Looking back, I’m amazed what a difference just a few years made for gay marriage rights! In 2012, North Carolina passed a constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage, in addition to the current law that bans marriage for my family. The next day, our President announced support for gay marriage, followed by the NAACP. Since then, there has been a steady stream of legislative and judicial advancements: Gay marriage is now legal in 17 states. These events have sparked dialogue and conversations never enjoyed before now. Even within my own family, new discussions have emerged. This is healthy discourse for an evolving society.
As a financial professional, I wanted to remind our blog readers that the issues most important to my family are issues of legal protections, tax rights, and financial implications. There are many legal benefits with marriage, but here is a simple list of some categories that embody the nontraditional family’s financial burden. Here are benefits not afforded when gay marriage is illegal:
Social security benefits for partner
Social Security benefits for children
Tax free health benefits for domestic partners
Estate tax benefits
Family leave benefits
Nursing home protections
Home and real estate protections
As you begin having dialogue on same sex marriage laws, be sure you know the factual differences related to financial protections of federally recognized marriages (unrelated to social or religious differences). We need to remain super-prepared to battle in the courts for our rights. In my third grade classroom, I said the Pledge of Allegiance each morning, and my daughter does today; now my hope is that the entirety of that allegiance reaches its full truth for her children.