Discussion in 'Lifestyle' started by Sonic, Mar 9, 2004.
Marriage is both a legal and, separately, a religious institution. Through marriage, society not only affirms the commitment between two individuals, but actually joins in the celebration of their relationship by granting them legal protections, benefits, rights, and responsibilities not available to unmarried couples.
Domestic partnerships are typically recognized in two ways: through programs offered by public and private employers that extend certain benefits to the partners and families of unmarried employees, and through registries in over 30 municipalities that grant certain legal rights and protections to domestic partners.
Domestic partner programs are an important advance for gay civil rights, allowing many lesbian, gay, and other unmarried couples to provide some protections for their families usually reserved for married couples only. However, domestic partnership plans do not offer the same comprehensive array of benefits, nor have the same legal or social significance, as civil marriages.
Put simply, if my partner, who I was in a civil union with, was sick and dying in the intensive care unit, I could not be by his bedside when he died... His family could. His cousin, whom he hasn't talked to in years, could. But, I cannot because I am not married to him or family.
Additionally, married couples get their spouses social security benefits if a spouse dies. I'm pretty sure that a civil union would not provide the same benefit.
CoCo's thread says it best under "Range of benefits"