Marriage - Not Civil Unions - LGBT
Personal and financial commitments are at the heart of matrimony. Love, honor, obey - and support.
At the center of the gay marriage debate is the lack of equality as well as plain discrimination based on sexual preference. Marriage is sanctified by religious ceremonies where a man and a woman stand up before their families, friends, and for believers, before God, and affirm their commitment to each other and only to each other.
LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) couples also would like to openly announce their commitment for the same reasons as straight couples - love and backing. Personally, I am not so sentimental.
Regrettably, the federal government and nearly all states offer exclusive, special benefits solely to married couples made up of one man and one woman. In the U.S., married couples get more than 1,300 legal and monetary benefits not offered to unattached persons. That is just on the national level with regard to taxes, estates, housing, employment, survivor, social security, and military dependents, along with others.
One of the main flaws of democracy is mob rule. We have protections in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights which are set out to protect individuals, but governments have created ways to bolster one group above another based on race, gender, national origin, or sexual preference.
In the case of 1,300+ benefits for married couples, the couple must be one man and one woman. All other couples need not make a claim.
To limit marriage rights and benefits only to opposite sex partners mandated the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in 1996. This law prohibits the federal government from recognizing anything other than a one man-one woman marriage and permits the states to ignore same-sex marriages performed in other states.
In a one-page law, Congress discarded "equal protection" based on sexual preference plus the "full faith and credit" clause of the U.S. Constitution which requires states to recognize marriages performed in other states.
For example, when I was growing up in Virginia, couples too young to get married would travel to South Carolina to lawfully marry then come back home. Virginia would accept the "underage" marriage as legal. (Before 1967, however, Virginia would not recognize interracial marriages performed in other states.)
Most gay couples would like to have their commitments respected as are traditional marriages.
Until same-sex marriages, domestic partnerships, and civil unions are recognized by the federal government, LGBT and unconventional families will have to rely on a combination of a Secure Couple LLC ™ and additional legal documents to acquire even a small percentage of the 1,300+ legal and monetary benefits available to married couples.
Visit http://securecouplellc.com for more information on how to construct your life to assert your relationship until the public and the law catch up with reality.
Charles F. Lamm is a retired attorney now supporting Secure Couple LLC for couples who cannot or who choose not to marry.