Rataplan, there are now officially 1,137 federal rights tied to marital status, most of which cannot be recreated contractually as you describe (e.g. including institutions like Social Security, Veterans benefits, Immigration , etc., many of which affect children.):
Typically, same-sex couples in Marriage Equality states (MA, NY, etc.) get on the order of 300-400 state-type rights. Until DOMA is repealed, even those couples have no access to the federal rights.
As a member of a SS couple who has extensively researched the possibility contracts, I can report that it is humiliating, burdensome, and, most of all, expensive (on the order of thousands of dollars in lawyers fees) to establish the only a tiny of subset of the rights and protections straight couples get effortlessly with the swish of a pen. I could go into the specifics (the name change process alone is horrendous; same-sex second parent adoption is now illegal in NC), but trust you get the point.
In the context of full marriage equality, the health insurance piece is an important piece but, honestly, is dwarfed by the scope of the governmental protections.
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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