LGBT Community: Legal Hardships Faced in 2015Written on April 15, 2015
Being a member of the LGBT community brings problems and rewards, just like those encountered in any other community. However, the LGBT community has problems that are specific to that community alone, based on the current laws in the U.S. that don’t give full marital rights to LGBT couples who have made a commitment to one another. Not having legal rights recognized in all states is an issue that is far from being settled.
Problems in the LGBT community:
- Advanced Legal Planning is a Must: Legal planning is a necessity for LGBT couples if they want to protect themselves, their children, and their assets. Currently, less than half of the states in the U.S. recognize same sex marriage as legal. For those unmarried LGBT couples in a committed relationship, legal planning is very important to your future. Consider speaking with an LGBT attorney to have executed legal documents in case something happens to one of you. Each partner needs to have the legal authority to act for the other, whether that entails signing documents, making decisions regarding finances and health needs, or carrying out the wishes of a partner when certain events occur.
- Doing Taxes as Same-Sex Couples Are More Difficult: The AJC reported in the Sunday April 12th edition that unrecognized marriage makes tax time even more difficult for LGBT couples that live together. If you live in a state that does not recognize your marriage partnership, then you have to file taxes separately. If the couple has a joint bank account, then they have to do the best they can to split up the income, taxable receipts, and donations. It is unfair that the states that don’t recognize the union will not allow an LGBT couple to file taxes together, yet still require each to pay separately. Until this issue is settled, tax day is just another example of LGBT couples losing out on the benefits of being recognized as a real married couple.
- Difficultly with Adoptions as an LGBT Couple: Adoptions must be legalized, and when you are a same-sex couple, there are even more rules that will apply. For example, in Michigan second parent adoptions are not allowed. The Michigan law currently provides that the state will not allow for one partner to legally adopt the other partner’s biological or adopted children. In order for the partner to have legal rights to the children if anything happens, she needs a power of attorney. in addition to other forms.
In a recent press conference, Mayor Michael Bloomberg (New York) explained his perspective on same-sex marriage and defended it by saying: “Every generation has expanded upon the freedoms won by their parents and grandparents….Each generation has removed barriers toward the American Dream…the next great barrier is the prohibition on marriage for same-sex couples.”
If you and your partner would like to make sure you are legally protected as a couple and prepared for your future, call The Silverbach Group to make an appointment.