On Saturday, Connecticut became the first state to legalize civil unions through the legislative process. Massachusetts recognizes gay marriage and Vermont also recognizes civil unions, however both those situations required judicial decisions.
The new law ensures many rights for gay couples. According to the New York Times:
Within the state, the new law will ensure a broad range of rights. Gay partners can serve as conservators of their partners’ estates; they can receive state tax deductions if they inherit money from their partners; they can be assured of hospital visiting rights; they can file joint state income tax returns and take the same deductions married couples do.
However, it is far from a perfect situation. Many tax breaks and inheritance benefits come from the federal government. And the law in Connecticut also defines marriage as between a man and a woman. Their civil union certificate is worded exactly as the marriage certificate except the words “bride” and “groom” are replaced with “party 1” and “party 2.”
Not exactly the best title, but we have been called worse.