Quick Blog!-Types of Partnerships as Recognized by Various States

Posted by Home Buying Made Simple on Thursday, July 26, 2012

Quick Blog!-Types of Partnerships as Recognized by Various States

Laws pertaining to same-sex partnership vary from state to state. Some states allow gay couples to get legally married while others offer alternative options.  Also, some states recognize certain legal relationships even when that state does not offer that relationship.  For example, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont only offer marriage, but they will recognize civil unions and domestic partnerships that offer all the rights of marriage and provide those couples with all the state rights of marriage.  This is an ever changing landscape, and you should check with LGBT legal organizations like Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), or Lambda Legal, for the latest information.     

Also, because of the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), NO same-sex couple (even couples who are married) is able to access the 1138 federal laws that pertain to marriage.  This means that married same-sex couples cannot file married federal income tax returns, or apply for Social Security spousal benefits or receive any of the other numerous rights and protections that the federal government provides to married couples.  The United States Supreme Court will most likely address the issue of whether DOMA is constitutional during its 2012-2013 session.

Legal Marriage

In the following places some states two people of the same sex can be legally married:  Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont, New Hampshire, New York, and The District of Columbia  In those places, same-sex married couples receive all the rights that place provides to married couples, but none of the federal rights and protections.

Civil unions

Civil Unions provide all the state rights of marriage but not the name and are only recognized by certain states.  were designed to extend rights to same sex couples, but these rights can only be enforced in the state the couple lives in. The states that currently provide civil unions are Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, Illinois, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Delaware, and Rhode Island. Although several other states that do not offer civil unions will recognize them. 

Domestic Partnership

This is a very confusing term because it is used in a variety of contexts.  However, in terms of local and state governments, domestic partnerships vary among states, cities, and counties. Currently, domestic partnerships are recognized in California, Oregon, DC, Nevada, Washington, Maine, New Jersey, Colorado, Wisconsin and Hawaii. Four states, California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington, have domestic partnerships that provide all the state rights and protections that married couples in that state receive.


Check out the full guides I wrote on Home Buying for Unmarried Couples and The Gay Guide to Home Buying. Check out some financial blogs from myself and others at the Total Mortgage Blog.


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