a contract with signatures. Did the couple sign the contract that day, at the “wedding” that wasn’t a wedding? Or earlier? Or later? The two things-the relationship and the ceremony-have nothing to do with one another.
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