Sunday, April 25, 2004
After May 17, litigation.
Peter DeMarco writes in the Boston Globe about the post-May 17 landscape for gay couples who marry in Massachusetts:
When ceremonies are over, gay couples will have to grapple with unresolved issues about how their marriages will affect issues such as taxes, wills, and adopted children, panel members told more than 125 gay men and lesbians at a free [Provincetown] seminar on the legal ramifications of gay marriage. The answers to many legal questions may take months or years to be resolved. . . .
Unanswered questions include whether employers have policies in place that will extend health insurance coverage to same-sex spouses; whether same-sex marriages will be recognized in states that do not have a Defense of Marriage Act; and whether domestic agreements remain valid.
For out-of-state gay couples who had planned to marry in Massachusetts, the picture got even murkier yesterday. Governor Mitt Romney, who has said that a 1913 state law prohibits them from marrying in Massachusetts, said he planned to rewrite state marriage license application forms to require evidence of where gay couples live or plan to live. . . .
In some circumstances, being married will afford gay couples rights they do not have under domestic agreements.
For instance, panelists said, if a gay couple own a house today, and one partner goes into a nursing home, the federal government can put a lien on the property to pay for nursing home care, potentially leaving the healthy partner without a home. If legally married, the spouse is protected and the house canít be seized.
However, panelists said, gay couples who are considering marriage also need to realize that, once married, either partnerís family members may be able to contest their will, meaning that a family member of a deceased spouse could sue for the coupleís joint assets. As of now, they cannot do that. . . .
Gay couples may have to declare they are single on federal tax forms because the US Defense of Marriage Act does not recognize same-sex state marriages.
When having children, gay couples may still need to legally adopt even if they are married. Spouses of employees of federal agencies, such as the post office, would not have the same beneﬁts as spouses of nonfederal employees. . . .
"The first place you should go if you want to get married is to the doctor for a blood test," said Maureen Monks, a lawyer with the Women's Law Collaborative.
"After that, go to your lawyer, your human resources administrator, your financial adviser, your accountant — and then maybe tell your family."
("After May 17, marriage is no cake walk, gays are told," Peter DeMarco, Boston Globe 4.25.04)
Copyright © 2004 by Philocrites | Posted 25 April 2004 at 8:35 AM