Template talk:Same-sex unions in the United States
|WikiProject United States||(Rated Template-class)|
|WikiProject LGBT studies||(Rated Template-class)|
Add Pride Flag? 
Since the template is about "Same-Sex" marriage in the "United States"; and since there's the US flag on one side, would it make sense to add the Pride flag on the other side of the box? -- SatyrTN 04:48, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
- I too considered whether such an image would be appropriate when I launched the template. I had translated the template from the original template at nl:Sjabloon:Homohuwelijk VS. The Netherlands was the first to legalize same-sex marriage, and when I saw the template on the Dutch Wikipedia article nl:Federal Marriage Amendment, I sensed it was needed here too. I regard the issue of same-sex marriage belonging more to the legal realm, so the American flag is fitting. However, I am open to ideas for improvement. GilliamJF 05:49, 7 August 2006 (UTC)
Divide the "civil unions & domestic partnerships" line? 
As there is a distinct legal and social difference between civil unions and domestic partnerships, what do people think about creating two new classifications? One would obviously be called "civil unions," but the other category encompasses more than just domestic partnerships. While a civil union should mean the same thing in each jurisdiction where it is an option, domestic partnerships are an entirely different matter; the scope of rights extended varies by jurisdiction. Additionally, some states don't even call them domestic partnerships. For example, Hawaii refers to its bundle of rights and privileges as 'reciprocal beneficiaries.' What do people think about this issue? Ronnotronald 15:01, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
- Actually, there isn't a distinct legal and social difference between civil unions and domestic partnerships. A domestic partnership in California is defined as granting all the rights and responsibilities of marraige under state law, just like civil unions in Connecticut and Vermont. The terms are in essence being made up as they go along in the U.S. --Jfruh (talk) 18:34, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
- To be sure, there is most certainly a distinction between civil unions and domestic partnerships. Here are just a few:
- 1. While Jfruh is correct that a CA domestic partnership (DP) is very similar to a civil union, the CA model for DPs is just one of many. Each state that has enacted DP legislation has chosen to treat it differently, broadening or constricting the rights accorded to the relationship; there is no singular type of partnership that each state adheres to. This lack of uniformity makes DPs very different from civil unions. A NJ civil union is the same as a CT civil union, which is the same as a VT civil union. There may be some superficial differences, but for the most part, they are identical legal constructs. This sameness allows for greater portability between states and a provides greater argument for them to be recognized in states that don't recognize civil unions. On the other hand, a DP means something different in each state that it has been enacted in. Some states provide for property rights, others don't. Some don't allow for tax rights, others do. This difference in meaning creates an ambiguity to the status or recognition of a DP in a state other than the one it was created in and this is probably the biggest difference between the two (civil unions and DPs).
- 2. Civil unions, like marriages, must always be dissolved in court. Like divorce, dissolutions can be a costly and lengthy procedure. In many instances though, all that is required to dissolve a DP (in California, that is) is the simple filling out of a form. Once filled out, the partnership would be dissolved after six months. Other jurisdictions provide for a basic form to be filled out, with no formal dissolution process needing to be completed.
- 3. The very real legal differences aside, there is also a unique social difference as well. As the social attitudes in this area are evolving rapdily, beliefs regarding this subject may change quickly. It's my understanding now though that a civil union is seen in the popular culture as something analagous to marriage (whether or not this belief is actually true in a legal sense is another topic for another day), however, DP's are not seen on equal footing as marriage. They are considered something less than marriage, a stepping stone or "marriage-lite."
- Jfruh is right that these terms are being "made up as they go along," and I would submit that this is the exact reason why we should be more precise in our handling of the words. Because of the 'quick and dirty' way that these laws are being enacted, it is important that we try and figure out and classify what is the same and what is different. That way, this confusing jumble of laws and statutes is made simpler and more user-friendly.126.96.36.199 20:59, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
- Hi 188.8.131.52:
- I absolutely agree with you when you say "I would submit that this is the exact reason why we should be more precise in our handling of the words. Because of the 'quick and dirty' way that these laws are being enacted, it is important that we try and figure out and classify what is the same and what is different. That way, this confusing jumble of laws and statutes is made simpler and more user-friendly." However, the "we" in that sentence ought to be "we as citizens, acivists, and lawmakers". "We" as Wikipedia editors need to reflect reality as it is, not try to make reality neater and more easily categorized because it makes Wikipedia articles easier to follow.
- My large-scale point about "making things up as they go along" is that individual states are using these terms in ways that are not under some kind of central control or jurisdiction. There is no authority to prevent a state tomorrow from creating a legal institution called a "civil union" that does not carry all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, or to prevent it from creating an institution called a "domestic partnership" that does carry all those rights and responsiblities. By my count, in the US, there are three jurisdictions that use the "civil unions" term, three that use the "domestic partnership" term, and one that uses the "reciprocal benefits" term. This is not a large enough sample size to make assumptions, especially because, as you note, none of these institutions -- not even civil unions -- are uniform across states.
- To answer your specific responses:
- Civil unions, like marriages, must always be dissolved in court. Like divorce, dissolutions can be a costly and lengthy procedure. In many instances though, all that is required to dissolve a DP (in California, that is) is the simple filling out of a form. Actually, according to the relevant article: In most cases, a domestic partnership must be dissolved through filing a court action identical to an action for dissolution of marriage. In limited circumstances, however, a filing with the Secretary of State may suffice. (Emphasis mine.)
