Marriage is a lawful relationship between two individuals that provides different legal protections and benefits at both the state and federal levels. Civil union, on the other hand, is a legal agreement that offers same-sex couples certain legal protections. In Massachusetts, civil unions were available to same-sex couples from 2008 to 2013 before being abolished in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage.
Marriage in Massachusetts
Marriage in Massachusetts is available to all couples, including same-sex couples. By getting married in Massachusetts, couples receive a wide range of legal rights and protections at both the state and federal levels, including:
Legal Rights and Benefits of Marriage in Massachusetts
- Property rights: Married couples have the right to jointly own and distribute property.
- Inheritance rights: When a spouse passes away, their surviving spouse is entitled to a share of their property without having to pay taxes on it.
- Medical and end-of-life decision-making: Married couples can make medical decisions for each other if one becomes unable to make their own decisions.
- Bereavement leave: If one spouse loses a family member, they are entitled to take bereavement leave from work.
- Health insurance benefits: Many employers provide health insurance benefits to employees and their spouses.
- Immigration rights: If a foreign national marries a US citizen, the foreign national can apply for a green card based on marriage.
- Divorce rights: Married couples can file for divorce and go through the court system to settle any disputes or issues.
Civil Union in Massachusetts
Civil unions in Massachusetts were legal from 2008 to 2013 and offered same-sex couples certain legal rights and protections. However, civil unions were not recognized at the federal level, which meant that same-sex couples were not entitled to any federal benefits or protections, including Social Security benefits, survivor benefits, or immigration rights.
Legal Rights and Benefits of Civil Union in Massachusetts
Civil union in Massachusetts provided same-sex couples with the following rights and protections:
- Employment benefits: Employers in Massachusetts were required to extend benefits to employees in civil unions, including health insurance benefits and family leave.
- Parental rights: Couples in civil unions could adopt children together and have legal parental rights.
- Property rights: Couples in civil unions could jointly own property and distribute it among themselves.
- End-of-life decision-making: Couples in civil unions had the right to make medical decisions for their partner if they were unable to make decisions for themselves.
Why Civil Union was Abolished in Massachusetts
In 2013, Massachusetts abolished civil unions in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. The decision to abolish civil unions was based on the fact that same-sex couples were not entitled to the same legal rights and protections at the federal level as married couples. Therefore, civil unions were seen as a lesser alternative to marriage that did not offer equal protection under the law. By legalizing same-sex marriage, Massachusetts ensured that all couples had access to the same legal rights and protections at both the state and federal levels.
In Massachusetts, marriage is a lawful relationship between two individuals that offers a wide range of legal protections and benefits at both the state and federal levels. Civil unions, on the other hand, were abolished in Massachusetts in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage. While civil unions offered same-sex couples certain legal rights and protections, they were not recognized at the federal level and did not offer the same protections as marriage.
What does it mean when a couple is in a civil union?
A civil union is a legally recognized relationship between two people. It provides legal protections and benefits that are similar to those afforded to married couples. Civil unions were primarily created as a means to provide recognition in law for same-sex couples who were unable to legally marry in certain jurisdictions. However, civil unions are also available to opposite-sex couples in some places.
When a couple enters into a civil union, they are essentially signing a legal document that establishes their rights and obligations as a couple. The exact terms of the civil union can vary depending on the jurisdiction in which it is established, but some common elements include the ability to:
– Make medical decisions for each other
– Inherit from each other
– File joint tax returns
– Be covered under each other’s health insurance
– Access the same immigration benefits as married couples
In many cases, civil unions are seen as a stepping stone to full marriage equality. Supporters of civil unions argue that they provide a way for same-sex couples to receive legal protections and benefits without being able to marry, while opponents say that civil unions are a separate and unequal institution that falls short when compared to marriage.
A civil union is a legal relationship between two people that provides legal protection to the couple at the state level. It can be entered into by same-sex or opposite-sex couples, depending on the jurisdiction. While civil unions were created as a way to recognize same-sex relationships, they have become an alternative to marriage for some couples. It’s important to note that the exact terms of a civil union can vary depending on where it is established, so it is important to consult with legal experts if you are considering entering into one.
What qualifies as domestic partner in Massachusetts?
In Massachusetts, domestic partnership refers to a legal union between two individuals who share a close, committed and mutually supportive relationship, but are not married. To qualify as domestic partners in Massachusetts, the two individuals or partners must meet certain requirements and eligibility criteria, which include being in a relationship of mutual support, caring and commitment, being competent to contract, being 18 years or over and considering themselves to be a family.
The requirement of mutual support, caring and commitment implies that the partners are emotionally and financially committed to each other and exercise their partnership in a way that assures consistent support, protection, and assistance where necessary. Additionally, both partners have to consider themselves as family, which means that they have to be mutually exclusive and desirous of long-term commitment, with a vision of building a home and family together.
Furthermore, the eligibility criteria for domestic partnership include being competent to contract, which means that the partners must be capable of entering into a legally binding agreement, they must not be closely blood-related and must not be legally married to another person.
Domestic partnership in Massachusetts is a legal arrangement that allows two persons to enjoy certain rights and benefits accorded to married couples, such as healthcare coverage, hospital visitation, inheritance, and the ability to make medical decisions on behalf of their partner. To register as domestic partners in Massachusetts, the partners must file a written declaration of their partnership with the Secretary of the Commonwealth, after meeting the eligibility criteria and providing the necessary documents such as proof of residency, proof of identity, and other supportive documents as required by law.
Do domestic partners file as married?
In the United States, domestic partnerships are legal unions between two individuals who live and share a domestic life together, but who are not married. Domestic partnerships are recognized by some states and municipalities as offering many of the legal rights of marriage to couples who are not eligible to be married or prefer not to get married. However, when it comes to filing federal taxes, there is a distinction between domestic partnerships and marriages.
When it comes to filing taxes with the IRS, domestic partners are not considered to be married. Unlike marriage, the federal government does not recognize domestic partnerships. As such, domestic partners may not file a federal return using a married filing separately or jointly filing status. These statuses are reserved solely for married couples.
In terms of tax implications, not being able to file a joint return can result in some adverse outcomes for domestic partners. For example, married couples who file jointly typically enjoy higher standard deductions and greater access to certain tax credits and deductions. Without the ability to file a joint return, domestic partners may miss out on these benefits, leading to higher tax bills.
However, some states do have laws that allow domestic partners to file state taxes as married couples. It is essential to check the state laws where you live to determine your filing status for state taxes. Some states may require domestic partners to file as married if they have registered as domestic partners under state law.
While domestic partners may have many of the legal rights of married couples under state law, they do not have the same federal tax status. Domestic partners may not file a federal tax return using the married filing jointly or separately status. However, some states do allow domestic partners to file as married on state taxes, and it is important to consult with state law to determine your filing status.