Civil Unions and Domestic Partnership Statutes

7/25/2019

Several states have expanded the legal rights available to spouses in same-sex relationships through civil unions and domestic partnerships.

  • Five states allow for civil unions: Colorado, Hawaii, Illinois, Vermont and New Jersey.
  • California, District of Columbia, Maine, Nevada, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin allow for domestic partnerships while Hawaii allows for a similar relationship known as reciprocal beneficiaries.
  • Following the passage of same sex marriage laws, five states, Connecticut, Delaware, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont now allow for same sex marriages and have converted all civil unions into marriages.

All of the states that allow for civil unions or domestic partnerships now also allow for same sex marriage, either through statute or court ruling.

State

Marriage

Civil Union

Domestic Partnership

Alabama

Statute ruled unconstitutional in 2015

 

 

Alaska

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

 

Arizona

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

 

Arkansas

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2015

 

 

California

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional

 

Cal. Family Code § 297.1

(a) A person under 18 years of age who, together with the person with whom he or she proposes to establish a domestic partnership, otherwise meets the requirements for a domestic partnership other than the requirement of being at least 18 years of age, may establish a domestic partnership upon obtaining a court order granting permission to the underage person or persons to establish a domestic partnership.

 

Cal. Family Code § 298 et.seq.

(a)(1) The Secretary of State shall prepare forms entitled “Declaration of Domestic Partnership” and “Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership” to meet the requirements of this division. These forms shall require the signature and seal of an acknowledgment by a notary public to be binding and valid.

 

Cal. Family Code § 298.5

(a) Two persons desiring to become domestic partners may complete and file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State.

(b) The Secretary of State shall register the Declaration of Domestic Partnership in a registry for those partnerships, and shall return a copy of the registered form and a Certificate of Registered Domestic Partnership and, except for those opposite sex domestic partners who meet the qualifications described in subparagraph (B) of paragraph (5) of subdivision (b) of Section 297, a copy of the brochure that is made available to county clerks and the Secretary of State by the State Department of Public Health pursuant to Section 358 and distributed to individuals receiving a confidential marriage license pursuant to Section 503, to the domestic partners at the mailing address provided by the domestic partners.

(c) No person who has filed a Declaration of Domestic Partnership may file a new Declaration of Domestic Partnership or enter a civil marriage with someone other than their registered domestic partner unless the most recent domestic partnership has been terminated or a final judgment of dissolution or nullity of the most recent domestic partnership has been entered. This prohibition does not apply if the previous domestic partnership ended because one of the partners died.

Colorado

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2015

Colo. Stat. Ann. § 14-15-102 et.seq.

The general assembly declares that a second purpose of the act is to protect individuals who are or may become partners in a civil union against discrimination in employment, housing, and in places of public accommodation. The general assembly further finds that the general assembly, in the exercise of its plenary power, has the authority to define other arrangements, such as a civil union between two unmarried persons regardless of their gender, and to set forth in statute any state-level benefits, rights, and protections to which a couple is entitled by virtue of entering into a civil union.  The general assembly finds that the “Colorado Civil Union Act” does not alter the public policy of this state, which recognizes only the union of one man and one woman as a marriage. The general assembly also declares that a third purpose in enacting the “Colorado Civil Union Act” is to state that Colorado courts may offer same-sex couples the equal protection of the law and to give full faith and credit to recognize relationships legally created in other jurisdictions that are similar to civil unions created by this article and that are not otherwise recognized pursuant to Colorado law.

 

Colo. Stat. Ann. § 14-15-103

(1) “Civil union” means a relationship established by two eligible persons pursuant to this article that entitles them to receive the benefits and protections and be subject to the responsibilities of spouses.

 

Colo. Stat. Ann. § 14-15-104

(1) To establish a civil union in Colorado, the two parties to the civil union shall satisfy all of the following criteria:

(a) Both parties are adults, regardless of the gender of either party;

(b) Neither party is a party to another civil union;

(c) Neither party is married to another person.

