Domestic partnerships are recognized as a relationship in which a romantically involved couple lives together, but is not married or in another legally recognized relationship. Domestic partners can involve same sex or opposite sex couples. Due to many same sex couples having the inability to get married, they often enter into domestic partnerships.
While some states offer an automatic legal recognition to domestic partnerships, others do not. In fact, couples that do not have a domestic partnership agreement or cohabitation agreement, are often entitled to no rights or responsibilities that would result from their relationship. For example, those couples have no protections for their rights to shared property or assets.
For instance, if one partner passes away, the other partner is not entitled to any shared property unless their name is specifically on the deed or lease. In addition, domestic partners often suffer from an inability to make health care decisions regarding their partner. In fact,many domestic partners find that they are unable to even visit a partner in the hospital because they are not family members. In essence, domestic partners are not generally granted any property rights, estate or inheritance rights, or rights that relate to health care. In fact, each state has different laws that relate to domestic partnerships.
In many states, couples can register their partnership or enter into cohabitation or domestic partnership agreements that confer some rights and responsibilities onto the relationship. Many people are in favor of same sex couple’s ability to enter into legally recognized domestic partnerships or civil unions. In many cases, both types of relationships are offered similar, or the same rights in regards to their relationship.
For many same sex couples, registered domestic partnerships are the only legally recognized option available to them. However,many people argue against domestic partnerships because those relationships often promote rights for the LGBT community. Many conservative states and churches, are against same sex couples receiving any rights of responsibilities that result from their relationship. However, there are many differences between marriage and domestic partnerships.
For example, domestic partnerships can not attain any federal rights that are conferred on marriages, including social security benefits or tax breaks. In fact, many states do not grant any state benefits to domestic partnerships, such as access to shared health insurance. In essence, domestic partnerships have much fewer rights than marriage.
Yet, some states such as Nevada, offer domestic partners the exact same rights as married couples, except the ability to call their relationship a marriage. In addition, several countries worldwide offer legal recognition of domestic partnerships, including conferring some or all of the rights of marriage onto the relationship.