Marriage vs. Civil Unions?

What is the key difference between Marriage and Civil

Unions (or Domestic Partnerships) ?

10 Answers

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  • Kedar
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Civil unions are different from marriage, and that difference has wide-ranging implications that make the two institutions unequal.

    Civil Unions and Domestic Partnership laws only offer a fraction of the 1,049 benefits the United States Government provides for couples in a heterosexual marriage,

    Civil Unions are not recognized by the Federal Government, so couples would not be able to file joint-tax returns or be eligible for tax breaks or protections the government affords to married couples -- As well as laws regarding health care, hospital visitation and immigration-related issues, are not made available to same-gender couples joined by Civil Union in America.

    Civil Unions in the United States send the unacceptable message that gays are second-class citizens.

  • Don
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    It's a little more complicated than that. There are civil unions and civil marriages...there are marriages...and, thre are domestic partnerships. Civil would indicate the ceremony was a 'governmental' sanction of a union between a man and a woman, or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. Civil marriages, currently are a 'governmental' sanction of a man and a woman...and in some states a man and a man, or a woman and a woman. Domestic partnerships are, generally, governmental recognition of two people living with each other for whatever purpose (not necessarily sexual) so it could be a combination of a man and a woman, man and a man, or a woman and a woman. And, finally, marriage is a religious recognition of a union between a man and a woman. It should be noted that a number of countries (nations) have approved of marriages between two consenting adults, whatever the mix. The bottom line in the issue is that of equality. All citizens are supposed to be equal. If that is true, then anyone should be able to be married to whomever they wish with the same rights and benefits.

  • 1 decade ago

    The key difference between them is that Civil Union is not recognised as being marriage. This might seem like a circular argument, but the importance of this difference is that marriage is seen as a valid social institution whereas a civil union is not.

    Where you have two institutions that are notionally the same, but actually different, one will always be regarded as inferior to the other. It's all very well to say that a civil union bestows the same legal rights as marriage, but it is specifically NOT called marriage just to assuage the prejudices of religious pressure groups. Their prejudice is satisfied by giving us this second-class example. If it's not second class and is equivalent to marriage, then why not call it marriage? Not only is the second class status of gay people maintained, but there is implicit approval of religious homophobia by ensuring that civil unions are distinct from marriage. Any argument that marriage has religious overtones is invalid because heterosexual couples can have a civil ceremony which is still called marriage.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    In the UK, a recent high profile gay divorce was cited by a lawyer as being "marriage in all but name". Adoption is OK etc. I'm sure in the US you are allowed a joint checking account, come on. You could do that with or without civil partnerships and gay marriage. Edit: Sorry but I am gay and almost qualified as a nurse. They would never refuse you entry to an intensive care unit or other situation if you were the partner. They just would not do that. The reason is, even if they did not like it, their objective is to avoid legal repercusions The high profile cases we hear about (and there are relatively few) are likely to have other issues such as drug abuse or mental illness involved. Why would a nurse refuse entry to their patient's significant other? Very unlikely, especially when someone is facing death. They do have a conscience and it is drilled into us through our training to not be prejudiced. It is very alarmist and unrealistic propaganda - Even though I agree with legal equality, gay marriage and everything, I just had to make the point because I don't like stretching the truth either way and healthcare professionals being tarnished like that It is especially true with records. Healthcare workers fear litigation more than anything else. Anything you write is a legal document that can come back to you. If you did such a prejudiced thing, it's there in black and white to be held against you in court. I doubt any nurse/doctor or anyone else would dare push the limit like that and risk their license.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Civil unions are an attempt to create a separate-but-equal status, which has been outlawed by the Supreme Court as unconstitutional (separate but equal, not the unions). It's an attempt to make an end-run around the Constitution.

    And it's wrong.

    Marriage is a civil right, and every adult is entitled to it, no matter what other consenting adult or adults they want to marry.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Marriages provide full rights. Civil Unions are unions, but they do not allow for the thousands of rights that marriage provides. A domestic partership really means nothing, it just means you live with the person and have a relationship (basically no rights).

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Fewer rights and responsibilities are included with Civil Unions.

  • toff
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    As a married evolved straight man I believe there is one huge difference. Preventing a gay couple from getting married is simply the act of basing law on religious belief. It also implies that our GLBT brothers and sisters are somehow less of aperson and citizen. While the legal technicalities may be the same for both the very real implication in allowing one and not the other cannot be ignored. When we stand up for GLBT rights we stand up for everyones rights.

  • 1 decade ago

    one is protected by the constitution and is legally valid through out the country and supported by all laws. the other is made up, open to vast levels of interpretation and easily ignored in all levels of due process.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    toffeefa... well said and thank you

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