On February 4, 2004, a year ago today, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court underscored its ruling of November 2003 granting same-sex couples the right to marry. The state Senate had requested a ruling on whether a form of civil union system such as the one developed in Vermont would satisfy the Court's previous ruling. The court rejected using civil unions as a remedy, "Because the proposed law by its express terms forbids same-sex couples entry into civil marriage, it continues to relegate same-sex couples to a different status. ... The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal." Civil unions grant couples most of the rights of state civil marriages, except the name, but provide none of the federal benefits of marriage, such as Social Security benefits.