- The very real legal differences aside, there is also a unique social difference as well. As the social attitudes in this area are evolving rapdily, beliefs regarding this subject may change quickly. It's my understanding now though that a civil union is seen in the popular culture as something analagous to marriage (whether or not this belief is actually true in a legal sense is another topic for another day), however, DP's are not seen on equal footing as marriage. They are considered something less than marriage, a stepping stone or "marriage-lite."' First off, you can't just assert that this is widely held belief; you have to back it up with cited sources. Second of all, I feel that Wikipedia's job should primarily be to tell people what the facts are. If there is a legal status called "domestic partnership" that is equivalent in all but name to a "civil union", then people's perception that one is more like a marriage than the other is incorrect, no matter how widely held, and the article should serve to disabuse them of that notion. --Jfruh (talk) 21:42, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
My responses are below (I’ve put your quotes in italics):
…"We" as Wikipedia editors need to reflect reality as it is, not try to make reality neater and more easily categorized because it makes Wikipedia articles easier to follow.
I would disagree with you and say that is exactly what we are supposed to do. Information is a powerful tool, and it becomes that much more powerful when delivered in a user-friendly format. The fact that the reality of the situation is so convoluted is precisely the reason people are in the dark about this subject. By shedding an organized light on a very disorganized reality, it serves to make that reality more accessible to people. And I would argue that accessibility to information is one of the very goals of Wikipedia.
Your position seems to be one that would impede that goal for the sake of having dissemination of information mirror the complicated landscape it seeks to explain. Let me be clear by saying that clarification of this issue does not distort the truth in any way. Under the new format, people would still know that civil unions are different from DPs, which both are distinct from marriage, and that many states have yet to make up their respective minds as to how to deal with the issue. We’re just providing that information in a more easily digestible format.
My large-scale point about "making things up as they go along" is that individual states are using these terms in ways that are not under some kind of central control or jurisdiction. There is no authority to prevent a state tomorrow from creating a legal institution called a "civil union" that does not carry all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, or to prevent it from creating an institution called a "domestic partnership" that does carry all those rights and responsibilities.
1. There are many jurisdictions where there is authority preventing just such an occurrence from happening. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court made it perfectly clear that, so far as the Massachusetts Constitution is concerned, you can’t call a committed gay couple in a marriage-like relationship anything other than a marriage. On the other end of the spectrum, many states have amended their own constitutions to prevent calling such relationships marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, or anything else. Absent a constitutional amendment in all of these jurisdictions, neither the legislatures nor the courts can do anything about it.
2. For those other jurisdictions, you are correct. There is no authority preventing a state from creating legal recognition for same-sex relationships and calling them civil unions or DPs, regardless of the scope of rights included in the relationship, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. That’s the beauty of federalism, it allows states to govern as they please, and for the most part, other states can’t tell them what to do. So you’re right, in those other states, there is a possibility that these states can do what you’re supposing. But the state of the law as it currently stands is that no state has chosen to create civil unions and have them include anything less than all the rights of a married couple. You are 100% correct that there is nothing stopping a state from creating civil unions which don’t encompass all the rights of marriage. But like I said, no state has done so, and there isn’t any pending legislation trying to do so either.
By my count, in the US, there are three jurisdictions that use the "civil unions" term, three that use the "domestic partnership" term, and one that uses the "reciprocal benefits" term. This is not a large enough sample size to make assumptions, especially because, as you note, none of these institutions -- not even civil unions -- are uniform across states.
While you are right that there is a paucity of states that have adopted any form of legal recognition for same-sex couples, that does not mean that there isn’t a trend in the naming conventions. Since the 1980’s, jurisdictions have been using the term DP to describe a relationship between two people who are not married. While only ME and DC choose to grant DP right on a broader level, there are many counties and cities which have created DPs. Some have had these rights in place for over 20 years (e.g. San Francisco). True, only three states have followed the model of using the term ‘civil union’ to describe a status equal to marriage in everything but name only, the national trend is pretty clear in distinguishing DPs from marriage. It seems pretty entrenched that DP’s are viewed as something less than marriage.
You are right that only three states have chosen to use the term civil union to define a relationship on par with marriage. I would argue though that jurisprudentially though, there is a clear trend towards referring to a marriage for same-sex couples as a civil union. The VT case which established civil unions has been cited positively dozens of time. Each time it is cited to positively by another case, it only strengthens the decision and the principles behind the decision. In other words, all those positive citations are another form of backing up the choice to name this type of relationship ‘civil unions.’
Some might argue that CA flouts the position I’m arguing by granting full marriage rights and not calling it either a civil union or a marriage, but this is incorrect. While the state has given a broader scope of rights with its DP legislation than any other state, it falls short of granting full marital rights and responsibilities. At a quick glance, a CA DP would seem the same as a civil union. A closer examination of the law reveals differences though, such as the fact that a CA DP is available to certain opposite sex couples (parties to a civil unions must be of the same sex) or that no ceremony is required to establish the partnership (In marriages and civil unions, a ceremony, whether religious or secular, must be performed to solemnize the relationship. The requirements for a ceremony are very bare, but it still must be performed). These differences and exceptions, however subtle and small, are very real. For accuracy’s sake, which I would hope is an important component to any Wikipedia article, I think the wisest choice is to note the distinction as I’ve suggested.
