Friday, March 22, 2013

The meaning of words in politics

By Richard K. Barry

Last Wednesday, Ohio Governor John Kasich told Cleveland's WEWS Channel 5 that he supports civil unions for same-sex couples. The comment was made when he was asked about Sen. Rob Portman's recent announcement that he supports gay marriage.

These were Kasich's words:
I talked to Rob and encouraged him. If people want to have civil unions and have some way to transfer their resources, I'm for that. I don't support gay marriage.

By Thursday, a spokesman for the Republican governor said that Kasich misspoke when he expressed support for civil unions. 
"The governor's position is unchanged," Kasich's spokesman Rob Nichols said Thursday in a statement. "He opposes gay marriage and opposes changing Ohio's constitution to allow for civil unions."

"He's opposed to discrimination against any Ohioan and, while he may have used the term 'civil union' loosely in this instance, he recognizes the existing rights of Ohioans to enter into private contracts to manage their personal property and health care issues," Nichols said, adding that Kasich's use of "civil unions" was a reference to powers of attorney and other legal documents that can grant same-sex partners certain rights.

Kasich knew exactly what he was saying and was pulled back by those around him concerned about the electoral implications of such a statement.  The meaning of the term civil union is well established and everyone involved in this particular charade knows it. 

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