 

Colo. Stat. Ann. § 14-15-107

(1) A party to a civil union has the rights, benefits, protections, duties, obligations, responsibilities, and other incidents under law as are granted to or imposed upon spouses, whether those rights, benefits, protections, duties, obligations, responsibilities, and other incidents derive from statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law, or any other source of law.

(2) A party to a civil union is included in any definition or use of the terms “dependent”, “family”, “heir”, “immediate family”, “next of kin”, “spouse”, and any other term that denotes the familial or spousal relationship, as those terms are used throughout the Colorado Revised Statutes.

 

Connecticut

Conn. Gen. Stat. § 46b-20

(4) “Marriage” means the legal union of two persons.

(a) A person is eligible to marry if such person is:

(1) Not a party to another marriage, or a relationship that provides substantially the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as a marriage, entered into in this state or another state or jurisdiction, unless the parties to the marriage will be the same as the parties to such other relationship;

(2) Except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, at least eighteen years of age;

 

 

Conn. Stat. § 46b-38rr

(a) Two persons who are parties to a civil union established pursuant to sections 46b-38aa to 46b-38oo, inclusive, that has not been dissolved or annulled by the parties or merged into a marriage by operation of law under section 46b-38qq as of October 1, 2010, shall be deemed to be married under chapter 815e1 on said date and such civil union shall be merged into such marriage by operation of law on said date.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subsection (a) of this section, the parties to a civil union with respect to which a proceeding for dissolution, annulment or legal separation is pending on October 1, 2010, shall not be deemed to be married on said date and such civil union shall not be merged into such marriage by operation of law but shall continue to be governed by the provisions of the general statutes applicable to civil unions in effect prior to October 1, 2010.

 

Conn. Stat. § 46b-28b

A marriage between two persons entered into in this state and recognized as valid in this state may be recognized as a marriage, or a relationship that provides substantially the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as a marriage, in another state or jurisdiction if one or both persons travel to or reside in such other state or jurisdiction.

 

Conn. Stat. § 46b-38qq

(a) On and after April 23, 2009, and prior to October 1, 2010, two persons who are parties to a civil union entered into pursuant to sections 46b-38aa to 46b-38oo, inclusive, may apply for and be issued a marriage license, provided such persons are otherwise eligible to marry under chapter 815e1 and the parties to the marriage will be the same as the parties to the civil union.

(b) After the celebration of such marriage and upon the recording of the license certificate or notarized affidavit with the registrar of vital statistics of the town where the marriage took place pursuant to section 46b-34, the civil union of such persons shall be merged into the marriage by operation of law as of the date of the marriage stated in the certificate or affidavit.

 

Delaware

Del. Code tit. 13, § 129

(a) All laws of this State applicable to marriage or married spouses or the children of married spouses, whether derived from statutes, administrative rules or regulations, court rules, governmental policies, common law, court decisions, or any other provisions or sources of law, including in equity, shall apply equally to same-gender and different-gender married couples and their children.

(c) To the extent that provisions of the laws of this State, whether derived from statutes, administrative rules or regulations, court rules, governmental policies, common law, court decisions, or any other provisions or sources of law, including in equity, adopt, refer to, or rely upon in any manner, provisions of United States federal law that would have the effect of treating differently same-gender married spouses or their children as compared to different-gender married spouses or their children, same-gender married spouses and their children shall be treated in all respects by the laws of this State as if United States federal law recognizes a marriage between persons of the same gender in the same manner as the laws of this State.

(f) All persons who enter into same-gender marriages that are solemnized in this State or are created by conversion from a civil union under the laws of this State consent to the nonexclusive jurisdiction of the Family Court of this State for all proceedings for divorce and annulment of such marriage, even if 1 or both parties no longer reside in this State, as set forth in § 1504 of this title.

 

 

 

 

Del. Stat. tit. 13, § 201 et.seq.

As used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) “Civil union” means a legal union between 2 individuals of the same sex established pursuant to this chapter.

(2) “Party” or “party to a civil union” means an individual who is a party to a civil union established pursuant to this chapter.

