Same-sex couples in California have the same rights to get married as heterosexual couples. For couples who prefer not to marry, a domestic partnership is a good option. Domestic partners can also receive certain benefits from their relationships.
Understanding domestic partnerships
Domestic partnerships, also known as civil unions, were legally recognized in the 1980s as a way for same-sex couples to officially celebrate their relationships. Although same-sex marriage has been legal nationwide since 2015, some people prefer to be in a romantic relationship while living together without actually getting married.
With a domestic partnership, each party can keep their taxes separate. Some might decide not to marry because they were previously married and had a negative experience. Whatever the reasons for not taking that step, same-sex couples can enjoy many of the same aspects of marriage when they engage in a domestic partnership.
While domestic partnerships are often considered equal to marriage, this is not the case everywhere. On the federal level, these types of relationships are not recognized in the same way as in California and other states where they are legal.
Benefits of a domestic partnership
When a couple enters into a domestic partnership, there are certain benefits they can enjoy. Just like married couples, those involved in domestic partnerships can get health insurance benefits from their partner. Sick and bereavement leave, death benefits and inheritance rights, life insurance and the ability to make financial or medical decisions for partners are other benefits available.
Domestic partnerships also give same-sex couples the right to secure housing and parental leave and adoption benefits. Also, if one partner is in the hospital or gets arrested, the other gets the benefit of visitation. Sometimes, there may also be benefits available through a partner’s employer.