Civil Union Law and Legal Definition

In the context of Family law, civil union is a marriage-like relationship, often between members of the same sex, recognized by civil authorities within a jurisdiction. Civil union is also known as civil partnership. Civil unions were first recognized in Vermont. It was in December 1999, that the Vermont Supreme Court ruled that denying gay couples the benefits of marriage amounted to or resulted in unconstitutional discrimination. Subsequently, the legislature passed a civil-unions law and it took effect on July 1, 2000.