A civil union also known as a civil partnership is a legally recognized arrangement similar to marriage , created primarily as a means to provide recognition in law for same-sex couples. Civil unions grant most or all of the rights of marriage except the title itself. Around the world, developed democracies began establishing civil unions in the late s, often developing them from less formal domestic partnerships , which grant only some of the rights of marriage. In the majority of countries that established these unions in laws, they have since been either supplemented or replaced by same-sex marriage. Civil unions are viewed by LGBT rights campaigners as a "first step" towards establishing same-sex marriage, as civil unions are viewed by supporters of LGBT rights as a " separate but equal " or " second class " status.
Civil Unions and Domestic Partnership Statutes
Several states have expanded the legal rights available to spouses in same-sex relationships through civil unions and domestic partnerships. All of the states that allow for civil unions or domestic partnerships now also allow for same sex marriage, either through statute or court ruling. These forms shall require the signature and seal of an acknowledgment by a notary public to be binding and valid. This prohibition does not apply if the previous domestic partnership ended because one of the partners died. The general assembly declares that a second purpose of the act is to protect individuals who are or may become partners in a civil union against discrimination in employment, housing, and in places of public accommodation. The general assembly further finds that the general assembly, in the exercise of its plenary power, has the authority to define other arrangements, such as a civil union between two unmarried persons regardless of their gender, and to set forth in statute any state-level benefits, rights, and protections to which a couple is entitled by virtue of entering into a civil union. A marriage between two persons entered into in this state and recognized as valid in this state may be recognized as a marriage, or a relationship that provides substantially the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as a marriage, in another state or jurisdiction if one or both persons travel to or reside in such other state or jurisdiction.
Same-Sex Marriage, Civil Unions, and Domestic Partnerships
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