civil unionLast updated
A civil union is a legally recognized union between parties that offers some of the legal benefits of marriage but not all (there are implications for finances, immigration, and health care, for instance). Before the legalization of same-sex marriage with the 2014 Supreme Court case Obergefell v. Hodges (and three related cases) nationwide, civil unions were the only option available to LGBTQ+ couples looking to legally recognize their partnership in the United States. Though same-sex marriage is now legal throughout the US, civil unions are still legal in five states: Hawaii, New Jersey, Vermont, Illinois, and Colorado. Civil unions are often marked by commitment ceremonies, much like a marriage is marked by a wedding ceremony. This term is only accurate if the couple actually has a civil union instead of a marriage.
- Marriage, Domestic Partnerships, and Civil Unions: Same-Sex Couples Within the United States (National Center for Lesbian Rights)
- Defense of Marriage Act (Cornell Law School)
A civil union is a partnership legally recognized by a state that offers some of the benefits of marriage but not all. This term is only accurate if the couple actually has a civil union instead of a marriage.