Former US Solicitor General and attorney in the Perry v.
Schwarzenegger case Theodore Olsen said that recognising same-sex couples under the term 'domestic partnership' stigmatizes gay people's relationships treating them as if they were "something akin to a commercial venture, not a loving union".
A New Jersey commission which reviewed the state's civil union law reported that the law "invites and encourages unequal treatment of same-sex couples and their children".
Proponents of civil unions say that they provide practical equality for same-sex couples and solve the problems over areas such as hospital visitation rights and transfer of property caused by lack of legal recognition.
Civil unions are not seen as a replacement for marriage by many in the LGBT community.
"Marriage in the United States is a civil union; but a civil union, as it has come to be called, is not marriage," said Evan Wolfson of Freedom to Marry.
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In Brazil, civil unions were first created for opposite-sex couples in 2002, and then expanded to include same-sex unions through judicial decision nine years later.
Many jurisdictions with civil unions recognize foreign unions if those are essentially equivalent to their own; for example, the United Kingdom lists equivalent unions in Civil Partnership Act Schedule 20.
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