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Benefits of Civil Unions

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As the debate over legal recognition of gay and lesbian couples heightens, individual states in the U.S. are considering different types of protection for gay and lesbian couples under the law. They are civil unions, domestic partnerships and same-sex marriage.

In most cases, 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.

Currently in the U.S., only Connecticut and Vermont allow same-sex civil unions. (See where gay marriage or civil unions are legal around the world).

As stated before, civil union benefits vary per state. Here is a list of benefits awarded same-sex partners in Vermont:
  • Laws relating to title, tenure, descent and distribution, intestate succession, waiver of will, survivorship, or other incidents of the acquisition, ownership, or transfer (during life or at death) of real or personal property, including eligibility to hold property as tenants by the entirety.
  • Causes of action related to or dependent upon spousal status, including an action for wrongful death, emotional distress, loss of consortium, dramshop, or other torts or actions under contracts reciting, related to, or dependent upon spousal status.
  • Probate law and procedure, including nonprobate transfer.
  • Adoption law and procedure.
  • Group insurance for state employees.
  • Spouse abuse programs.
  • Protection against discrimination based upon marital status.
  • Victim's compensation rights.
  • Workers' compensation benefits.
  • Emergency and non-emergency medical care and treatment, hospital visitation and notification.
  • Terminal care documents and durable power of attorney for health care execution and revocation.
  • Family leave benefits.
  • State public assistance benefits(Vermont).
  • State and municipal tax laws, except for estate tax provisions.
  • Marital privilege and testimonial immunity laws.
  • The homestead rights of a surviving spouse and homestead property tax allowance.
  • Loans to veterans
  • The definition of family farmer
  • Making, revoking, and objecting to anatomical gifts by others.
  • State pay for military service.
  • Applications for absentee ballots.
  • Family landowner rights to fish and hunt.
  • Legal requirements for wage assignments.
  • Affirmance of relationship.
  • Parties to a civil union can modify the terms, conditions, or effects of their legal relationship in the same manner and to the same extent as married people can through premarital and other agreements recognized and enforceable under the Vermont law.
Things not working out? Learn how to dissolve a civil union.

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