This comment strikes me as being out of place. For one, since social security varies from country to country, this statement seems to be specific to the US (where social security is a big deal and where I think most RW-ians live). For another, it doesn't actually apply to the US; due to DOMA, married same-sex couples are treated as strangers by virtually all federal programs, including social security. The only possible exception is in Massachusetts, which has successfully sued the US government to recognize all its marriages. However, I don't believe that that decision is "out of the woods" (it may be appealed), and I don't know that it has actually gone into full effect yet. So as far as US federal benefits are concerned, civil unions, domestic partnerships, and same-sex marriages are all unrecognized.
Here's a wikified excerpt from a guide I made regarding the civil union/same-sex marriage difference:
Reasons why creating civil unions is not as effective as legalizing same-sex marriage:
- Civil unions can be confusing. Since they are rarely absolutely and completely equivalent to marriage, the differences can be subtle.
- Depending on region, they can sometimes leave out important rights, especially regarding children (the legal framework surrounding in vitro fertilization, surrogacy, adoption, custody).
- They are, by implication, not as good as a "real marriage". Getting married has a social meaning, but no one talks about getting the joys of getting civil-unioned. (Civil-unified? Domestic partnerficated? There's not even a good verb for it.)
- Due to this social stigma, many gay couples who would get married don't get civil unions, or postpone it. This is illustrated by the fact that far more gays rush to get married when it becomes legal, than rush to get civil unions when those are created. It can be galling to try to celebrate a relationship with a legal document that says "you're almost as good as everyone else".
- In some places, civil unions are available to both straight and gay couples as a way of giving legal status to cohabitation. In those places civil unions can be substantially different from marriage and openly represent a lower level of commitment.
- Civil unions which are based on residency (the couple is required to live together for a certain time in order to get one) can be very inconvenient and may be infeasible between citizens of two different countries.
- Civil unions/domestic partnerships play into a particular conservative view that gay couples are like friends/roommates who have sex, not like truly committed married couples. This is a way of escaping the cognitive dissonance associated with believing both "Gay couples are inferior to straight couples." and "I'm not a homophobe. I even have gay friends!" by equating committed gay relationships with a less committed form of straight relationship.
- Wherever there's a policy that recommends (or requires) marriage for straight couples and civil unions for gay couples, this invokes a "separate but equal" mentality. This sort of policy encourages discrimination, while masking it with an air of tolerance.
- Gender-neutral marriage laws solve the question of "Who can intersex and transsexual people marry?" Civil unions do not. People whose legal sex is unclear still have to endure a lot of legal confusion in order to determine whether or not they can get married.
- Same-sex marriage makes it easy to recognize marriages from other jurisdictions/nations. Without same-sex marriage, gay couples from other countries are hard to classify. If they are considered married, then they get rights not given to local gays. If considered to be in a civil union, or not recognized at all, their marriage has been "downgraded" just because they traveled.
- Similarly, gay couples who travel abroad may gain better recognition if considered married than if in a civil union. Marriage is widely recognized, whereas being in a civil union may not translate into a clear status even in a country that allows same-sex marriage.