Reports & Research

Why civil unions are not enough

Report Type: 
Fact Sheet
Date: 
May 17, 2005

The federal government alone accords 1,138 benefits and responsibilities based on marital status, not on civil union status.

Here are just a few of those benefits:

  • Unpaid leave in order to care for an ill spouse under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act;
  • Social Security — survivor benefits; spousal benefits;
  • Unlimited exemptions from federal gift and estate taxes on transfers to spouse;
  • Marital communication privilege — right not to testify against one’s spouse.