What is the difference between civil unions and marriage?

This is a serious question and I mean no offense.

I am confused, what is the difference besides the word to a gay person.

As far as I understand the benefits are all the same.



So why then, does the gay community insist on being allowed to get married if a civil union is the same? Does it basically come down to just fighting over who gets to use the word marriage?

Update 2:

Hmm... It was my understanding that civil Unions enjoyed all the same benefits as a married couple.

So if the states would just recognize a civil union in the same way marriage is. Than the complaint would be over and civil unions would be reserved for gay couples, and marriage would be reserved for straight couples, correct?

Update 3:

Okay, I am not sure how to phrase this but I will try.

If "civil Unions" is discriminatory to gays under the ruling separate but equal is unconstitutional, than would the same not apply for race?

To clarify what I mean, if I go to fill out an application and it ask if I am Caucasian, Black, Latino, etc. is that not the same as separate but equal?

Update 4:

Also I would think that if the word civil Union is reserved for gay couples that would be something special in a way.

If you were to be referred to as being married, which is traditionally between a man and a woman, than would that not be more offensive to you?

Thank you all for your participation it has been helpful to me so far.

8 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Civil Unions and Marriages are currently NOT the same.

    Civil Unions do not allow the spouse to receive survivor benefits such as Social Security, but Marriages do. That's not equal. There are other laws that married couples have that civil union couples currently DO NOT HAVE.

    The federal government does not allow Civil Union couples to file a joint federal tax return. Only Married couples can. How is that equal?

    There are also some states that do not allow civil union partners to have the same hospital visitation righits as married couples.

    The list goes on.

    If laws are made that treat married couples differently, same sex couples should be allowed to get married.

    The only way out is to eliminate ALL the differences between Married and Civil Union couples.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well... only like 10% of states have civil unions...

    Marriage has full rights that one would expect... Civil unions arent recognized by the federal government (so taxes and whatnot doesnt recognize gays) and it differs from state to state... Some states will not allow gays to marry and there is alot of issues with a civil union

    You cant collect your partner's pension if he/she dies

    Its possible you cant see them in the hospital..

    Plessy Vs Ferguson ruled that "seperate but equal" is unconstitutional... though it definately isnt equal as it is..

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Civil Union is below marriage and does not guarantee the same rights as opposite-sex couples. It's just a way to keep us below straight people and deny us equal rights because of a bunch of bible thumpers.

    Edit: Calling gay marriage a "civil union" is still discriminatory against us. That is considered to be "seperate but equal" and we all know that that is a bunch of malarcky.

  • Carter
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    Civil unions only give the rights/benefits the states give to married couples not the federal rights/benefits.

    DOMA prevents same-sex couples from receiving any federal benefits and allows states to deny same-sex marriages performed in other states.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    Respect and decency is the difference.

    Another big difference is that it ties the hands of any religious group which performs marriage ceremonies. I do not officiate over legal paperwork. I stand before two souls and call an Immortal force to see them bound as one for the rest of their lives. I invoke the blessing of a Deity to the marriage, not the state recognized civil union.

  • Russ
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Because of the wording of many laws, the term "civil union" does not carry the same weight nor infer the same rights as the term "marriage" (and related terms).

    I support full and equal treatment under the law of all citizens, regardless of the term used.

    Therefore, at the very least, I support legislation officially equating "civil union" with "marriage," insofar as legal rights and privileges are concerned.

    Every citizen deserves full and equal treatment under the law.

  • 1 decade ago

    Civil union is a marriage. A Church marriage is just a civil union where the clergy take the place of the judge or justice of the peace.

  • 1 decade ago

    a man in a dress presiding ( i don't mean a drag queen)

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.