Civil unions, like marriages, must always be dissolved in court. Like divorce, dissolutions can be a costly and lengthy procedure. In many instances though, all that is required to dissolve a DP (in California, that is) is the simple filling out of a form. Actually, according to the relevant article: In most cases, a domestic partnership must be dissolved through filing a court action identical to an action for dissolution of marriage. In limited circumstances, however, a filing with the Secretary of State may suffice. (Emphasis mine.)
You are correct in pointing out that the dissolution procedure is very similar to that of a civil union or marriage. However the difference, no matter how slight, is still present.
If there is a legal status called "domestic partnership" that is equivalent in all but name to a "civil union", then people's perception that one is more like a marriage than the other is incorrect, no matter how widely held, and the article should serve to disabuse them of that notion.
I strongly believe that this perception (that a civil union is more like a marriage as opposed to a DP) is correct. A survey of dictionaries affirms this perception as well. Legal dictionaries, regular dictionaries, and even the Wiki Dictionary all hinge their definition of domestic partnership on the fact that the people in a DP are not married. To try and use the term DP and marriage interchangeably would be incorrect. On the other hand, civil unions were created to allow same-sex couples to “marry.” While it may rile up some people, for the most part you can use the term ‘civil union’ and ‘marriage’ interchangeably with only having one major difference: the sex of both of the spouses. The rights are the same, all of the legal statuses are same, everything is the same except the name and the sex of the partners. While I hear your argument that there have only been three states to adopt this position, the law as it stands now reflects this idea and until there is a change in the legal landscape to show otherwise, I think this article should highlight the difference.Ronnotronald 18:14, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
- Hi anonymous (even if you don't choose to sign in, please sign your responses four tildes by the way, like this: --~~~~, as it adds a timestamp and allows people to more easily follow the flow of conversation):
- Since this is just a template, and since as you say currently civil unions have to this point been created to grant the rights of marriage in all but name, I'm not going to argue too strenuously that they shouldn't be separated into separate lines, though it is my gut feeling that any distinction is artificial. I recognize that there are a few differences between California DPs and civil unions; however, to me the most important distinction is that, like civil unions in other states, California domestic partnerships are defined in state law along the lines of "a domestic partnership grants all the rights and responsibilities of marriage, with the following [very few] exceptions", whereas most other domestic partner laws are defined along the lines of "a domestic partnership grants the following specifically enumerated rights and responsibilities of marriage." Do you see what I'm getting at with that distinction?
- I do have the following issues with your response, though (your quotes are in italics):
- This is actually something you said in an earlier response: This lack of uniformity makes DPs very different from civil unions. A NJ civil union is the same as a CT civil union, which is the same as a VT civil union. There may be some superficial differences, but for the most part, they are identical legal constructs. This sameness allows for greater portability between states and a provides greater argument for them to be recognized in states that don't recognize civil unions. Actually, under California domestic partnership law, a same-sex couple who have been joined in a union in another jurisdiction that is "substantially equivalent" to a California domestic partnership is considered to hold a California domestic partnership as well. (The "substantially equivalent" quote is from the Wikipedia article on the CA DP laws; I admit to not being 100 percent certain as to what falls under that umbrella.)
- Information is a powerful tool, and it becomes that much more powerful when delivered in a user-friendly format. The fact that the reality of the situation is so convoluted is precisely the reason people are in the dark about this subject. By shedding an organized light on a very disorganized reality, it serves to make that reality more accessible to people. And I would argue that accessibility to information is one of the very goals of Wikipedia. I agree with you, but I don't think that Wikipedia should present reality as being more organized than it actually is. Again, this is just a template, so we don't need to go into details here, but Wikipedia should not imply that the terms "civil union" and "domestic partnership" are long-standing terms of legal art whose definitions are solid, well-established, and consistent across the jurisdictions in which they are used, because that certainly isn't the case.
- To try and use the term DP and marriage interchangeably would be incorrect. On the other hand, civil unions were created to allow same-sex couples to “marry.” While it may rile up some people, for the most part you can use the term ‘civil union’ and ‘marriage’ interchangeably with only having one major difference: the sex of both of the spouses. The rights are the same, all of the legal statuses are same, everything is the same except the name and the sex of the partners. I'm sorry, but this is very much not true. The only institution that allows same-sex couples to marry is same-sex marriage, which is an institution that any state could create at any time, and which Massachusetts already has created. It's true, as you point out, that under the current laws of the states that offer them, the only difference between a civil union and a marriage is the name; but if the name is unimportant, then why use a different name at all? The fact that, for instance, New Jersey's state legislature didn't simply throw up its hands and allow same-sex couples to marry when given the court ruling indicates that there the word "marriage" is meaningful to people in ways that go beyond the basket of legal rights and responsibilities that attach to it. And, of course, in the U.S., people in a civil union -- and, for that matter, people in a same-sex marriage -- are not affected by the Rights and responsibilities of marriages in the United States as established by the federal government. So while a civil union status is much closer to marriage than most domestic partnerships, it's not a marriage, either in practice or in people's emotional landscape.
