Why Federal Same-Sex Marriage?
Some of my straight friends and family have asked recently, “why it is so important for same-sex couples to get legally married on the federal level?” They really don’t understand why domestic partnerships or marriage at the state level is not fair/good enough. It really is astonishing how many straight, married people take their rights for granted the day they say “I do”. I try to drill into their heads that there are over 1,000 rights straight-married couples have that same-sex couples will not be given until marriage on the federal level becomes a reality for them. My partner suggested I make a simple chart outlining some of those benefits, so here it is.
It is extremely important to keep in mind that the categories Marriage by State benefits and Domestic Partner benefits only apply while the couple resides within the state that they signed legal papers in. Because other states do not recognize their legal relationship as soon as they leave the state they reside in, or even visit another state, the couple loses their legal rights such as hospital visitation rights, medical decision rights or step-parent adoption rights. They are only recognized as “two same-sex people who are in a relationship” – period.
Also, many of the rights listed in the chart for domestic-partnerships are rights that are granted by the company a person works for – not the state. Companies have the right to set its policies on what it will or will not include in domestic-partnership rights. These rights can be granted in states which there are no marriage or domestic-partnership laws.
If you want to know which companies have broad domestic-partnerships rights and which do not, check out my blog post Support Companies that Support Equality.
I’ve tried to keep this list short because the reasoning behind it is to get the point across that domestic-partnerships and marriages at the state level are nowhere near equal to (straight) marriage at the federal level. This is why we fight. This is why it is so important to realized that Separate is Not Equal.