More than 1,138 federal rights, protections and responsibilities are denied to gay and lesbian couples. They include, but are not limited to:
- The right to have visitation rights when his/her partner falls ill
- The right to make decisions on a partnerís behalf in a medical emergency
- The right to take up to 12 weeks of leave from work to care for a seriously ill partner or parent of a partner
-The right to share a room in a nursing home
- Protections for families of crime victims, including the right to notice and information, to testify at sentencing and parole hearings, and to receive mental health services
- Family health and auto insurance policies
-After death of partner, the right to take a forced share of the estate, staying in the family home through transition protections, receiving allowances from the estate to meet current expenses, and being allowed to retain personal effects, personal property of sentimental value, and the right to drive the family car.
-After the death of partner, the right to automatic inheritance rights, spousal preference for administering the estate, and taking care of a loved oneís remains
-The right to ensure that his or her partnerís desire to make an anatomical gift is fulfilled if opposed by partnerís next of kin
-The right to bring claims of wrongful death or loss of consortium when a loved oneís death results from wrongdoings
-The right of the partner of a police officer/firefighter who was killed on the job to have access to line of duty benefits
-The right to automatically receive wages due partner at the time of his or her death
-The right to receive dependency benefits from the workerís compensation system or accidental death benefits from the retirement system if partner is injured or killed
-The right for a person who is retiring to provide their pension to their surviving partner
-The right to enter into surrogacy arrangements
-The right to petition for partner to immigrate
-The right to assume parenting rights and responsibilities when children are brought into a family through birth, adoption, surrogacy, or other means etc.
This is why I don't support civil unions (from a purely legalistic pov):
Marriage confers certain legal rights as given by the state. It is not a means of obtaining mass recognition for a relationship because there are certain people who will always disapprove of any relationship, regardless of whether it is heterosexual or homosexual.
Therefore this is a legal and rights issue and is not relevant to popular opinion. The constitution serves as a means of protecting the rights of minorities from the tyranny of the majority. The constitution is interpreted by the Supreme Court, hence its decision should be binding. This issue of "minority rights" is also why people often equate gay rights with racial rights and basic individual rights. Personally, I don't see the difference, too.
While religions may object to recognition of the marriage, this has nothing to do with the state because there is (theoretically at least) a separation of church and state.
"State marriages" should be available for all as a fundamental right. Most people here agree with this. (For those who don't agree, you should read John Rawls' legal and political philosophy to remove your head from your butt.)
These are normally called "civil unions", but I oppose this.
The reasons being that "civil unions", being "separate and equal" from the institution of marriage, often is "separate" but seldom is "equal".