(Just to be clear, I actually am a strong supporter of same-sex marriage. All the more reason that I feel that civil unions should be portrayed as marriages, since they aren't.) --Jfruh (talk) 17:47, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
My apologies for not adding my signature, I've since corrected the oversight.
I too am a supporter of same-sex marriage, and I feel as if, in the midst of my argument, I may have glossed over some very important facts and observations. I agree wholeheartedly with your statement regarding a marriage only being matched by a same-sex marriage in terms of equality. However, the point I was trying to make-- and not so articulately-- was that a civil union strives to be on par with marriage in terms of rights granted, and is therefore more interchangable, as opposed to a DP which has never purported to grant anything but a limited amount of rights. There is much debate as to whether or not the term "marriage" is a right to marriage (full disclosure: I believe so) and I didn't mean to imply that the terms mean the same thing, but I made those statements to demonstrate my argument that civil unions, when compared to marriages or DPs, are much more marriage-like than DP-like.
I could go on about my thoughts regarding the actions taken by the NJ Supreme Court and legislature, but I think that would be for another forum, but let's just leave at "I agree wholeheartedly with your comments on this subject."
I get what you're trying to say in the first long paragraph of your most recent response about the difference between a statutory scheme that strives to carve out a set of enumerated rights vs. one that strives to deliver all of the state rights inherent in a marriage. It's for this reason that I originally thought we should separate the two terms. Civil unions and DPs are two different legal creatures with two different goals. You have demonstrated as such yourself. Maybe one day that will change and some state will label a marriage-like same-sex relationship a DP, but as things stand now, the two terms stand for very different things. While I think you're correct about what CA intended to do with its DP law (i.e. there were going for a civil union type of relationship), it is the exception, not the rule.
Further, I don't think we're going to be doing a disservice to anyone, or making it seem like Wikipedia is presenting a different reality, if we create two lines in the table differentiating between civil unions and DPs. The article can be amended to talk about the disorganized state of the law in each state regarding this issue, just to make things particularly clear. I just think it's a cleaner table if we separate the two.
So can I take it that you don't have any objections to the table being changed to reflect a 'civil union' line and a 'DP' line?Ronnotronald 18:53, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
- Feel free. As for how to denote the gradations of domestic partnerships, if at all, I leave that to your discretion :). --Jfruh (talk) 19:23, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Just did it. I must confess that this was my first real attempt at altering something on Wikipedia, and now it's done! I'm no longer a Wiki-virgin, hooray! Thanks for the spirited discussion Jfruh, you've made my inaugural Wikipedia editing experience a memorable one!Ronnotronald 23:24, 7 February 2007 (UTC)
Dane County in Wisconsin has a registry of "domestic partnerships" in that county despite the Constitutional ban. I wonder whether that sort of thing ought to be noted. Triptenator (talk) 22:45, 17 October 2008 (UTC)
States recognizing out-of-state same-sex marriage 
Recently, Attorneys General in New Jersey and Rhode Island have decided to recognize same-sex marriages performed in other places (New Jersey will recognize them as performed anywhere in the world, and Rhode Island will recognize them as performed in Massachusetts). I don't know how to work them into the article (and I frankly don't have the time right now), but it would be significant to make those changes. --Zz414 14:43, 22 February 2007 (UTC)
I think this matter would fit better in another article. While this article definitely discusses Domestic Partnerships in CA, its main focus is on the status of same-sex marriage in the state. While the recent events in NJ and RI have import to same-sex relationships outside of those states, this article's main focus is a chronology and outline of the same-sex marriage debate in CA. Perhaps it would be better discussed in the Wikipedia article devoted specifically to CA Domestic Partnerships?
Also, you reference an article in your comment, however this discussion is specifically for the table accompanying this article. You may want to place your comment in the 'talk' section devoted to the article itself.184.108.40.206 15:04, 27 February 2007 (UTC)
I changed Oregon's location on this chart from the 'civil union' section to the 'domestic partnership' section. My reasons for doing so are as follows:
- the OR legislation granting these rights refers to the same-sex relationships covered by the legislation as domestic partnerships - there are some distinct legal differences between civil unions and the relationships contemplated in the Oregan legislation. I discuss these differences further in the talk page for Civil unions in Oregon. Let me know if you have any questions/comments/suggestions. Ronnotronald 15:33, 22 May 2007 (UTC)
Moving 'Marriage/Civil Union Laws Proposed' section 
In keeping with the structure of the template, I've gone ahead and moved the 'Marriage/CU Laws Proposed' section. The top of the template deals with jurisdictions that have passed laws recognizing same-sex relationships. The middle part lists jurisdictions that have banned recognition of these relationships. The bottom portion includes those jurisdictions in the middle. According to the above structure, it seems the proposed section fits better on the bottom. Ronnotronald 14:44, 28 June 2007 (UTC)
Iowa decision 
I heard that they had just ruled SSM is legal in Iowa. Is that effective immediately or are there appeals coming? (I can't see them not appealing) CrazyC83 04:03, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
- The county is planning to appeal the case to the Iowa Supreme Court. The original judge in the case issued a stay on his ruling this morning, but only after several same-sex couples did successfully submit marriage applications. Since same-sex marriage is once again not being allowed in Iowa, I'll go ahead and move the entry on the template down to the "prohibited by statute" section, and leave the "pending appeal" designation in there. Etphonehome 20:27, 31 August 2007 (UTC)
Over the past few months, the template has seen many additions to it in the form of parenthatical qualifiers. I'm pondering removing all/some of them as I think this template is meant to convey basic information (e.g. where SSM is legal, prohibited, etc.) and not necessarily the intricacies of a particular jurisdiction's legal wranglings over the issue.
