Should unmarried couples have the same rights as married people?
With marriage equality being the law of the land, there’s still a group of people — both gay and straight – who are continuing the fight for equality.
Couples that have no desire to get married.
“We shouldn’t all have to get married to be treated equally,” said Sarah Wright, board chairwoman of Unmarried Equality.
Originally called the Alternatives to Marriage Project, the nonprofit was founded in 1998 by Marshall Miller and Dorian Solot, a straight, unmarried couple. They were frustrated with the discrimination they faced for not being married, including when they tried to lease an apartment together.
As long-time LGBT couples are fully aware, before their right to marriage was affirmed by the Supreme Court, unmarried couples do not have rights to one another’s health insurance, can’t visit each other in the ICU in some hospitals, and do not stand to inherit from their deceased partner.
“The privileges of marriage are entirely unearned,” Wright said. “It’s one choice among many, it’s on the continuum of relationship status, but it’s the one that gets all the attention and all the goodies.”
First comes the proposal, then comes a mad rush of planning the big day, whether it’s at the courthouse or a lavish wedding with matching cummerbunds. With the ban on gay marriage lifted in Florida, same-sex couples across the state are finally able to make their relationships official under the eyes of the law.
Which also means there’s lot of important, technical conversations and decisions that need to be made.
“There’s an overwhelming amount of information out there and so it’s just being able to get your arms around all of it and really, really understand and make sure you’re not missing anything,” said Scott Farber, senior vice president and wealth strategist at U.S. Trust. “There’s a lot going on, there are a lot of moving pieces.”
While same-sex couples by the law will be viewed the same as a heterosexual couple, for comfort’s sake, finding an attorney or accountant who has worked with LGBT couples may be best.
“Ask how familiar that individual is with the federal marriage laws,” Lori Barkus, an attorney in Weston, recommended. “A good question would be, how many situations similar to mine have you handled? Are you familiar with the laws relating to tax filings for same-sex couples who are married? Couples who were previously filing single but are now married?”
Perhaps the most sobering piece of advice?
“Don’t rush into do anything, because there are pretty dramatic ramifications to getting married,” Farber said.
Courtesy Eau Palm Beach
Study shows marriage equality will create up to 2,600 full and part-time jobs in Florida
Just six days into 2015, the year has already proven to be a landmark one for the LGBT community.
Late into the night, the ban on same-sex marriage was lifted and couples across the state celebrated by tying the knot with the loves of their lives. However, some are planning on forgoing the courthouse and going through the motions of planning a wedding — all good news for Florida’s economy.
“Anybody who does weddings, venues, caterers, hotels, restaurants — everybody is going to gain,” Peggy M. Lewis said. “A lot of people would love Fort Lauderdale and Miami as a destination site.”
Lewis owns Florida Ceremonies, where for 13 years she has served as a life cycle celebrant and writes ceremonies for different life occasions. Before gay marriage was legalized in other states, about a third of her clients were same-sex commitment ceremonies. Then, when states started to legalize gay marriage, people flocked to Massachusetts, New York, and other states where they could legally get married.
To some, American citizenship is worth its weight in gold, and many are willing to enter into a fraudulent marriage to get it.
It’s nothing new — an American citizen agreeing to marry an immigrant so they can get a green card. However, for gay immigrants in fraudulent heterosexual marriages, the overturning of part of the Defense of Marriage Act was a light at the end of the tunnel as well as a new set of problems.
According to the Center for Immigration Studies, up to 30 percent of marriages between citizens and immigrants are “green card marriages.” (www.CIS.org/MarriageFraud)
Francisco Silva* was born and raised in Brazil, living a gay life under the radar, and in order to stay in the U.S married a woman – until she filed for divorce this year. His reasons for taking the risk of deportation – and five years imprisonment and $250,000 fine for her – was because he was free to live openly here with his partner.
Traian Popov, left, and Julian Marsh were married in 2012 in Brooklyn. (Photo courtesy of Popov and Marsh)
Julian Marsh and Traian Popov’s love story started like any other – seeing each other at two consecutives parties led to dating and eventually a trip to Brooklyn in October 2012 to get married. But now, two years after it all started, they’re swept up in a whirlwind of history making and their names splashed in newspapers around the world.
Read more at South Florida Gay News.