 

Del. Stat. tit. 13, § 202

Persons shall be eligible to enter into a civil union only if such persons both are:

(1) Not:

a. A party to a civil union with a different person;

b. A spouse in a marriage that is recognized as a marriage under Chapter 1 of this title; or

c. A party to a substantially similar legal relationship as a civil union such as, but not limited to, a domestic partnership, with a different person;

(2) At least 18 years of age;

(3) Of the same sex; and

(4) Not related to the other proposed party to the civil union, as provided in § 203 of this title.

 

Del. Stat. tit. 13, § 207

(a) Before any civil union license shall be issued by the issuing officer, the parties desiring to enter into a civil union shall together appear before such officer to be examined upon oath or affirmation in the presence and hearing of each other according to the form prescribed by subsections (b), (c) and (d) of this section to which the parties applying for the license shall subscribe their names. The license shall be issued only after it has been made to appear that no legal impediment to the proposed civil union exists.

 

District of Columbia

D.C. Code § 46-401

(a) Marriage is the legally recognized union of 2 persons. Any person may enter into a marriage in the District of Columbia with another person, regardless of gender, unless the marriage is expressly prohibited by § 46-401.01 or § 46-403.

(b) Where necessary to implement the rights and responsibilities relating to the marital relationship or familial relationships, gender-specific terms shall be construed to be gender neutral for all purposes throughout the law, whether in the context of statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law, or any other source of civil law.

 

 

D.C. Code § 32-701 et.seq.

(3) “Domestic partner” means a person with whom an individual maintains a committed relationship as defined in paragraph (1) of this section and who has registered under § 32-702(a) or whose relationship is recognized under § 32-702(i). Each partner shall:

(A) Be at least 18 years old and competent to contract;

(B) Be the sole domestic partner of the other person; and

(C) Not be married.

(4) “Domestic partnership” means the relationship between 2 persons who become domestic partners by registering in accordance with § 32-702(a) or whose relationship is recognized under § 32-702(i).

 

D.C. Code § 32-702

(a) To establish the existence of a domestic partnership and to qualify for benefits under §§ 32-704, 32-705, and 32-706, persons shall register as domestic partners by executing a declaration of domestic partnership to be filed with the Mayor. For the purposes of this section, the declaration shall be signed by the domestic partners and shall affirm under penalty of perjury that each domestic partner:

(1) Is at least 18 years old and competent to contract;

(2) Is the sole domestic partner of the other person;

(3) Is not married; and

(4) Is in a committed relationship with the other person.

Florida

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

 

Georgia

Unconstitutional under Obergefell v. Hodges

 

 

Guam

Guam Code tit. 10, § 3207

(h) Marriage means the legal union between two persons without regard to gender. The legality of the union may be established by civil or religious regulations, as recognized by the laws of Guam.

 

 

 

Hawaii

 

Hawaii Stat. § 572C-1 et.seq. (reciprocal beneficiaries).

Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 572-1

In order to make valid the marriage contract, which shall be permitted between two individuals without regard to gender, it shall be necessary that:

(1) The respective parties do not stand in relation to each other of ancestor and descendant of any degree whatsoever, two siblings of the half as well as to the whole blood, uncle and niece, uncle and nephew, aunt and nephew, or aunt and niece, whether the relationship is the result of the issue of parents married or not married to each other or parents who are partners in a civil union or not partners in a civil union;

(2) Each of the parties at the time of contracting the marriage is at least sixteen years of age; provided that with the written approval of the family court of the circuit within which the minor resides, it shall be lawful for a person under the age of sixteen years, but in no event under the age of fifteen years, to marry, subject to section 572-2;

 (3) Neither party has at the time any lawful wife, husband, or civil union partner living, except as provided in section 572-1.7;

(4) Consent of neither party to the marriage has been obtained by force, duress, or fraud;

(5) Neither of the parties is a person afflicted with any loathsome disease concealed from, and unknown to, the other party;

(6) The parties to be married in the State shall have duly obtained a license for that purpose from the agent appointed to grant marriage licenses; and

(7) The marriage ceremony be performed in the State by a person or society with a valid license to solemnize marriages and the parties to be married and the person performing the marriage ceremony be all physically present at the same place and time for the marriage ceremony.

