Domestic partnerships are currently recognized in about 1/5 of the United States and in several countries worldwide. In most of Europe, some form of legal recognition for same sex relationships is currently available. For example, Hungary, Portugal and Finland offer domestic partnerships.
Most of the remaining countries in Europe offer civil unions or same sex marriage. In addition, many other countries offer domestic partnerships. For instance, Australia and New Zealand allow same sex couples to enter into a domestic partnership agreement. There is however, no universally accepted formula for deciding which rights are granted through a domestic partnership agreement.
Croatia, Hungary and Portugal offer domestic partnership agreements that are similar to those found in the United States. In fact, domestic partnerships in those countries, confer limited rights that are usually afforded to marriages. Usually, same sex couples do not enjoy all of the rights associated with a marriage, but they do enjoy a large percentage of them.
In fact, Hungary offers same sex couples the right to change their surname to match that of their partner, the ability to be a parent to a partners child and the ability to have a surrogate child. In essence, same sex partners can enjoy any and all of the rights of marriage in Hungary. In New Zealand, same sex couples are able to enjoy rights that are very similar to those conferred on marriage. However, couples may not adopt children as if they are a married couple.
In other words, only married opposite sex couples, are able to adopt children. In Australia, domestic partnership agreements offer couples the opportunity to enjoy many of the benefits of marriage, without having the designation of marriage. In fact, same sex and opposite couples are able to enter into a registered partnership in Australia. However, same sex marriage is still banned. In Argentina, several cities offer domestic partnerships to same sex couples.
In fact, that is true in many countries worldwide. While federal laws may not recognize same sex relationships, many cities offer local recognition of same sex relationships through the registration of domestic partnership agreements. In Pakistan, couples can enter into personal domestic partnership agreements, but they are not legally recognized.
Domestic partnership agreements can confer many different rights to same sex couples. Like state laws, federal laws vary in many different countries. In fact, some countries do not have consistent laws throughout the country. Sometimes, cities decide to have their own local laws regarding domestic partnerships. In any case, couples in same sex relationships worldwide, are beginning to enjoy many rights that they have been unable to enjoy in the past.