Marriage Equivalent

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Traditionally marriage is a religious institution that binds the union of a man and women. Over time marriage has become intertwined into government despite countries trying to separate church from state. Because of this people of same sex relationships have been prevented from getting married.

However, what if governments created a marriage equivalent that would be the only form of union recognised by government? This marriage equivalent would allow consenting adults of any race, gender or sexual preference to form unions.

This would allow religions to still perform marriages but these marriages would not be recognised by the government, they would only be recognised by the church.

So what does the escapist think? I realise this will probably never happen has people of religion hold too much sway at the voting booth but I believe that this solution should make everyone happy in the long run.

Edit: As Bentusi16 has pointed out I might be a bit confused on the whole process. This thread can be locked.

Sprogus:
Traditionally marriage is a religious institution that binds the union of a man and women. Over time marriage has become intertwined into government despite countries trying to separate church from state. Because of this people of same sex relationships have been prevented from getting married.

However, what if governments created a marriage equivalent that would be the only form of union recognised by government? This marriage equivalent would allow consenting adults of any race, gender or sexual preference to form unions.

This would allow religions to still perform marriages but these marriages would not be recognised by the government, they would only be recognised by the church.

So what does the escapist think? I realise this will probably never happen has people of religion hold too much sway at the voting booth but I believe that this solution should make everyone happy in the long run.

Why kowtow to the bigots? It's not as if they own the idea of marriage. They don't like it? Too bad for them.

All you'd be doing is changing the word and if someone is so petty they try to claim it for their own, why care about them? If someone wants to hold on to the word marriage because their ego makes them think they own it I don't want them to be happy.

So civil unions basically?

Also, wont that just mean that people will have to get married a second time if they get married in a church?

Why would we go through all this trouble when we could just as simply let set of adults get married regardless of orientation?

Sprogus:
Traditionally marriage is a religious institution that binds the union of a man and women. Over time marriage has become intertwined into government despite countries trying to separate church from state. Because of this people of same sex relationships have been prevented from getting married.

However, what if governments created a marriage equivalent that would be the only form of union recognised by government? This marriage equivalent would allow consenting adults of any race, gender or sexual preference to form unions.

This would allow religions to still perform marriages but these marriages would not be recognised by the government, they would only be recognised by the church.

So what does the escapist think? I realise this will probably never happen has people of religion hold too much sway at the voting booth but I believe that this solution should make everyone happy in the long run.

You seem to be a little confused on how marriage works.

That thing that happens in a church is not marriage. Nor in the synagogue, mosque, druid temple, circle of stones, whatever. Those are just fluff. As far as the U.S. government is concerned you just took part in a very elaborate ceremony that has no meaning.

The actual marriage doesn't occur until you go into a back room and sign a couple of documents that change your tax status.

It's also mostly handled at a state level. Most states don't actually have specific wording regarding this stuff. Which is really the problem, since 'if it doesn't' say it specifically' people assume it means exclusion, or decide to give it meaning it doesn't specifically say it has.

You can be married in a religion and not have it recognized by the United States government.

Sprogus:
Traditionally marriage is a religious institution that binds the union of a man and women.

No.

And now that we have that misconception cleared up, it should also be noted that the reason the government has gotten "mixed up" in marriage is because of taxes. The government realizes that when people are in a long-term committed relationship, their incomes and properties intermingle which causes some changes in what they own and how much they make. By legally recognizing these long-term couples, they can more accurately and more fairly tax these people. Rather than taxing two people separately for having their names on the same house, they are both taxed but at a lower rate (more or less, I realize it's a bit different and more complicated than that but that's the idea).

Also, having a legal definition for significant others makes things like hospital visitations, inheritance, child custody, getting shared loans/bank accounts a lot easier to sort out.

Up to this point, marriage has been the simplest measuring stick to use for deciding who these long-term couples are. This is why "legal" marriage and "religious" marriage are two completely different things. I could go up to a church and get married, but unless I sign that state-certified paperwork that doesn't mean shit to the government. Hell I could go to a Native American settlement and get officially married by an Indian priest by all the traditions of that tribe, but that still doesn't mean it's "legal." On that same hand, I could go to a judge and have none of those religious bells and whistles, and while the government will accept me as married the Catholic church will disagree because I haven't gone through their whole rigamarole.