While it's true that Arizona voters defeated a constitutional amendment banning SSM in 2006, that information is best conveyed when someone reads the article on the issue. In my opinion, the template is there to provide people a quick snapshot of the legal landscape and convenient links to find out more information; nothing more, nothing less. I can see the argument about keeping the dates on the OR and NH laws for accuracy's sake, but other than that, I'm inclined to delete the other references.Ronnotronald 18:15, 14 September 2007 (UTC)
As a result of the recent developments on the SSM front over the past month, there have been some additions to this template. While some are appropriate, I think we might be giving more information than is necessary for a template. I'm going to take some stuff out. Aside from some of it being factually incorrect (or at the very least, difficult to confirm), I think it goes a bit overboard. I welcome any discussion, nothing's set in stone here.Ronnotronald (talk) 12:10, 3 June 2008 (UTC)
I undid the revision removing Hawaii from the list of jurisdictions which have enacted DPs. While the person making the edit was technically correct (i.e. Hawaii enacted a relationship-recognition scheme similar to domestic partnerships, but called 'reciprocal beneficiaries.'), such a distinction is not one for this template. In my opinion, the template serves as a quick shorthand for the state of same-sex-relationship-recognition across the country. Reading the article about Hawaii's recognition scheme would clear up any potential question posed by the template.Ronnotronald 17:06, 9 October 2007 (UTC)
The added part about Hawaii having a constitutionally permissible statutory ban, while relevant and good information for an article, comes across awkwardly on the template.Ronnotronald (talk) 16:41, 22 July 2008 (UTC)
- Hawaii's amendment allow the legislature to define marriage, therefore it makes sense to change it's classification in the statute category. The amendment does not define marriage itself. Hekerui (talk) 15:07, 28 February 2009 (UTC)
- This news article says that Hawaii is moving forward with civil unions. Should this information be updated in the template?
- http://www.hrcbackstory.org/2010/01/hawaii-update-civil-unions-moving-forward/ -- Native94080 (talk) 06:08, 13 January 2010 (UTC)
- Why would we add it now? New laws shouldn't be added until signed by the state/juridiction's executive head. As of this writing, the bill has only been approved by one chamber of the legislature and the governor has not indicated whether she will sign it or not. Receiving senate approval and getting signed by the governor are two significant hurdles for this piece of legislation to clear before it becomes effective.Ronnotronald (talk) 22:45, 17 January 2010 (UTC)
Rhode Island and New York 
Rhode Island and New York both recognise same-gender couples but can not perform same-gender marriages in these parts.
- That's not entirely true. There have been no binding judicial decisions (i.e. appellate level) or legislative actions which explicitly call for the recognition of MA same-sex unions in either NY or RI. Any of the case law that opines on the validity of same-sex marriage in those states comes from Massachusetts. And a Massachusetts interpretation of another state's laws is not controlling, merely persuasive. Both the NY and RI attorney general have issued non-binding opinions interpreting their states' laws as requiring respect of same-sex marriage. Additionally, a trial court judge in NY said MA marriages should be respected there. However, neither of these examples are binding either. Currently, a marriage equality bill is pending before the NY legislature (and the aforementioned trial court opinion will probably be appealed) and the RI Supreme Court is tackling the issue of whether a RI court can divorce a same-sex couple married in MA, but there's nothing definitive. Until an appellate court or legislature say otherwise, it's best to leave this information out.Ronnotronald 12:51, 10 October 2007 (UTC)
- I found articles stating that Rhode Island DOES recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.
Native94080 (talk) 10:11, 5 March 2010 (UTC)
- Independent source: "Rhode Island is one of three states that recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states as a result of an opinion Lynch issued in 2007 in response to a query from the state Board of Governors for Higher Education." Candidates for R.I. governor support funeral rights, Providence Journal, November 13, 2009 Hekerui (talk) 09:37, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
- According to HRC the RI Attorney General's opinion is non-binding. See http://www.hrc.org/your_community/1750.htm Ron 1987 20:35, 25 December 2010 (UTC)
- Independent source: "Rhode Island is one of three states that recognize same-sex marriages legally performed in other states as a result of an opinion Lynch issued in 2007 in response to a query from the state Board of Governors for Higher Education." Candidates for R.I. governor support funeral rights, Providence Journal, November 13, 2009 Hekerui (talk) 09:37, 6 March 2010 (UTC)
- I found articles stating that Rhode Island DOES recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.