 

Hawaii Rev. Stat. § 88-1.2

For the purposes of this chapter, the terms “married”, “marriage”, “marital”, “husband”, “wife”, or similar spousal terms shall include civil union partners and civil unions under chapter 572B, unless recognition of a civil union as a marriage conflicts with the requirements for the system to be a tax-qualified plan under section 401(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended.

 

Hawaii Stat. § 572-1.71

(a) Two individuals who are civil union partners or reciprocal beneficiaries with each other and who seek to marry each other shall be permitted to apply for a marriage license under section 572-6 and to marry each other under this chapter without first terminating their civil union or reciprocal beneficiary relationship; provided that the two individuals are otherwise eligible to marry under this chapter.

 (d) The rights, benefits, protections, and responsibilities created by the civil union or reciprocal beneficiary relationship shall be continuous through the marriage and deemed to have accrued as of the first date these rights existed under the civil union or reciprocal beneficiary relationship; provided that the civil union or reciprocal beneficiary relationship was in effect at the time of the solemnization of the couple's marriage to each other.

 

Hawaii Stat. § 572B-1 et. Seq.

“Civil union” means a union between two individuals established pursuant to this chapter.

A person shall be eligible to enter into a civil union only if the person is:

(1) Not a partner in another civil union or a spouse in a marriage;

(2) At least eighteen years of age; and

(3) Not related to the other proposed partner in the civil union, as provided in section 572B-3.

Hawaii Stat. § 572c-3

“Declaration of reciprocal beneficiary relationship” means a statement in a form issued by the director that declares the intent of two people to enter into a relationship. By signing it, two people swear under penalty of perjury that they meet the requirements for a valid reciprocal beneficiary relationship.

 

“Reciprocal beneficiaries” means two adults who are parties to a valid reciprocal beneficiary relationship and meet the requisites for a valid reciprocal beneficiary relationship as defined in section 572C-4.

 

Hawaii Stat. § 572c-4

In order to enter into a valid reciprocal beneficiary relationship, it shall be necessary that:

(1) Each of the parties be at least eighteen years old;

(2) Neither of the parties be married, a party to another reciprocal beneficiary relationship, or a partner in a civil union;

(3) The parties be legally prohibited from marrying one another under chapter 572;

(4) Consent of either party to the reciprocal beneficiary relationship has not been obtained by force, duress, or fraud; and

(5) Each of the parties sign a declaration of reciprocal beneficiary relationship as provided

 

 

Idaho

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

 

Illinois

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 750, § 5/201

A marriage between 2 persons licensed, solemnized and registered as provided in this Act is valid in this State.

 

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 750, § 75/30

(a) The Director of Public Health shall prescribe the form for an application, license, and certificate for a civil union.

(b) An application for a civil union shall include the following information:

(1) name, sex, occupation, address, social security number, date and place of birth of each party to the civil union;

(2) name and address of the parents or guardian of each party;

(3) whether the parties are related to each other and, if so, their relationship; and

(4) in the event either party was previously married or entered into a civil union or a substantially similar legal relationship, provide the name, date, place and the court in which the marriage or civil union or substantially similar legal relationship was dissolved or declared invalid or the date and place of death of the former spouse or of the party to the civil union or substantially similar legal relationship.

 

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 750, § 80/10

(a) All laws of this State applicable to marriage, whether they derive from statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law, or any other source of civil or criminal law, shall apply equally to marriages of same-sex and different-sex couples and their children.

(b) Parties to a marriage and their children, regardless of whether the marriage consists of a same-sex or different-sex couple, shall have all the same benefits, protections, and responsibilities under law, whether they derive from statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law, or any other source of civil or criminal law.

 

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 750, § 75/10

“Civil union” means a legal relationship between 2 persons, of either the same or opposite sex, established pursuant to this Act.

