Civil Unions and Benefits for essay

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It can also be confusing. Some states have gay marriage as a legal right. Others have domestic partnerships, civil unions, and other terms for things that are the same or similar (Herek, 2006). Whether these options are constitutional is also something that has to be addressed and that is argued about by many scholars and laypeople (Herek, 2006). One of the other concerns that is brought to light where civil unions and their benefits are concerned is how employers view 'spouses' and what kinds of requirements are listed for them to be able to receive benefits (Same, 2008). Depending on how these people are listed, employers may or may not have to accommodate homosexuals and their partners in states that allow for gay marriages and civil unions.

As can be seen by the following map, not all states believe in any type of same-sex civil union or gay marriage, but more states are moving toward recognizing these types of unions for the people who feel that they want to be married or joined legally but who have chosen what most people would consider an 'unconventional' mate.

Same Sex Marriage Laws by State

"Laws Regarding Same-Sex Partnerships in the United States

Same-sex marriages

Unions granting rights similar to marriage

Unions granting limited/enumerated rights

Foreign same-sex marriages recognized

Statute bans same-sex marriage

Constitution bans same-sex marriage

Constitution bans same-sex marriage and other kinds of same-sex

Same-sex marriages

Unions granting rights similar to marriage

Unions granting limited/enumerated rights

Foreign same-sex marriages recognized

Statute bans same-sex marriage

Constitution bans same-sex marriage

Constitution bans same-sex marriage and other kinds of same-sex unions

Source: Wikipedia)

Some individuals say that civil unions are not the same as marriage and therefore the benefits of them should also not be the same. This is a fair argument to some degree, but one that has been rejected soundly by states like California. That state argued that giving the same rights to a homosexual couple as to a heterosexual couple does not affect the rights of either couple in a negative way, and that means that no one's rights are being violated in any way (Same, 2008). There are still arguments regarding this, and they will likely continue. For those who believe in civil unions or for those who have them already, the main concern is likely not what their relationship is called but rather what kinds of benefits are offered to them. They want to protect their partners just like male-female couples do (Same, 2008).

A large argument for benefits and for same-sex civil unions is that of civil rights. There have been many laws passed and much bickering over what rights all people are supposed to have (Franklin, 1988). This was most notable around the time that the slaves were freed and there were laws passed to say that all people had the same rights, regardless of the color of their skin. There were civil rights issues for women, as well, and for all kinds of groups who are now protected (Franklin, 1988). One group that is only just now starting to get protection, though, is the gay and lesbian group.

Because there have been so many different ideas that have come about based on what is a civil rights violation and what is not, the term 'civil rights' has sometimes taken on a negative connotation. However, legislation has been created that stops many places from discriminating against someone because of his or her sexual orientation (Civil, 2001). Not all places have to follow these kinds of rules, because they are specific to certain types of discriminatory practices. Civil unions and other types of gay marriage issues are such hot topics today, but people often forget that this is really a civil rights issue. When someone's civil rights are violated that must be corrected, and allowing for civil unions in all states is one more steps toward all people truly being equal in this country.


Aristotle. (360). Nicomachean ethics. W.D. Ross, trans. civil rights" the Oxford Guide to the United States Government. John J. Patrick, Richard M. Pious, and Donald a. Ritchie. Oxford University Press. (2001). Oxford Reference Online. Oxford University Press. Apollo Group. 25 October 2008.

Dolhenty, Jonathan, Ph.D. (2003). An overview of natural law theory. The Jonathan Dolhenty Archive. Radical Academy.

Franklin, John Hope & Moss, Jr., Alfred a. (1988). From Slavery to Freedom (New York: Knopf.

Herek, G. (2006, September). Legal recognition of same-sex relationships in the United States: A social science perspective. American Psychologist, 61(6), 607-621. Retrieved October 24, 2008, doi:10.1037/0003-066X.61.6.607

Lawler, Peter Augustine. (2004). More than a contract. National Review.

Poll: most oppose gay weddings. (28 Feb, 2004).

Same-sex marriages raise questions for employers. (August 1, 2008). Employee Benefit News.

ITEM08214002. General OneFile. Gale. Apollo Library. 24 Oct. 2008

Stramel, James S. (2005). A philosopher's case for equality. The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide.

Take Action. (2004). American Civil Liberties Union.[continue]

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