Partners Task Force for Gay & Lesbian Couples
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Marriage Benefits List
© 2000, Demian


Legal marriage conveys upon the couple a wide variety of rights and responsibilities. Because each state creates its own set of marriage laws, the laws number between 170-to-350 depending on the state. Within the Federal system, more than 1,138 laws are triggered by legal marriage. [See U.S. Federal Laws for the Legally Married.] The following lists some of the typical rights conferred by the state and federal governments.

State-Granted Legal Marriage Rights
  • Assumption of Spouseís Pension
  • Automatic Inheritance
  • Automatic Housing Lease Transfer
  • Bereavement Leave
  • Burial Determination
  • Child Custody
  • Crime Victimís Recovery Benefits
  • Divorce Protections
  • Domestic Violence Protection
  • Exemption from Property Tax on Partnerís Death
  • Immunity from Testifying Against Spouse
  • Insurance Breaks
  • Joint Adoption and Foster Care
  • Joint Bankruptcy
  • Joint Parenting (Insurance Coverage, School Records)
  • Medical Decisions on Behalf of Partner
  • Certain Property Rights
  • Reduced Rate Memberships
  • Sick Leave to Care for Partner
  • Visitation of Partnerís Children
  • Visitation of Partner in Hospital or Prison
  • Wrongful Death (Loss of Consort) Benefits

A couple married by a state government is automatically granted a broad range of rights at the federal level. In addition, marriage partners of federal employees, such as civil servants and members of the military, enjoy a broad range of benefits.

Federally-Granted Legal Marriage Rights
  • Access to Military Stores
  • Assumption of Spouseís Pension
  • Bereavement Leave
  • Immigration
  • Insurance Breaks
  • Medical Decisions on Behalf of Partner
  • Sick Leave to Care for Partner
  • Social Security Survivor Benefits
  • Sick Leave to Care for Partner
  • Tax Breaks
  • Veteranís Discounts
  • Visitation of Partner in Hospital or Prison

Governments that offer Full Legal Marriage
Nations

    Netherlands (2001)
    Belgium (2003)
    Canada (2005)
    Spain (2005)
    South Africa (2005)
    Norway (2009)
    Sweden (2009)
    Iceland (2010)
    Argentina (2010)
    Portugal (2010)
    Denmark (2012)
    France (2013)
    New Zealand (2013)
    Brazil (2013)
    Uruguay (2013)
    New Zealand (2013)
    United Kingdom
      (England, Wales, Scotland) (2013)
    Luxembourg (2014)
    Finland (2014)
    Ireland (2015)
    United States (2015)
    Colombia (2016)
    Germany (2017)
    Taiwan (2017)
    Malta (2017)
US States & Territories

    Massachusetts (2004)
    California (2008)
    Connecticut (2008)
    Iowa (2009)
    Vermont (2009)
    New Hampshire (2009)
    District of Columbia (2009)
    New York (2011)
    Maine (2012)
    Washington (2012)
    Maryland (2013)
    Rhode Island (2013)
    Delaware (2013)
    Minnesota (2013)
    Illinois (2013)
    Utah (2013)
    New Jersey (2013)
    Hawaii (2013)
    New Mexico (2013)
    Michigan (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Oregon (2014)
    Wisconsin (2014)
    

    Arkansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Pennsylvania (2014)
    Indiana (2014)
    Nevada (2014)
    Virginia (2014)
    Oklahoma (2014)
    Idaho (2014)
    West Virginia (2014)
    Alaska (2014)
    Arizona (2014)
    Wyoming (2014)
    Kansas (2014) - stayed pending legal challenge
    Florida (2014)
    Colorado (2014)
    North Carolina (2014)
    South Carolina (2014)
    Montana (2014)
    Alabama (2015)
    U.S. Supreme Court (June 26, 2015):
      Ruling: All U.S. States must now
      allow same-sex couples the
      freedom of legal marriage.
Native American Tribes

    Coquille Tribe, Oregon (2009)
    Mashantucket Pequot, Connecticut (2011)
    Suquamish Tribe, Washington (2011)
    Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, Washington (2013)
    Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe, Minnesota (2013)
    Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, Michigan (2013)
    Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians, Michigan (2013)
    Santa Ysabel Tribe, California (2013)
    Confederated Tribes of the Colville Nation, Washington (2013)
    Cheyenne, Oklahoma (2013)
    Arapaho, Oklahoma (2013)
    Leech Lake Tribal Court, Minnesota (2013)
    Puyallup Tribe, Washington (2914)
    Wind River Indian Reservation, Wyoming (2014)
    Keweenaw Bay Indian Community, Michigan, (2014)
    Colville Confederated Tribes, Washington (2014)
    Central Council of Tlingit, Alaska (2015)
    Haida Indian Tribes, Alaska (2015)


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