“Party to a civil union” means a person who has established a civil union pursuant to this Act. “Party to a civil union” means, and shall be included in, any definition or use of the terms “spouse”, “family”, “immediate family”, “dependent”, “next of kin”, and other terms that denote the spousal relationship, as those terms are used throughout the law.

 

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 750, § 75/20

A party to a civil union is entitled to the same legal obligations, responsibilities, protections, and benefits as are afforded or recognized by the law of Illinois to spouses, whether they derive from statute, administrative rule, policy, common law, or any other source of civil or criminal law.

 

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 750, § 75/60

A civil union, or a substantially similar legal relationship other than common law marriage, legally entered into in another jurisdiction, shall be recognized in Illinois as a civil union. A marriage, whether of the same sex or different sexes and providing that it is not a common law marriage, legally entered into in another jurisdiction, shall be recognized in this State as a marriage in accordance with the provisions of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act, except that Section 216 of the Illinois Marriage and Dissolution of Marriage Act shall not apply to marriages of same-sex couples validly entered into in another jurisdiction.

 

Ill. Rev. Stat. ch. 750, § 80-1

(a) All laws of this State applicable to marriage, whether they derive from statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law, or any other source of civil or criminal law, shall apply equally to marriages of same-sex and different-sex couples and their children.

 

Indiana

Statute ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

 

Iowa

Statute ruled unconstitutional in 2009

 

 

Kansas

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2015

 

 

Kentucky

Unconstitutional under Obergefell v. Hodges

 

 

Louisiana

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2015

 

 

Maine

Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 19-A, § 650-A

Marriage is the legally recognized union of 2 people. Gender-specific terms relating to the marital relationship or familial relationships must be construed to be gender-neutral for all purposes throughout the law, whether in the context of statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law or any other source of civil law.

 

Me. Rev. Stat. tit. 19-A, § 650-B

A marriage of a same-sex couple that is validly licensed and certified in another jurisdiction is recognized for all purposes under the laws of this State.

 

 

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 22 § 2710

2. Registered domestic partners; eligibility. Domestic partners may become registered domestic partners if:

A. At the time when a declaration under subsection 3 is filed, each domestic partner is a mentally competent adult and not impaired or related in a fashion that would prohibit marriage under Title 19-A, section 701, subsection 2, 3 or 4;

B. The domestic partners have been legally domiciled together in this State for at least 12 months preceding the filing;

C. Neither domestic partner is married or in a registered domestic partnership with another person; and

D. Each domestic partner is the sole domestic partner of the other and expects to remain so.

 

As used in this section, “domestic partners” means 2 unmarried adults who are domiciled together under long-term arrangements that evidence a commitment to remain responsible indefinitely for each other's welfare.

Maryland

Md. Fam. Law § 2-201

Valid Marriages

(b) Only a marriage between two individuals who are not otherwise prohibited from marrying is valid in this State.

 

 

Massachusetts

Statute ruled unconstitutional in 2003

 

 

Michigan

Unconstitutional under Obergefell v. Hodges

 

 

Minnesota

Minn. Stat. § 517.01

A civil marriage, so far as its validity in law is concerned, is a civil contract between two persons, to which the consent of the parties, capable in law of contracting, is essential. A lawful civil marriage may be contracted only when a license has been obtained as provided by law and when the civil marriage is contracted in the presence of two witnesses and solemnized by one authorized, or whom one or both of the parties in good faith believe to be authorized, so to do. Marriages subsequent to April 26, 1941, not so contracted shall be null and void.

 

Minn. Stat. § 517.02

Every person who has attained the full age of 18 years is capable in law of contracting into a civil marriage, if otherwise competent. A person of the full age of 16 years may, with the consent of the person's legal custodial parents, guardian, or the court, as provided in section 517.08, receive a license to marry, when, after a careful inquiry into the facts and the surrounding circumstances, the person's application for a license and consent for civil marriage of a minor form is approved by the judge of the district court of the county in which the person resides. If the judge of the district court of the county in which the person resides is absent from the county and has not by order assigned another judge or a retired judge to act in the judge's stead, then the court commissioner or any judge of district court of the county may approve the application for a license

 

 

Mississippi

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

 

Missouri

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

 

Montana

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

 

Nebraska

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2015

 

 

Nevada

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

Nev. Rev. Stat. § 122A.200

(a) Domestic partners have the same rights, protections and benefits, and are subject to the same responsibilities, obligations and duties under law, whether derived from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon spouses.

