Many states currently offer legal domestic partnerships, but they may only be available to same-sex couples. They may only be available in certain cities, or to state or city government employees. If available, this designation awards a couple the same state rights as a married couple. They do not affect federal laws or programs that offer benefits only to legally married couples. Examples of these include Social Security death benefits, or tax deductions/benefits only available to spouses or families.
While Same-Sex Marriage has taken center stage the past few years, benefits to unmarried partners are largely ignored. An unfortunate consequence of the approval of same-sex marriage has been that states that did offer domestic partnerships often eliminate them when same-sex marriage laws pass. The reasoning behind this is that “now everyone can get married, so we no longer need the DP option.” While Unmarried Equality wants the elimination of benefits determination based on marital status, we are dismayed to see some forward actions being taken away.