Indian tribe 
Recently, the Coquille Indian Tribe in Oregon legalized same-sex marriage. I added it to the template, but I wanted to get feedback on whether it should stay. The Coquille are a sovereign nation, so technically it could be argued they aren't a part of the US. Their land is held in trust by the US government and is subject to the control of Congress though, which would seem to tip the scales in favor of their inclusion into the US. I'm pretty uneducated about this, so if anyone knows a definitive answer, it'd be much appreciated.Ronnotronald (talk) 02:48, 23 August 2008 (UTC)
Someone changed "(October 28)" to "(October 10)" through a misunderstanding of what the date meant. The 28th was itself a misunderstanding, though. The Connecticut decision does take effect on October 28, but it does not itself legalize SSM. Rather, the opinion directs the trial court to do so. That court may not issue its ruling on the 28th. In fact, the trial judge may not even meet with the lawyers right away. For the time being it is best to just say the effective date is yet to be determined, so I have added a note to that effect on to the template. -Rrius (talk) 02:02, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
- The trial court can't legalize SSM - all it can do is implement the decision with regard to the individual plaintiffs in this particular case. You'll note that the court in the decision cites to the Supreme Court's decision in Lawrence, for example, and not the trial court's decision. Rather, the decision of the court itself serves as the interpretation of the Conn. Constitution and therefore the ban on gay marriages may be considered to be overturned at the time the opinion is made official (judging from the header on the opinion, I assume that's the 28th, though several reliable sources say it was the 10th). --Philosopher Let us reason together. 03:03, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
- Okay, so let's be even more precise. The Supreme Court said that the current statutory scheme violates the Connecticut Constitution and instructed the trial court to enter summary judgment for the plaintiffs (the couples seeking to obtain marriage licenses). The Supreme Court's instruction to the trial court does not take effect until October 28. Once it receives the instruction (called a mandate) the court will notify the lawyers for each side and set a court date. It may be that the parties and court have set that court date for the 28th already, but there is no reason to think they did. At the court date, the court will likely issue an order granting summary judgment and issuing an injunction directing a town clerk to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples (it is also possible, because the issue went up to the supreme court, that the injunction will be worded to apply to more than just the town clerk(s) at issue). That injunction will then be served on the clerk, and same-sex marriage licenses will then need to be issued. The court could decide to give the government more time to prepare themselves for issuing such licenses. Before the injunction is issued, the clerks cannot issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Marriage licenses are a creature of statute, and clerks' power and duty to issue them is currently exclusively based on the statute. That will only change once a court tells them the statute is unconstitutional and they must do something else. The supreme court opinion does not do that; rather, it left that to the trial court. Thus, both legally and practically, SSM will not be the law in Connecticut until the trial court speaks. -Rrius (talk) 03:36, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
I have no idea what your point about Lawrence is. I did not say the supreme court relied on anything the trial court had previously done; nor did I say anything other than the supreme court's decision in Kerrigan & Mock serves as the declaration that the ban on SSM is unconstitutional. What I was saying is that the supreme court, instead itself directing the executive to issue marriage licenses, left it for the trial court to do so. I used the word "legalize" to describe this because, to the extent it SSM can be said to be illegal, it is because the legislature says it is illegal for the executive to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Because "legalize" is so imprecise, it is easy to find different sources claiming different points in the process where someone or something "legalized" same-sex marriage. My point was not meant to get into this debate, but rather to get at the point of when same-sex marriage will actually become an institution in Connecticut. That is to say, when same-sex couples will actually be able to marry in Connecticut. -Rrius (talk) 03:51, 21 October 2008 (UTC)
- We are starting to get some clarity from the news reports. The decision was officially published today, October 28, and will become final on Friday, November 7 (which is when the time to petition for rehearing in the supreme court ends). It is therefore seen as likely that the trial court will issue the injunction on Monday, November 10. The forms have already been ordered and are, as I understand from reports, being distributed to town clerks, so there won't need to be any delay as there was in California to allow the State to prepare itself. Thus, it looks likely (but not certain) that November 10 is the day. -Rrius (talk) 04:55, 29 October 2008 (UTC)
Situation in California 
Situation in California 
Federal recognition 
Merger / standardization discussion 
There is a centralized discussion at the LGBT Wikiproject here regarding standardizing all the article names for at least the United States articles. Your input is welcome. -- Banjeboi 08:34, 17 March 2009 (UTC)
- I restored the eff. date for Iowa. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 220.127.116.11 (talk) 06:40, 9 April 2009 (UTC)
Colorado verified 
Yes that is correct Colorado does have a domestic partnership - just like Maryland - But it is a non-registory, unlike Oregon, Washington, Maine and California were it is a registory. Hawaii calls them "receprical benefits". —Preceding unsigned comment added by 18.104.22.168 (talk) 08:26, 12 April 2009 (UTC)
When did Maine have domestic partnerships? - I have heard rumors that they do not provide many or if any benefits at all - the same as Hawaii, Maryland and Colorado. In California, District Of Columbia, Oregon and Washington state domestic partnerships are nearly or the exact same as marriage (when it comes to the benefits of marriage only, without using the "M word"). Vermont, MA, CT and very surprisenly in "conservative" Iowa now have SSM. YESSSS I hear most of you saying! - If in Iowa, it is possible anywere in the US!!! New Hampshire and New Jersey have civil unions (or as I prefer to call them "seperate-but-equal" forms of marriage) will be challenged or have the legislators provide SSM soon anyway in the near future - remember they are only recent in NH in 2008 and NJ since 2007. Vermont had them for nearly 10 years and CT since 2005, then a court challenge saying that SSM must be legal in 30 days, because civil unions are a subsitute that is not recognised and are a "seperate-but-equal" form of marriage - which has been declared unconsitutional in CT in 2008 and MA back in 2004 and now in Iowa in 2009. Vermont was the first to provide SSM with the lawmakers, instead of a court decision also in 2009 with exactly 100 votes to override a veto from a Republican. Gov [typical Rep Governors]. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 22.214.171.124 (talk) 14:39, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
- Maine already had domestic partnerships pursuant to Title 22 Maine Revised Statutes Sec 2710 126.96.36.199 (talk) 05:58, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
- "Domestic partnership", "reciprocal benefits registry", all of these are terms that are defined by the legislatures that implement the systems. There is no international or national standard for what constitutes a domestic partnership in terms of benefits. Fortuynist (talk) 19:37, 14 April 2009 (UTC)
- Correct. At best, you could say that domestic partnerships are a state or locally enacted set of benefits that vary in scope from encompassing virtually all of the rights and responsibilities of marraige (e.g. California) to only a limited number (e.g. Maine, D.C., etc.). The term can also refer to a private designation made in a contract in relation to benefits eligibility (e.g. for health insurance, survivor benefits, etc.). This is just my summation. To my knowledge, there is legal definition. Ronnotronald (talk) 14:48, 8 May 2009 (UTC)
Link pages to template? 