(b) Former domestic partners have the same rights, protections and benefits, and are subject to the same responsibilities, obligations and duties under law, whether derived from statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law or any other provisions or sources of law, as are granted to and imposed upon former spouses.

 

(j) For the purposes of the statutes, administrative regulations, court rules, government policies, common law and any other provision or source of law governing the rights, protections and benefits, and the responsibilities, obligations and duties of domestic partners in this State, as effectuated by the provisions of this chapter, with respect to:

(1) Community property;

(2) Mutual responsibility for debts to third parties;

(3) The right in particular circumstances of either partner to seek financial support from the other following the dissolution of the partnership; and

(4) Other rights and duties as between the partners concerning ownership of property,

New Hampshire

N.H. Stat. § 457:1-a

Marriage is the legally recognized union of 2 people. Any person who otherwise meets the eligibility requirements of this chapter may marry any other eligible person regardless of gender. Each party to a marriage shall be designated “bride,” “groom,” or “spouse.”

 

N.H. Stat. § 457:452

A civil union legally contracted outside of New Hampshire, or any legal union other than a marriage that provides substantially the same rights, benefits and responsibilities as a marriage that is legally contracted outside of New Hampshire, shall be recognized as a marriage in this state, and any person in such legal union contracted outside of New Hampshire may also marry the same party in New Hampshire without the dissolution of such legal union, provided that the relationship does not violate the prohibitions of this chapter.

 

New Jersey

N.J. Stat. § 37:1-8

Same-sex marriage became legal in New Jersey in October 2013 following the New Jersey Superior Court ruling in Garden State Equality v. Dow.

N.J. Stat. § 37:1-30 (ruled unconstitutional in 2013)3

For two persons to establish a civil union in this State, it shall be necessary that they satisfy all of the following criteria:

a. Not be a party to another civil union, domestic partnership or marriage in this State;

b. Be of the same sex; and

c. Be at least 18 years of age.

N.J. Stat. § 26:8A-1

a. There are a significant number of individuals in this State who choose to live together in important personal, emotional and economic committed relationships with another individual;

b. These familial relationships, which are known as domestic partnerships, assist the State by their establishment of a private network of support for the financial, physical and emotional health of their participants;

d. All persons in domestic partnerships should be entitled to certain rights and benefits that are accorded to married couples under the laws of New Jersey, including: statutory protection through the “Law Against Discrimination,” P.L.1945, c. 169 (C.10:5-1 et seq.) against various forms of discrimination based on domestic partnership status, such as employment, housing and credit discrimination; visitation rights for a hospitalized domestic partner and the right to make medical or legal decisions for an incapacitated partner; and an additional exemption from the personal income tax and the transfer inheritance tax on the same basis as a spouse.

New Mexico

N.M. Const. Art. 2, § 18

No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law; nor shall any person be denied equal protection of the laws. Equality of rights under law shall not be denied on account of the sex of any person.

 

N.M. Stat. Ann. § 40-1-4

All marriages celebrated beyond the limits of this state, which are valid according to the laws of the country wherein they were celebrated or contracted, shall be likewise valid in this state, and shall have the same force as if they had been celebrated in accordance with the laws in force in this state.

 

 

New York

N.Y. Dom. Rel. § 10-a

1. A marriage that is otherwise valid shall be valid regardless of whether the parties to the marriage are of the same or different sex.

2. No government treatment or legal status, effect, right, benefit, privilege, protection or responsibility relating to marriage, whether deriving from statute, administrative or court rule, public policy, common law or any other source of law, shall differ based on the parties to the marriage being or having been of the same sex rather than a different sex. When necessary to implement the rights and responsibilities of spouses under the law, all gender-specific language or terms shall be construed in a gender-neutral manner in all such sources of law.

