Equality for Same-Sex Couples
The Legal Recognition of Gay Partnerships in Europe and the United States
Merin begins by providing a historical overview of the transformation of marriage from antiquity to the present. He then identifies and critically compares four principal models for the legal regulation and recognition of same-sex partnerships: civil marriage, registered partnership, domestic partnership, and cohabitation. Merin concludes that all of the models except civil marriage discriminate against gays and lesbians just as the "separate but equal" doctrine discriminated against African Americans; thus, so-called alternatives to marriage, even if they provide the same rights and benefits as marriage, are inherently unequal and therefore unconstitutional.