Should we replace the links to the states that have constitutional amendments with their page (the ones that have one) such as replacing the Arizona ban with "Recognition of same-sex unions" in Arizona—which mentions the amendment history and links to the same very page. I think this could be more useful so others could check the status for the entire state rather than simply the ban itself. Just an idea, but as I'm new to this template, I just wanted to check with everyone to make sure before I change anything. VoodooIsland (talk) 20:14, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
- Yes, but you should have a good store of information about the history of same-sex unions in that state before creating such a page. California is a good candidate for this, Arkansas I'm not so sure. Fortuynist (talk) 22:40, 15 April 2009 (UTC)
Guam/Washington eff. date 
I removed Guam from the template. The article is a stub without much substantive information (it reads more like a news article). If the template's scope is going to be expanded to include US territories, all of them should be added.
As for the effective date of Washington's expanded DP law, it's also beyond the scope of what we're trying to convey here. The template serves as a snapshot of the "big picture" of same-sex union recognition in the US. Details like effective dates for new legislation/cases are arguably big enough to merit inclusion (although if you take a look at the history of this template, not all agree on that point). Information like an effective date for the expansion of legislation, while notable, veers towards minutae that's best left for the article itself. Ronnotronald (talk) 21:39, 18 April 2009 (UTC)
Alterations & new section proposal 
I think the template should be altered just slightly. I think "All same-sex unions prohibited by constitutional amendment" should be changed to "Same-sex marriage and civil unions prohibited", as most states do not have prohibitions on domestic partnerships. Therefore, I think that we should remove each state from that current section and place them under the proposed section, leaving only Virginia, Michigan, South Dakota and Nebraska under all same-sex unions prohibited . . . since those four states ban all forms of same-sex unions including domestic partnerships, whereas the rest of the states in the current section do not. VoodooIsland (talk) 01:29, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
- Do you have a source that the rest of the states didn't ban Domestic Partnerships? CTJF83Talk 01:39, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
- The issue that we run into is that these constitutional bans in the "all unions prohibited" section are vague and have yet to be interpreted by their respective judiciaries. Take, for example, Arkansas' Amendment 3. It states that "legal status for unmarried persons which is identical or substantially similar to marital status shall not be valid or recognized in Arkansas." It doesn't define what "substantially similar" means (although I should note that I haven't done a search of AR case law to see if it has a common law definition), so it's anyone's guess really. Are civil unions prohibited? They're certainly close to marriage, seeing as that's the intended goal of civil unions (i.e. to provide all the benefits and obligations of marriage, save for the name). What about CA domestic partnerships? They provide virtually every state-level right of marriage. Is that substantially similar?
- Some states are even more vague. Look at ID's amendment. It consists entirely of the phrase "A marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state." No definition is given for "legal union" which could mean a lot of things. The point I'm trying to make here is that until a state's supreme court gives the definitive word on what these amendments mean, there's no way to know what their scope is. Given this ambiguity, I suggest we either keep things as is, or just revert to the older categories of "prohibited by statute" and "prohibited by constitutional amendment." I'm inclined to leave things as is.Ronnotronald (talk) 02:41, 28 April 2009 (UTC)
Added Nevada because the NV Legislator Overridden the Republican Gov. veto.
- The law called the Domestic Partnership Responsibilities Act 2009 becomes effective from 1 October, 2009. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 188.8.131.52 (talk) 04:22, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
- Looks good! It was already added to Template:Same-sex unions so someone must have forgot about this template. CTJF83Talk 04:29, 1 June 2009 (UTC)
Too many categories 
This template has grown to include too many unnecessary distinctions. As I've said in the past, the template's purpose is not to detail the minutae of this complex issue. Rather, it should provide a general snapshot of the status of same sex unions in the country. For example, the distinction between domestic partnerships that are equivalent to civil unions vs. domestic partnerships that are comprised of a smaller set of rights is too much detail. Such distinctions are best left to the articles themselves. I'm going to go ahead and re-organize, feel free to discuss. Ronnotronald (talk) 02:58, 20 July 2009 (UTC)
CA distinction 
I removed the "all" from the CA footnote because it wasn't necessary. As every other jurisdiction currently recognizing same-sex marriage (CT, DC, IA, MA, NY, VT) will recognize a same-sex marriage from another jurisdiction (so as long as the marriage was validly entered into there), we don't need to note that CA does the same thing. If CA law only recognized same-sex marriages that were entered into in CA before Nov. 5, 2008, then that would be noting.Ronnotronald (talk) 05:29, 25 October 2009 (UTC)
New Hampshire 
- While NH's civil union law was repealed effective New Year's day, the state will still recognize those civil unions entered into before 1/1/10. This will continue until 1/1/11, when all NH civil unions will merge into marriages. For this reason, I say we keep the caveat.Ronnotronald (talk) 19:07, 2 January 2010 (UTC)
- Does Vermont do the same thing with "expiring" civil unions?????
