Obtaining a civil union for tax purposes


Hi everyone!

First off, let me say this is the musings of (hopefully) a future theologian, not a real scenario!

Would it be morally licit to obtain a civil union (either heterosexual or homosexual, and feel free to make distinctions between the two if you think it matters morally) with a friend entirely for tax benefits? Consider it in a case where the benefits make the difference between barely surviving and having to cut back on essentials (food, etc.).

Secondly, would it be morally licit to adopt a foster child with a member of the opposite sex who is just a friend, if both members are not called to marriage, in order for the foster child to have a home, despite the fact that there would be no marriage? I use foster child since adoptions already have backloaded Interest from married couples, whereas the foster system does not have much interest from families sadly.

Thanks and God bless!


As a civil union is currently understood as akin to marriage in some sense, it would seem to imply sexual intimacy to the rest of the society, thus it would be a cause of scandal and would seem to be off the table for a Catholic. It also could lead to the weakening of marriage in our culture which would also remove it from the realm of the morally licit.

Children deserve to be brought up in a loving family with a husband and wife as a father and mother, which would rule this idea out as well.


It sounds almost like a business partnership for tax purposes. Which, to my untrained opinion seems o.k. in a morally licit sense, but borders on unethical with regard to taking advantage of tax loopholes. If it were a matter of barely surviving, then I would consider it o.k. It might cause scandal, but there’s a limit as to how responsible we are for what other people think of us.

Eh…this one is shadier. I think: no. Not o.k. The child needs to experience true love and affection between mother and father. But, if it’s to remove a child from the foster care system for a permanent placement in a two parent household…maybe?


Basic rule of thumb
If you are questioning it, then it probably is not the correct thing to do.

On the taxes – This seems like a way to cheat. Also, depending on the state you live in, you are also liable for each others debts.

As for being a foster parent – Would this be a good example to set for the children? Are you sure your state or county doesn’t allow single people to be foster parents?


A lie is a lie is a lie.

No and no.



I’m a bit curious about this last question, too. I don’t think it should be a norm. How does a religious community of brothers or sisters raising children left at their door-step fit into the picture? Do they generally still try to place them for adoption into a home with a mother and a father?


In general, and entering into a civil union for tax purposes outside economic necessity would probably be immoral. But it becomes dicier for me if someone required it, much like if a starving person steals what they need to get by and nothing else, they have not committed an immoral act, despite the fact that theft is grave matter.

They do, but would it be better to adopt a foster child as a single person if you could adopt jointly with a member of the opposite sex to at least provide them parental units of both genders, even though you have no romantic relationship underlined?


But there are exceptions where we, as Catholics, are allowed to misrepresent ourselves. They are few and far between, but there are some. Some deal with privacy issues, others deal with life-or-death issues, etc. Hence why I used a life-or-extreme-hardship issue in both cases (for one/both of the people in the first case, for the foster child in the second). Would your position still be the same?

Scandal is a huge issue, I agree. Would that be negated too if it meant helping someone escape poverty though? The close friends could certainly acknowledge to others that they needed to enter into it for financial reasons, which would help mitigate the scandal.

They deserve to, but in our current foster system, that is largely unrealistic. While everyone wants newborn infants, the older kids don’t have anyone, and just bounce from house to house. You’d still consider it illicit for two friends of opposite sexes to adopt? Keep in mind that the Church does allow for single-parent adoption (of newborns and foster children).


There’s certainly the potential for scandal here, but I’d say it could be avoided as long as your true situation is clear. I actually kind of like the idea of two men or two women (whose opposition to homosexuality is well-known) entering into a civil union or even a civil marriage, in order to obtain economic benefits and/or to make fun of “same-sex marriage”.

I definitely don’t think it’s fraud or deception - there’s no legal obligation for couples to love each other or have sexual relations with each other.


The entire reason we HAVE perks for marriage in tax and law is because actual marriage is innately ordered towards bettering society by making and raising healthy, happy, educated and well adjusted citizens. All the social data clearly shows that kids raised by mom and dad do better.

Attempting to grab these benefits for a relationship that doesn’t match the reason those perks were established is, frankly, fraud and greed.

The precedent is clear. If you marry a foreign national solely for the purpose of moving them up in the line for immigration (i.e. a fraud marriage), you can be prosecuted. It’s fraud. Same for trying to grab the OTHER benefits of marriage without the actual societally beneficial relationship being involved.

I think a single person with a roommate is allowed to foster parent. Not sure why you’d need a ‘civil union’ for that?


Which is why I used the example of a life-or-death person. If a person steals a box of cigarettes from a store, they committed grave matter. If a starving person steals a loaf of bread in order to live, they haven’t sinned at all. Is your position the same in a case where it’s impossible for the person to healthily survive without the tax benefits?

The second question was separate. I was asking whether the Church would find it moral or immoral for two people of the opposite sex to adopt, foster, or either together, since our child protective systems are so messed up.


Well I highly, highly doubt that it’s moral to enter into a SS civil union just to make fun of people. That seems decidedly not Christian. I also don’t think doing it for tax benefits outside of necessity would be moral either, as it involves greed, as others have said. I do agree that a civil union specifically would likely not be fraud, though, for reasons you stated.


In a society without safety nets, perhaps it would be akin to stealing a loaf of bread to avoid starvation. I’m not sure one can argue that our society is that bad at caring for the indigent. You might have to forgo luxuries most people take for granted, but very people die of exposure or starvation in America.


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