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See also: Same-sex relationship

Same-sex unions are legal or religious unions between two persons of the same sex.

In legal contexts, their recognition varies based upon the region in which the union is formed. Some regions allow same-sex marriage, civil marriage between two persons of the same sex. Others recognize civil unions or civil partnerships, a status equivalent or identical to marriage for same-sex couples. In the United States, however, state civil unions do not confer the federal benefits of marriage, and in some places, such as France, civil unions are also open to opposite-sex couples (Pacte civil de solidarité).

Domestic partnerships are also a term used for same-sex unions, most often by states, provinces, or municipalities in North America. Domestic partnerships may also be open to opposite-sex couples. These often include all state marriage rights, but fewer or no federal marriage rights. A similar union is the registered partnership, a term for civil unions in several European countries, such as the Scandinavian countries, Switzerland, and Australia. Other terms for such relationships include "life parternship", "stable union of couples", "significant relationship", and "reciprocal beneficiaries".

Some religious institutions recognize same-sex relationships (also called "holy unions"), such as in locations where government recognition of same-sex couples is not offered.

Historically, blood brotherhood ceremonies were practiced by many cultures, including China and Scandinavian peoples; the Christian church also recognized these unions, by a ceremony called adelphopoiesis ("brother-making"). Nevertheless, blood brotherhood had no connotation of homosexuality or sexual intimacy.

See also

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