So, no. Marriage is not completely religious, and if you want to really get to its Biblical roots then we'll have to convert to a polygamous system and whenever the husband dies the wife is required to marry the husband's brother. And if the husband has no brother or he won't have her...then well she's a bit screwed.

Also, I think you might realize this now already but I feel like it's worth reiterating. Nobody is asking for churches to be forced to marry people they don't want to marry. Catholics are allowed to refuse to marry non-Catholics, so the idea of individual churches and institutions having their personal requirements for their marriages is neither new nor what people want in terms of gay rights. What they want is an expansion of who the government considers to be eligible for marriage. Churches can still do whatever the hell they want, it's the legal definition people want changed.

I would fully support the idea of civil unions for everyone, it seems the best way to get everyone additional rights.

I think it would be better if gay people could just get married to each other.

BUT THAT WOULD BE WRONG.

Marriage is tied up in all sorts of stigmas. It's not just religious. In fact, it's hardly religious at all, as John Green points out in Lilani's post. Marriage has all kinds of sexist and outdated connotations. There are a whole lot of reasons which I think make civil unions for everyone a good solution. Even better though, we could have no formal unions in the governments eyes. As it turns out, the economic benefits of marriage turn out rather minimal, if not non-existent. As for the other benefits of marriage, I think it would be easy to implement those in other ways (ie co-residence or via the private sector). Also, it would force people to handle what is now a messy and costly process called divorce in a mature and reasonable manner.

This was typed in haste while I was tired, so if you desire any clarification, go ahead and ask.

I still have yet to hear a justification on how the religious (and, let's be honest, when people say that, they mean Abrahamic religions) own the word "marriage" anyway.

There isn't a single person calling to invalidate the marriages of atheists. No one is arguing that the Hindus who marry aren't really married. I have yet to see a single movement to take away the marriage licenses of pagans.

So I simply must conclude that "marriage" does not belong to the Abrahamic religions. Ergo, Christians need to stop arguing that we're stealing "their" word. That boat sailed long ago.

Church ceremonies have no legal effect in Germany, only going to a civil registry office can get you married here.
And despite that we've failed to provide marriage equality as yet.

Sprogus:
Traditionally marriage is a religious institution that binds the union of a man and women. Over time marriage has become intertwined into government despite countries trying to separate church from state. Because of this people of same sex relationships have been prevented from getting married.

You're starting off with a false assumption. Marriage predates recorded history, and certainly secular marriage law predates the Abrahamic religions. An example of this being the Code of Hammurabi, which was a legal charter (not a religious script) which dictated the terms and conditions of marriage in ancient Mesopotamia, almost 2000 years before Jesus of Nazareth was even born.

While marriage law or lack thereof has varied quite a lot throughout history, it's been a legal institution for longer than it has been a religious one. Today in the US and any other Western nation marriage is first and foremost a legal institution. While in some countries ministers of religion can officiate a marriage they must first be approved by the government to do so. If they aren't, or they violate the government's laws on who they can and can't marry the marriage is legally void. There are no shortage of faiths and congregations that perform same-sex marriages but these marriages are rendered non-existent by the government, if not the particular state government then still the federal government. If this was really about religious freedom then surely all religious marriages would be recognised by the government, not just the one-man-one-woman kind.

On another note, how many couples who are currently married do you think would be willing to have their relationships downgraded by the government to civil unions? Most people get married because they want to be married, the word marriage means something to us, marriage is the name that we gave the ritual, it wasn't a brand new idea and a brand new word that someone just came up with one day. If you think the conservatives flip out about a "redefinition of marriage" now, imagine how they'd react if the government ever decided to drop marriage altogether. Like I said, it's not about religious freedom, if it was then the individual Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, etc. would be fighting within their own congregations to keep their traditional form of marriage instead of what they actually do, which is fight to prevent all secular legal recognition of gay couples on both state and federal level, often with constitutional amendments, while showing indifference to churches that do choose to perform and recognise same-sex marriages, as long as those won't be given any recognition from the government.

Finally, I'm not sure if you were aware but about half of the fifty states of the USA have constitutional bans on civil unions, domestic partnerships, or any and all legal recognition of a relationship other than a marriage between one man and one woman. Relationship law has usually been the purview of the state governments, a national reform to replace "civil marriage" with "civil union" would already be impossible without having to worry about 20-something states that already have that banned in their constitutions.

