Civil Union's and Marriages are not the same thing, contrary to what many people believe. There are enourmous quantities of rights, benefits, and privlidges given to straights in marriage not given to gays where Civil Unions are allowed. I think this would make a great resource for comparisions.
Civil unions would provide gay and lesbian couples some 350 benefits and protections offered by the state, but would carry little clout beyond the borders of Massachusetts. On the other hand, full-fledged marital standing would grant some 1,400 rights. Without either option, unmarried couples are afforded few benefits.
1. Civil Unions/2. Marriage
Portability of rights
1. Usually only recognized in the state that approves them. But recently in New York, a civil union from Vermont was recognized in a wrongful-death suit.
2. Union automatically recognized in all 50 states
Gifts and property transfers
1. Same as unmarried couples, larger gifts and transfers are subject to federal tax. Any gift or transfer worth more than $10,000 in a year requires filing a federal gift tax return.
2. property transfers May make unlimited transfers and gifts to each other.
Income tax status
1. A couple can file only state tax returns jointly, federal returns are filed individually.
2. “Married filing jointly” generally works to the advantage of couples when one earns much more than the other, but creates a penalty when their incomes are similar.
Child or spousal support
1.In state where the union is granted, the courts can impose penalties on a partner who abandons a child or a spouse.
2. Criminal penalties are imposed on spouses who abandon a child or a spouse.
1. Partners in the state where the union was granted can make health decisions, but in other states that authority may not be recognized.
2. decisions A spouse or family member may make decisions for an incompetent or disabled person unless contrary written instructions exist.
1. Not allowed to sponsor a partner or other immediate family members.
2. US citizens and legal permanent residents can sponsor their spouses and other immediate family members for immigration purposes.
There is much, much more. This is only a taste of what Civil Unions don't give in relation to Marriage.