 

 

 

North Carolina

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

 

North Dakota

Unconstitutional under Obergefell v. Hodges

 

 

Ohio

Unconstitutional under Obergefell v. Hodges

 

 

Oklahoma

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

 

Oregon

Constitution provision ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

Or. Stat. Ann. § 106.310

(1) “Domestic partnership” means a civil contract described in ORS 106.300 to 106.340 entered into in person between two individuals of the same sex who are at least 18 years of age, who are otherwise capable and at least one of whom is a resident of Oregon.

(2) “Partner” means an individual joined in a domestic partnership.

 

Or. Stat. Ann. § 106.325

(1) Two individuals wishing to become partners in a domestic partnership may complete and file a Declaration of Domestic Partnership with the county clerk.

(2) In accordance with the requirements of this section, the county clerk shall register the Declaration of Domestic Partnership in a domestic partnership registry and return a copy of the registered form and a Certificate of Registered Domestic Partnership to the partners in person or at the mailing address provided by the partners.

(3) An individual who has filed a Declaration of Domestic Partnership may not file a new Declaration of Domestic Partnership or enter a marriage with someone other than the individual’s registered partner unless a judgment of dissolution or annulment of the most recent domestic partnership has been entered. This prohibition does not apply if the previous domestic partnership ended because one of the partners died.

Pennsylvania

Statute ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

 

Puerto Rico

Recognized under Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015

 

 

Rhode Island

R.I. Stat. § 15-1-1

Any person who otherwise meets the eligibility requirements of chapters 15-1 and 15-2 may marry any other eligible person regardless of gender.

 

R.I. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 15-3.1-14

(1) “Certificate of civil union” means a document that certifies that the persons named on the certificate have established a civil union in compliance with this chapter.

(2) “Civil union” means a legal union between two individuals of the same sex established pursuant to this chapter.

(3) “Party to a civil union” means a person who has established a civil union pursuant to this chapter.

 

R.I. Gen Stat. Ann. § 15-3.1-2

Persons shall be eligible to enter into a civil union only if both such persons are:

(1) At least eighteen (18) years of age;

(2) Of the same sex;

(3) Not a party to another civil union or a spouse in a marriage with any other person;

(4) Not in a family relationship within the degrees stated in Rhode Island general laws § 15-1-1 or § 15-1-2; and

(5) Neither person is mentally incompetent at the time of the civil union.

 

R.I. Gen Stat. Ann. § 15-3.1-2

(a) On and after the effective date of this section, two (2) persons who are parties to a civil union entered into pursuant to this chapter may apply for and be issued a marriage license and have such marriage solemnized pursuant to chapters 15-1 to 15-3 of the general laws, provided such persons are otherwise eligible to marry under chapter 15-1 as amended herein, and the parties to the marriage will be the same as the parties to the civil union. After the solemnization of such marriage, and upon filing of the license and certificate of marriage with the clerk in the town or city from which the license was issued pursuant to § 15-2-1, of the civil union of such persons shall be merged into the marriage by operation of law as of the date of the recording of the marriage certificate and shall be effective as of the date of the recording of the marriage certificate.

 

South Carolina

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

 

South Dakota

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

 

Tennessee

Unconstitutional under Obergefell v. Hodges

 

 

Texas

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2015

 

 

Utah

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

 

Vermont

Vt. Stat. tit. 15, § 8

Marriage is the legally recognized union of two people. When used in this chapter or in any other statute, the word “marriage” shall mean a civil marriage. Terms relating to the marital relationship or familial relationships shall be construed consistently with this section for all purposes throughout the law, whether in the context of statute, administrative or court rule, policy, common law, or any other source of civil law.

 

Vt. Stat. tit. 15, § 1201 et.seq.5

(1) “Certificate of civil union” means a document that certifies that the persons named on the certificate have established a civil union in this state in compliance with this chapter and 18 V.S.A. chapter 106.