Skeleon:
Church ceremonies have no legal effect in Germany, only going to a civil registry office can get you married here.
And despite that we've failed to provide marriage equality as yet.

At least Germany has registered partnerships for gay couples. You'd still have more rights as a gay German with a registered partnership than you would as a gay American with a marriage.

Thank you everyone for your responses. I know now that I clearly just didn't understand the processes of marriage. This is just an idea I have been playing around with in my head for a while. Back to the drawing board as they say.

Sprogus:
Thank you everyone for your responses. I know now that I clearly just didn't understand the processes of marriage. This is just an idea I have been playing around with in my head for a while. Back to the drawing board as they say.

Hey at least you're willing to admit the misunderstanding :-) You had me a bit scared there at first, but it seems you did come here with the right mindset. Some people just come here to present their idea as fact and defend it to the end regardless of what new facts come to light, but clearly that wasn't your intention or thought process here.

Well good night, hope to see you again soon :-)

The way I figure it is this...
-From an American perspective as I'm not really knowledgeable in other nation's laws.

As long our SECULAR government recognizes marriage as a legal contract between adults, then it is only fair if that same contract is extended to ALL adults who wish to use it.

Heterosexual, Bisexual, Homosexual, and even polygamists should be allowed to get one.

As long as two or more people who are CONSENTING ADULTS, and there's no weird ass suicide-pact-cult or maniupulation of someone with disabilities stuff, there's no real reason NOT to.

What consenting adults do, as long as it does not hurt others, is none of my or our or the government's business.

Isn't this kind of how it works anyway?

What the religious right seem to have trouble understanding is that marriage doesn't mean one thing. The idea that if marriage equality passes churches will be forced to offer weddings to gay people is complete bullshit in most countries. The only country where that might theoretically be an issue is in the UK, where we have an established church (something the US constitution specifically forbids) and even here it's not an issue.

But anyway, anyone can sign a form and be "married" to someone (of the opposite sex) in the eyes of law. The precise cerermonial framework you put on that, whether it's a Catholic wedding or a Hindu wedding or a BDSM collaring ceremony, is nothing to do with the institution. This is civil marriage, it's already the "marriage equivalent". If you want to put on special clothes and have a tea party and claim that's the real important thing which makes a marriage a marriage, then fine, but the law does not care.

The issue here is that for some reason particular kinds of religious people are under the delusion that marriage, including civil marriage, is "their thing". It's not. They can have whatever ceremony they like, but the power of to legally join people together belongs to the state. If you don't register your marriage, it doesn't matter how much you think your special ceremony means you are one flesh, it's still legally meaningless until you inform the state and sign the form.

So yeah. This thing already exists, and those who think it doesn't are living in denial. Unfortunately, those same people would be just as affronted by what you're proposing as they would by gay marriage anyway. In their deluded minds it would mean the same thing, removing their conception of religious marriage from having legal weight or meaning which they think it has (although in reality, it doesn't).

Sorry, guess I was late on the scene.

personally i dont believe governments have any reason to be in the marriage business full stop.

wombat_of_war:
personally i dont believe governments have any reason to be in the marriage business full stop.

So theocracy is a preferable alternative to democracy?

ten.to.ten:
At least Germany has registered partnerships for gay couples. You'd still have more rights as a gay German with a registered partnership than you would as a gay American with a marriage.

Perhaps, although that is difficult to evaluate and compare. We still have a long way to go in any case.
For instance, our right-wing government just shot down a tax proposal because it would treat same sex couples in civil unions the same as heterosexual married couples.

German source: http://tagesschau.de/inland/steuerstreit182.html

And the sad thing? While the liberals deservedly suffer massive voter backlash for their incompetence over the last few years or even decades (that's European/economic liberals for our American friends), their voters seem to flock to the conservative party CDU instead.
And in this case, the fault is not even with the FDP, they were the junior partner in favour of equivalence here. They were actually right for once, incredibly enough.
Of course, the SPD isn't exactly advertising itself well, either. Idiots everywhere.

Dijkstra:
snip

Why kowtow to the bigots? It's not as if they own the idea of marriage. They don't like it? Too bad for them.

