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Difference between Civil Union and Marriage

Difference between Civil Union and Marriage

In the United States, there are two types of unions that are recognized by the government: civil unions and marriages. There is a lot of confusion between the two, especially since they have many similarities. However, there are some key differences between them. This article will compare and contrast civil unions and marriages, to help you understand the difference.

What is Civil Union?

Civil unions are legal relationships created to provide some of the rights and benefits of marriage. Civil unions are usually available to same-sex couples, but some states also offer them to opposite-sex couples. Civil unions typically confer many of the same rights as to marriage, including the right to visit a partner in the hospital, make medical decisions on behalf of a partner, and receive spousal benefits such as health insurance and Social Security. However, civil unions do not provide all of the rights and benefits afforded to married couples. For example, federal tax benefits are only available to married couples, and civil union partners cannot sponsor each other for immigration purposes. Civil unions are not recognized in all states, so couples should be aware of the laws in their state before entering into one.

What is Civil Marriage?

Civil marriage is a secular, legal recognition of a committed relationship between two people. It is distinct from religious marriage, which is governed by the rules and beliefs of a particular faith. In many countries, civil marriage is the only form of legal recognition for couples, regardless of their religious beliefs. Civil marriage confers a number of legal rights and responsibilities on couples, including the right to inherit property, make medical decisions on behalf of each other, and file joint tax returns. Civil marriage also allows couples to access certain government benefits, such as Social Security survivor benefits and health insurance coverage. While same-sex couples can now legally marry in many countries, not all jurisdictions recognize civil marriages. In some areas, only religious marriages are valid, while in others civil and religious marriages are both recognized. Civil marriage is an important institution that provides couples with essential legal protections. By ensuring that all couples have access to civil marriage, we can help create more stable and secure families.

Difference between Civil Union and Marriage

Civil union and marriage are two terms that are often used interchangeably, but there is a distinct difference between the two. A civil union is a legal relationship between two people who are not married. Civil unions provide many of the same benefits as marriage, including the ability to file joint tax returns and receive health insurance through a partner’s employer. However, civil unions do not carry the same weight as marriage in the eyes of the law. For example, civil unions are not recognized by the federal government, which means that partners in a civil union are not eligible for survivor benefits or the ability to file for joint bankruptcy. Marriage, on the other hand, is a legal relationship between two people who are officially married. In addition to the benefits afforded to partners in a civil union, married couples also enjoy federal recognition of their relationship. This means that they are eligible for survivor benefits and can file for joint bankruptcy. Marriage is also generally seen as a more permanent commitment than a civil union, which may be dissolved without going through a formal divorce process.


The difference between a civil union and marriage is significant and should be considered by any couple looking to formalize their relationship. A civil union provides fewer rights and protections than marriage does, so it’s important to understand the implications of each before making a decision.

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