Same Sex Essay

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Being married also allows a same-sex couple's relationship to be respected in all states. Because civil unions are state-based, states outside the one the union was performed in are not required to recognize the relationship. The status of being married is automatically recognized and respected Bill Flanigan and Robert Daniel, a same-sex couples in San Francisco, California, in an attempt to formalize their relationship, registered as domestic partners under the city's ordinance. Robert also implemented a health-care proxy which allowed his partner to make medical decisions concerning his AIDS treatment. However, this preparation was not enough. On October 16, 2000, Robert was admitted to the University of Maryland's Shock Trauma Center in critical condition. When Bill arrived, the health-care proxy was not respected, and hospital personnel barred him from seeing his partner. Action was not taken until Robert's sister and mother arrived to give permission. By this time, it was too late. Robert was already unconscious. The men had no chance to say goodbye before he passed away. According to Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund, an advocacy group for homosexuals, this sad situation shows that same-sex couples are not given the same respect as heterosexual married spouses (Jost 5). "We are a nation divided by discrimination in marriage," said attorney David Buckel. "Bill and Robert paid a terrible price for that discrimination" (qtd. in Jost 5). Though not always this extreme, similar situations often happen. Same-sex couples want and need the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual married couples to prevent this from occurring. These rights can be granted in three different ways: domestic partnerships, civil unions, or same-sex marriages. Although domestic partnerships and civil unions offer some of the rights of marriage to same-sex couples, only a marriage makes heterosexual and homosexual unions equal. The first possibility of creating equal rights for same-sex couples is the domestic partnership. Domestic partnerships are currently available in regions of California, Colorado, the District of Colombia, Hawaii, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin (Status of same-sex marriage). There is no nationally recognized definition of "domestic partners," however explanations given by differing municipalities are very similar. To the City of San Francisco, domestic partners are "two people who have chosen to share one another's lives in an intimate and committed relationship of mutual caring". Washington, D.C., sees them as people who "share a residence within a context of a committed relationship" (qtd. in Gewertz 3). Domestic partnership laws vary from state to state. While some provide no clear benefits beyond the ability to proclaim publicly a couple's relationship, others provide similar responsibilities to a heterosexual marriage. Entering into a domestic partnership often enables couples to take advantage of government protections including employment and tax benefits, probate designations, property rights, and dissolution and support laws. The framework of Washington state and San Francisco, California, regulations will be used as an example in this paper. Two people of the same sex can enter into a domestic partnership as long as they meet the following requirements. Both partners must be at least eighteen and share a common residence. Neither may be part of another domestic partnership or marriage. Both must be legally capable of consenting to the partnership, and they may not be related to each other as parent, child, sibling, aunt, uncle, cousin, grandparent, or grandchild (Lambda Legal et. al.). The proposed partners must also have cohabited for six months before registering and wait six months between terminating one partnership and forming another unless the former partnership ended due to the death of one spouse (Gewertz 3-4). The parties to the partnership need not live in San Francisco...
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