All you'd be doing is changing the word and if someone is so petty they try to claim it for their own, why care about them? If someone wants to hold on to the word marriage because their ego makes them think they own it I don't want them to be happy.[/quote]

But they cannot claim it as their own, as many non-bigoted institutions also practice marriage. It just means they will not be able to force their bigotry upon other members of the state.

Skeleon:
Perhaps, although that is difficult to evaluate and compare. We still have a long way to go in any case.
For instance, our right-wing government just shot down a tax proposal because it would treat same sex couples in civil unions the same as heterosexual married couples.

German source: http://tagesschau.de/inland/steuerstreit182.html

And the sad thing? While the liberals deservedly suffer massive voter backlash for their incompetence over the last few years or even decades (that's European/economic liberals for our American friends), their voters seem to flock to the conservative party CDU instead.
And in this case, the fault is not even with the FDP, they were the junior partner in favour of equivalence here. They were actually right for once, incredibly enough.
Of course, the SPD isn't exactly advertising itself well, either. Idiots everywhere.

As disappointing as the German political process has been regarding gay relationships you mustn't forget that married gay couples in America have literally zero federal benefits granted to them. German civil partnership couples might not quite have federal benefits equal to straight married couples but they have a lot more than zero.

Different social orders throughout history had very different ideas on marriages, couples, and sexuality in general.

One Pacific Island had so much public sex and orgy that they didn't even figure out that babies come sex. They actually thought it was ghosts who put the baby in the oven just because they had sex so much it would be like assuming going onto the internet got you pregnant.

A Native American Indian (I cannot keep track of what is the "PC" term for that) tribe near my area actually had all the child rearing done by gay men.

Throughout most of European history, marriage was closer to a business exchange than anything done out of love. Your family has a lot of money, my family has a lot of money. Send my son your daughter and we both will have more money. You think any of the nobility were ever faithful to there wives, even when they were princesses and queens? Of course not. You were not a royal if you didn't have a mistress.

Even if a "Civil Union" has all the same benefits as marriages, it's a symbolic loss and is one less right to people that swing the other way.

Not G. Ivingname:
Even if a "Civil Union" has all the same benefits as marriages, it's a symbolic loss and is one less right to people that swing the other way.

Yeah, it's saying "You don't deserve this, only we are special enough to get this". You can't say that and pretend you believe in equality.

Not G. Ivingname:
Different social orders throughout history had very different ideas on marriages, couples, and sexuality in general.

One Pacific Island had so much public sex and orgy that they didn't even figure out that babies come sex. They actually thought it was ghosts who put the baby in the oven just because they had sex so much it would be like assuming going onto the internet got you pregnant.

A Native American Indian (I cannot keep track of what is the "PC" term for that) tribe near my area actually had all the child rearing done by gay men.

Throughout most of European history, marriage was closer to a business exchange than anything done out of love. Your family has a lot of money, my family has a lot of money. Send my son your daughter and we both will have more money. You think any of the nobility were ever faithful to there wives, even when they were princesses and queens? Of course not. You were not a royal if you didn't have a mistress.

Even if a "Civil Union" has all the same benefits as marriages, it's a symbolic loss and is one less right to people that swing the other way.

Considering that, at that point, the marriage designation is left soley to the churches and there are plenty of religious sects that will wed same sex couples, I wouldn't call that a defeat at all. A church should not be forced to perform a ceremony it does not wish to.

GunsmithKitten:

Not G. Ivingname:
Different social orders throughout history had very different ideas on marriages, couples, and sexuality in general.

One Pacific Island had so much public sex and orgy that they didn't even figure out that babies come sex. They actually thought it was ghosts who put the baby in the oven just because they had sex so much it would be like assuming going onto the internet got you pregnant.

A Native American Indian (I cannot keep track of what is the "PC" term for that) tribe near my area actually had all the child rearing done by gay men.

Throughout most of European history, marriage was closer to a business exchange than anything done out of love. Your family has a lot of money, my family has a lot of money. Send my son your daughter and we both will have more money. You think any of the nobility were ever faithful to there wives, even when they were princesses and queens? Of course not. You were not a royal if you didn't have a mistress.

Even if a "Civil Union" has all the same benefits as marriages, it's a symbolic loss and is one less right to people that swing the other way.

Considering that, at that point, the marriage designation is left soley to the churches and there are plenty of religious sects that will wed same sex couples, I wouldn't call that a defeat at all. A church should not be forced to perform a ceremony it does not wish to.

