Well, it's a novel idea. Personally, I like this a lot. I would just add the libertarian caveat that we do away with state-sponsored marriage altogether and replace it with, well, this idea. Then you can take your civil union paper down to whatever priest or pastor or rabbi you might occasionally visit and get hitched, or married, or whatever you want to call it. Two consenting adults--that's the qualifier.
I’ve been on record as supporting a form of civil unions for over four years. In fact, in November 2004 I wrote about it on my former blog. I noted that Dr. James Dobson and Focus on the Family Action, supported a bill in Colorado that would facilitate certain contractual obligations or legal arrangements for any two "unmarried persons who are excluded from entering into a valid marriage under the marriage laws of this state." I too supported the bill and believe that an expanded form of the proposed reciprocal-beneficiary contracts is the model for civil unions iin America.
Where Sullivan and I likely differ, however, is on the question of who should be allowed to participate in such civil unions. To me the civil unions should cover a broad range of domestic situations, such as two elderly sisters who share a home or a widowed parent of an adult child who has Down’s syndrome or other potentially disabling condition. Such legal protections should be completely desexualized and open to any two adults who desire to form a contractually dependent relationship.
Now go love each other...