- Yes, as the template states, Vermont's civil union law will be repealed effective Oct. 1, 2010. On that date, all of the existing civil unions will be merged into marriages as well.Ronnotronald (talk) 13:26, 4 January 2010 (UTC)
- Are you very sure because it sounds like Connecticut statutes in law on October 2010. —Preceding unsigned comment added by 184.108.40.206 (talk) 02:12, 8 January 2010 (UTC)
- Whoops, good catch there. I'm sure it will pain any Vermonters out here to say this, but I confused the state with NH and CT. As of September 1, 2009, Vermont's civil union law was repealed. There is no statutory mechanism to automatically convert existing civil unions into marriages (like CT and NH do).
- Also, according to the VT Secretary of State, out of state civil unions will still be recognized as civil unions (see question 4 at http://www.sec.state.vt.us/Marriage_Equality_FAQs.pdf). As such, I'm going to add VT to the list of jurisdictions that recognize civil unions.Ronnotronald (talk) 21:59, 9 January 2010 (UTC)
I removed the note that Vermont recognizes civil unions - other states have that as well without a note on this template. Sufficient info is in the main article. Hekerui (talk) 22:50, 22 January 2011 (UTC)
Stray code 
This code appears in the template coding but does not display:
- below: See also: Rights and responsibilities of marriages
"Legalized" vs. "recognized" 
Though it's common in discussions, I don't think (especially post-Lawrence vs. Texas) it's quite right to talk about same-sex unions being "legalized". Legalizing something implies that it was illegal, i.e., criminal, before. With sodomy laws off the books across the U.S., it's not illegal anywhere in the country to stand up with another person of the same sex and say that you're married. (Contrast this with the Loving family of Loving v. Virginia, whose case began when they were actually arrested.) The question is: does the jurisdiction under discussion recognize the people saying they're married as being married, or as being in some other form of legally defined union? Similarly, it's not strictly speaking same-sex marriages that are prohibited; rather, what's prohibited is a government official recognizing those unions as marriages under state law.
Obviously this would complicate the terminology we use in the various headings. Some suggestions:
- Same-sex marriage recognized and performed
- Same-sex marriage recognized, but not performed
- Civil union or domestic partnership recognized
- Statue defines marriage as one man-one woman
- State constitution defines marriage as one man-one woman
- State constitution defines marriage as one man-one woman, and forbids recognition of same-sex unions under any name
- Recognition of same-sex unions undefined by statute or state constitution
States awaiting referendum 
At this point, states that have bills ready to enact but are awaiting referendum should not be placed in the "Same-sex marriage legalized" section, even in a subcat of "Laws not yet in effect". While it's likely they'll pass and become law, they are not such yet, and still have potential to be scrapped. ~Araignee (talk • contribs) 23:16, 4 November 2012 (UTC)
Anomalies with WI and DC 
There are two anomalies with this navbox.
- Wisconsin is listed under both "Civil union or domestic partnership legal" and "All types of same-sex unions prohibited by constitutional amendment" but surely the second prohibits the first?
- The District of Columbia is listed under both "Same-sex marriage legalized" and "Civil union or domestic partnership legal" - does it have both? The seven states listed under "Same-sex marriage legalized" are not also listed under "Civil union or domestic partnership legal". --Redrose64 (talk) 12:12, 8 December 2012 (UTC)
- Not sure about the second question but for the first I the situation is this: The Wisconsin constitution was amended in 2006 so that "a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals" is unconstitutional in the state. Nevertheless, in 2009, the legislature passed a law creating domestic partnerships that provided limited, enumerated rights to same-sex couples. These pass constutional muster because they are not "identitcal or substanitally similar" to marriage.
- It's definitely incorrect to qualify Wisconsnit as having "All types of same-sex unions prohibited", obviously. But the state is in kind of a unique position -- it's the only state where the constitution bars not just same-sex marriage, but some forms of other union, and yet still has some recognition for same-sex couples. Not sure exactly how this should be expressed in the template. --Jfruh (talk) 06:00, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
- Proposal to move Wisconsin from "all types prohibited" to "marriage prohibited": Wisconsin explicitly banned gay marriage, but the ban on other unions was only a) on other unions substantially similar to marriage - as evidenced by the legalization of same-sex civil unions with restricted rights - and b) did not apply only to same-sex unions. — Francophonie&Androphilie(Je vous invite à me parler) 17:32, 9 December 2012 (UTC)
- DC have both same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships. Ron 1987 (talk) 09:22, 9 December 2012 (UTC)