I am not saying that. You don't want to marry gay people in your church? Fine, I don't have a problem with that.

What I DO have a problem is when gay people are not allowed to be together under the title of "marriage," only allowed to make "Civil Unions" under law. You don't need to go to any church or be in front of a priest to legally get married, you just need to go to the local government building and get your marriage license. When gay people can't even do that, where they cannot get the legal title of marriage anywhere, that is when I have a problem with it.

The latest I have heard is that the reasoning behind state involvement in marriages was to enforce bans against inter-racial marriage. The state should never have had any business in this field at all.

Or it could be part of extracting money from the people to feed their meaningless bureaucracy through fees.

aelreth:
Or it could be part of extracting money from the people to feed their meaningless bureaucracy through fees.

Heh, while I always enjoy a "greedy government"-joke... if that were the case here, you'd think they'd want as many marriages happening as possible, be that interracial, gay, lesbian, transgendered etc. and encourage equal treatment. Marriages cost a ton of money. Not just in government fees if such exist, but also the whole ceremony/feast/party etc. aspects of it. Quite a bit of an economic boost locally, one could imagine.

ten.to.ten:
As disappointing as the German political process has been regarding gay relationships you mustn't forget that married gay couples in America have literally zero federal benefits granted to them. German civil partnership couples might not quite have federal benefits equal to straight married couples but they have a lot more than zero.

I guess so, yes. Still, I'd like to compare my country to countries who do it better than we do as I aspire to progress in our societies. And when we consider how well some countries handle it already, our own lack of progress is quite apparent.

Personally, I feel that the term civil union is applicable to a wider range of situations than marriage ever will be, as I see no reason why the rights granted by the state through that title should only be available to those who are romantically involved with each other. That being said, the symbolic importance of the word itself is somewhat important. I get why people want that word to remain the legal term and why they feel it will ultimately be a defeat for them if the extension of marriage rights comes at the cost of that change in terminology (for everyone, of course). I would tell such people to just go get married then. There is nothing stopping them once this has happened. They can just decide together that yes, they are married and go ahead and live as such. If anything it would be easier. However, it is ultimately preferable if first the symbolic battle is won, and then the terminology is changed. From my perspective that would be ideal.

Also, I wouldn't say that marriage should be a religious thing, rather I would call it a social or cultural thing, as marriage predates most organized religions.

Skeleon:

aelreth:
Or it could be part of extracting money from the people to feed their meaningless bureaucracy through fees.

Heh, while I always enjoy a "greedy government"-joke... if that were the case here, you'd think they'd want as many marriages happening as possible, be that interracial, gay, lesbian, transgendered etc. and encourage equal treatment. Marriages cost a ton of money. Not just in government fees if such exist, but also the whole ceremony/feast/party etc. aspects of it. Quite a bit of an economic boost locally, one could imagine.

It would indeed, however money is second, the first remains finding a way to put people in a cage where they have people only able to act in what the jailer believes is the moral path (Rothbard rephrase). I see it as more of a rat in a maze.

Sounds like a great idea. Seriously. We're talking about government recognized unions. I don't think doing this is kowtowing to bigots. It is opening up the ability of willing adults to enter into committed relationships with all the protections of other relationships as the one man, one woman sort of thing.

This union would recognize many important couplings that today are not recognized. For instance, when an adult child commits to see a parent through a comfortable old age.

I can't say for sure I know how it would work. I am a man married to a woman. We agreed to care for her elderly parents. Can we be "married" to them and get benefits? I'd like that.

Gorfias:
Sounds like a great idea. Seriously. We're talking about government recognized unions. I don't think doing this is kowtowing to bigots. It is opening up the ability of willing adults to enter into committed relationships with all the protections of other relationships as the one man, one woman sort of thing.

This union would recognize many important couplings that today are not recognized. For instance, when an adult child commits to see a parent through a comfortable old age.

I can't say for sure I know how it would work. I am a man married to a woman. We agreed to care for her elderly parents. Can we be "married" to them and get benefits? I'd like that.

In some Australian states you can register a "caring relationship" with that state government. You go through more or less the same process as if you were romantic partners registering a domestic partnership, but instead it's between an infirm or disabled person and their carer. They're granted most of the same recognition and benefits from the state government as couples in domestic partnerships or marriages.

