Volume 98 - No. 3 Minnesota Law Review

Recognition of Civil Unions and Domestic Partnerships as Marriages in Same-Sex Marriage States

There is currently a patchwork of laws governing same-sex relationships across the United States. Some states issue marriage licenses, while some states have civil unions, domestic partnerships, or other forms of legal recognition. When couples with alternate forms of legal recognition relocate from the issuing state their new state has to decide whether and how to recognize those relationships. Currently, same-sex marriage jurisdictions utilize a host of different approaches, which results in a lack of uniform treatment of similarly situated couples. One of these approaches is for same-sex marriage states to treat alternate forms of recognition as marriages. This Note argues that treating out-of-state civil unions and domestic partnerships as marriages creates three fundamental problems. First, it ignores the fact that individuals enter into these relationships with different expectations and understandings about their scope than married couples do. Second, it can result in fewer protections for some couples. Third, it reduces the political will to advocate for the expansion of marriage rights. This Note proposes specific model legislation—which should be passed in same-sex marriage states—which creates a system of recognition for a limited time after the couple relocates to guarantee continued protections and mechanisms for conversion to marriage or dissolution of the alternate relationship.

:: View PDF

De Novo

  • Dan’s Flaw

    DAN’S [F]LAW: STATUTORY FAILURE TO ENFORCE ETHICAL BEHAVIOR IN CLINICAL DRUG TRIALS Noah Lewellen* I. INTRODUCTION Paul, a sophomore at the University of Minnesota, bursts into a lecture hall, loudly claims to see monsters sitting in the seats, and offers his services in slaying them. The police are called, and Paul is restrained and delivered […]

  • Case Comment: Bhogaita v. Altamonte

    EVERY DOG CAN HAVE HIS DAY IN COURT: THE USE OF ANIMALS AS DEMONSTRATIVE EXHIBITS Kyle R. Kroll, Volume 100, Online Managing Editor In Bhogaita v. Altamonte, the Eleventh Circuit recently decided whether to allow a dog in the courtroom as a demonstrative exhibit.[1] Although the case presented many serious issues regarding the Fair Housing […]

  • Revisiting Water Bankruptcy

    REVISITING WATER BANKRUPTCY IN CALIFORNIA’S FOURTH YEAR OF DROUGHT Olivia Moe, Volume 100, Managing Editor This spring, as “extreme” to “exceptional” drought stretched across most of California—indicating that a four-year streak of drought was not about to resolve itself[1]—Governor Jerry Brown issued an unprecedented order to reduce potable urban water usage by twenty-five percent.[2] In […]