A civil union is a domestic relationship that provides state-based legal rights, responsibilities and benefits to couples of the same sex. On January 1, 2008, New Hampshire became the fourth state enact laws that recognize civil unions. A civil union entitles the parties to “all the rights and subject to all the obligations and responsibilities provided for in state law that apply to parties who are joined together [in a marriage] pursuant to RSA 457." Some of these rights and obligations include:
· inheritance rights and intestate succession;
· wills, survivorships, or other incidents of the acquisition;
· access to courts under family and divorce law;
· health and auto insurance benefits;
· state family medical and bereavement leave benefits;
· protection against discrimination based on marital status;
· medical decision making powers and hospital visitation rights;
· workers’ compensation dependency benefits;
· standing for wrongful death and loss of consortium claims
· crime victims’ rights;
· marital privileges in court proceedings; and
· vital records