I think this is a really underrated idea and it disappoints me that few governments show any interest in it. It would also be impossible to implement in the 20-something American states which have bans against any legal domestic union other than one-man-one-woman marriage.

The difference between me and you though is that I still want the government to recognise marriages, gay or straight, secular or religious. I don't see why we can't have marriages and civil unions and anything else you can come up with, and have the government recognise all of them equally.

Gorfias:

I can't say for sure I know how it would work. I am a man married to a woman. We agreed to care for her elderly parents. Can we be "married" to them and get benefits? I'd like that.

This seems smart actually. Ive heard of a brother/sister family raising a MUCH younger (step? Half? I dont remember so well) sister after a pretty tragic family event. No romantic involvement. Just looking after. I think they should be allowed "Marriage" rights. It makes little sense they are not considering they do everything a married couple would without the romantic attachment.

ten.to.ten:

The difference between me and you though is that I still want the government to recognise marriages, gay or straight, secular or religious. I don't see why we can't have marriages and civil unions and anything else you can come up with, and have the government recognise all of them equally.

Governments tend to do a bad job at "equal but different" is all. Breaking it down to one term prevents government from forcing in little benefits to one term over the other. I suppose allowing people to register for the same benefits under different titles while having the legal term be consistent could prevent this, but that seems rather hollow.

ten.to.ten:

Gorfias:
Sounds like a great idea. Seriously. We're talking about government recognized unions. I don't think doing this is kowtowing to bigots. It is opening up the ability of willing adults to enter into committed relationships with all the protections of other relationships as the one man, one woman sort of thing.

This union would recognize many important couplings that today are not recognized. For instance, when an adult child commits to see a parent through a comfortable old age.

I can't say for sure I know how it would work. I am a man married to a woman. We agreed to care for her elderly parents. Can we be "married" to them and get benefits? I'd like that.

In some Australian states you can register a "caring relationship" with that state government.

That sounds good and fair and better than anything we have in the USA. I'm not even certain if I could claim my inlaws as dependents. Never thought about it but I'm sure they'd have been insulted by the idea. But they were. They have since passed and it's a moot point for me, but not others.

The difference between me and you though is that I still want the government to recognise marriages, gay or straight, secular or religious. I don't see why we can't have marriages and civil unions and anything else you can come up with, and have the government recognise all of them equally.

Been a while but back in the day, I think it was Louisiana that wanted to try an idea: differing marriage licenses. Total, no divorce allowed commitments would be class A, fault divorce B, no fault divorce allowed, C, etc. People found the idea offensive. I think we need a one size fits all approach for this reason. If you were gay or straight, and religious marriage was officially recognized, but civil unions were something else, I think there'd be trouble.

BiscuitTrouser:

This seems smart actually. Ive heard of a brother/sister family raising a MUCH younger (step? Half? I dont remember so well) sister after a pretty tragic family event. No romantic involvement. Just looking after. I think they should be allowed "Marriage" rights. It makes little sense they are not considering they do everything a married couple would without the romantic attachment.

Exactly. I think as our nation ages....and it is, this idea may become more and more in vogue. I'll support it.

Gorfias:
That sounds good and fair and better than anything we have in the USA. I'm not even certain if I could claim my inlaws as dependents. Never thought about it but I'm sure they'd have been insulted by the idea. But they were. They have since passed and it's a moot point for me, but not others.

You could have providing they met the following criteria:
Not a qualifying child - The dependent cannot be a qualifying child of another taxpayer.

Gross Income - The dependent earns less than the personal exemption amount during the year. For 2011, this meant the dependent earns less than $3,700.

Total Support - You provide more than half of the dependent's total support during the year.

Relationship - You are related to the dependent in certain ways; son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter, great grandson or great granddaughter, stepson or stepdaughter, or adopted child, brother or sister, half-brother or half-sister, step-brother or step-sister, mother or father, grandparent, great-grandparent, stepmother or stepfather, nephew or niece, aunt or uncle, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, father-in-law, or mother-in-law, or
foster child who was placed in your custody by court order or by an authorized government agency.

Joint Return - If the dependent is married, the dependent cannot file a joint return with his or her spouse.

Citizenship - The dependent must be a citizen or resident alien of the United States, Canada, or Mexico.

If you have the relevant documentation to show all this you'd have been able to claim them as dependents.

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