(2) “Civil union” means that two eligible persons have established a relationship pursuant to this chapter, and may receive the benefits and protections and be subject to the responsibilities of spouses.

 

Vt. Stat. tit. 15, § 1202

For a civil union to be established in Vermont, it shall be necessary that the parties to a civil union satisfy all of the following criteria:

(1) Not be a party to another civil union or a marriage.

(2) Be of the same sex.

(3) Meet the criteria and obligations set forth in 18 V.S.A. chapter 106.

 

Virgin Islands

Recognized under Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015

 

 

Virginia

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

 

Washington

Wash. Rev. Code § 26.04.010

(1) Marriage is a civil contract between two persons who have each attained the age of eighteen years, and who are otherwise capable.

(3) Where necessary to implement the rights and responsibilities of spouses under the law, gender specific terms such as husband and wife used in any statute, rule, or other law must be construed to be gender neutral and applicable to spouses of the same sex.

 

 

Wash. Stat. § 26.60.010 et.seq.

Many Washingtonians are in intimate, committed, and exclusive relationships with another person to whom they are not legally married. These relationships are important to the individuals involved and their families; they also benefit the public by providing a private source of mutual support for the financial, physical, and emotional health of those individuals and their families. The public has an interest in providing a legal framework for such mutually supportive relationships, whether the partners are of the same or different sexes, and irrespective of their sexual orientation.

 

The legislature finds that the public interest would be served by extending rights and benefits to couples in which either or both of the partners are at least sixty-two years of age. While these couples are entitled to marry under the state's marriage statutes, some social security and pension laws nevertheless make it impractical for these couples to marry. For this reason, chapter 156, Laws of 2007 specifically allows couples to enter into a state registered domestic partnership if one of the persons is at least sixty-two years of age, the age at which many people choose to retire and are eligible to begin collecting social security and pension benefits.

West Virginia

2014 Governor press release directing state agencies to act in accordance with 4th circuit’s finding that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional.

 

 

Wisconsin

Constitution and statutory provisions ruled unconstitutional in 2014

 

Wis. Stat. Ann. § 770.01

(1) “Domestic partner” means an individual who has signed and filed a declaration of domestic partnership in the office of the register of deeds of the county in which he or she resides.

(2) “Domestic partnership” means the legal relationship that is formed between 2 individuals under this chapter.

 

Wis. Stat. Ann. § 770.05

2 individuals may form a domestic partnership if they satisfy all of the following criteria:

(1) Each individual is at least 18 years old and capable of consenting to the domestic partnership.

(2) Neither individual is married to, or in a domestic partnership with, another individual.

(3) The 2 individuals share a common residence. Two individuals may share a common residence even if any of the following applies:

(a) Only one of the individuals has legal ownership of the residence.

(b) One or both of the individuals have one or more additional residences not shared with the other individual.

(c) One of the individuals leaves the common residence with the intent to return.

(4) The 2 individuals are not nearer of kin to each other than 2nd cousins, whether of the whole or half blood or by adoption.

(5) The individuals are members of the same sex.

Wyoming

Unconstitutional under Obergefell v. Hodges

 

 

Source: Effect of Civil Unions/Domestic Partnerships, Thomson Reuters, 0060 SURVEYS 20, 2018 (accessed on Westlaw); NCSL research using Westlaw and StateNet, a service of LexisNexis.

1 Civil Unions can turn into marriages if the parties desire.

2 All Civil Union statutes have been repealed. All civil unions legally contracted outside of New Hampshire shall be recognized as marriages by the state of New Hampshire.

3 Ruled unconstitutional in 2013 by Garden State Equality v. Dow. Statute was not amended based on ruling. Ruling allowed same sex couples to enter into marriage recognized by the State of New Jersey.

4 Conversion of a civil union into a marriage is optional and does not occur automatically.

5 The Vermont Legislature passed a bill in April 2009 legalizing same sex marriages. The civil union code was not repealed by this bill and remains on the books.

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