Before there was marriage for same-sex couples, there was the civil union. It was a precursor to marriage equality, one that provided the benefits and obligations of marriage without the name—a political compromise before the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality. Although the civil union has been made essentially irrelevant, it continues to raise legal questions about the rights and status of its participants. A recent case in New York, O’Reilly-Morshead v. O’Reilly-Morshead , shows continuing confusion about a status that was not quite marriage, but not quite anything else either.
Joanna L. Grossman,
Though Obsolete, the Civil Union Continues to Mystify Courts Verdict
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.hofstra.edu/faculty_scholarship/1012