Do the Rite Thing : Religious Civil Unions in Vermont

Vermont, one of the smallest US states, implemented in 2000 a new form of recognized partnership for same-sex couples. A “civil union” gives the couple that contracts it the same benefits a marriage gives to a heterosexual couple. As with a marriage, ministers (pastors, priests, rabbis) are agents of the state when performing a civil union.
Following an intense cultural conflict, the implementation of civil unions was simultaneous with a speedy accommodation on the part of the churches. I will provide two explanations for this phenomenon. First, civil unions of the religious type, understood as a religious consumption, provide incentives for an economic routinization. Second, I focus on the work of the ministers: through various appeals to the legal order, they try to find ways to perform same-sex wedding ceremonies.

Social Compass, 2005, vol.52, n°2, pp. 225-239

(preliminary version online [HAL-SHS]) — (doi:10.1177/0037768605052604)