According to the federal government’s General Accounting Office and Utah Payday loans Lending Acts, there are more than 1,049 automatic federal and additional state protections, benefits and responsibilities that accompany civil marriage.  It is critical to understand what’s at stake. 


A heterosexual married couple receives:     

R Access to Social Security after spouse’s death

R Access to health insurance through spouse’s workplace1    

R The right to custody of children after divorce

R Joint parenting rights, such as access to children’s school records2   

R Bereavement leave after death of a spouse1

R Burial determination after the death of a spouse    

R Sick leave to care for spouse or non-biological child1    

R Legal validation of a long-term relationship

R Ability to live in neighborhoods deemed “families only”    

R Access to life insurance in spouse’s workplace 1    

R Access to survivor benefits in case of emergency3    

R Access to spouse’s c rime victim’s recovery benefits    

R Ability to file wrongful death claims 

R Right to shared property, child support and alimony after divorce   

R Ability to file joint home and auto insurance policies3    

R Joint rental leases with automatic renewal right if spouse dies or leaves  

R Access to adopting children 

R Automatic inheritance of shared assets after spouse’s death4   

R Automatic inheritance of retirement savings tax-free after spouse’s death  

R Ability to file joint tax returns 

R Access to tax breaks for married couples

R Veterans discounts based on spouse’s armed forces status   

R Assumption of spouse’s pension benefits after death4    

R Ability to file joint bankruptcy 

R Ability to collect unemployment benefits after relocating because of spouse’s job 

R Ability to transfer property to spouse without transfer tax consequences  

R Automatic next-of-kin status for emergency medical decisions   

R Automatic next-of-kin status for hospital visitation    

R Immigration and residency priority for spouses from other countries  

R Ability to invoke spousal privilege in a court of law    

R Access to reduced rate memberships at health clubs, social clubs, organizations 

R Prison visitation rights   

A same sex couple receives: 


Current Idaho law states, “Marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between a man and a woman.” (I.C. § 32-201), and further provides, “All marriages contracted without this state, which would be valid by the laws of the state or country in which the same were contracted, are valid in this state, unless they violate the public policy of this state. Marriages that violate the public policy of this state include, but are not limited to, same-sex marriages, and marriages entered into under the laws of another state or country with the intent to evade the prohibitions of the marriage laws of this state.” (I.C. § 32-209).  Same sex couples cannot currently marry in Idaho.    

For more information contact

Your Family Friends and Neighbors

P.O. Box 768

Boise, ID  83701

Nikki Leonard


American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho

P.O. Box 1897

Boise, ID  83701

Jack Van Valkenburgh


Idaho Women’s Network

P.O. Box 1385

Boise, ID  83701

Wendy Morgan












Your Family Friends and Neighbors -