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Best Information on Civil Unions

Information On Civil Unions

Although there is no nationally standardized law for a civil union, since the exact implications and level of benefits of civil union laws differ from country to country and from state to state, in the broadest sense, civil unions are terms used to legally recognize a joining of two people that bears very similar qualities to marriage, but very simply, is not actually called a marriage.

There are several government-sanctioned relationships, in fact, which are much, or exactly, the same as civil unions. These include, but are not limited to, civil partnerships, registered partnerships, domestic partnerships, reciprocal beneficiary relationships, adult interdependent partnerships, civil solidarity pacts, and so on. So what is it, exactly, that separates a civil union from these other counterparts? In the simplest sense, it's all the in the name.

In many cases, one state's civil union law may be exactly the same as another state's domestic partnership law. It's merely a matter of how each individual jurisdiction chooses to word this legal union. Generally, civil unions are assigned to describe a same-sex partnership in a state recognized marriage-like union.


In certain cases, though, civil unions can refer to a heterosexual relationship as well, such as in the country of New Zealand. Again, although each individual state and country has their own set of legal rights, benefits, and responsibilities which are granted to these partnerships, civil unions typically suggest that a couple is entitled to rights similar to those awarded to opposite-sex married couples within a state. Often, though, these rights and benefits prove to be far less for homosexual couples.

Currently, there are 20 countries and nine U.S. states that grant the benefits of civil unions to homosexual partnerships. Although many states which have passed civil union laws for same-sex couples hold the social status of a civil union equivalent to marriage, for the gay community, civil unions are not seen as a fair replacement. "Marriage in the United States is a civil union; but a civil union, as it has come to be called, is not marriage," said one gay rights activist and attorney "It is a....legal mechanism...[withholding] something precious from gay people."


Opponents of legalized gay marriage, on the other hand, mainly religious conservatives, argue that same-sex marriage should indeed be distinguished by a different name, like a civil union, and that the sanctity of marriage, which states that such a union is strictly between one man and one woman, should be upheld.

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