Marriage or No, Gay Couples Face Quagmire of Legal Hurdles

By Price, Marie | THE JOURNAL RECORD, July 24, 2008 | Go to article overview

Marriage or No, Gay Couples Face Quagmire of Legal Hurdles


Price, Marie, THE JOURNAL RECORD


Being unable to marry places longtime committed couples such as Mary Bishop and Sharon Baldwin of Broken Arrow into a kind of legal limbo, with issues including taxes, health care, retirement benefits and inheritance.

"Sharon and I carry around with us in our luggage all of our legal documents that give each other rights that we would automatically have if we were married," said Bishop.

Those include their living wills, health care proxies and durable powers of attorney.

If one of them is hurt somehow and cannot make decisions, "We want the other one to be that person who has that power," Bishop said.

Being able to produce those documents would help preserve their sense of familial relationship during a time of crisis, she added.

Baldwin and Bishop have been together almost 12 years. They underwent a commitment ceremony in Florida in 2000.

Baldwin said having the documents drawn up to outline their legal wishes cost about $1,300, much more than a marriage license.

"There may be young gay couples out there who are just struggling to get by week to week, and they don't have $1,300 to give a lawyer," she said.

The benefits of legal marriage extend into other areas, Bishop said.

"The government provides financial benefits or incentives for people to get married," she said, stressing that those are not the most important reasons. "It rewards people for that."

As just one example, she said, when one partner in a marriage dies, the surviving spouse can receive Social Security benefits in retirement.

"Then there's the issue that we're not even allowed to choose whether we want to file our income taxes separately or jointly, like married couples have the right to do," Bishop said.

Even in states with more gay-friendly policies, such as Massachusetts and California, couples must file their income tax returns using their federal status, and federal law does not permit same-sex couples to file jointly, Baldwin said.

Bishop said that recognized family members can be put on an employee's health insurance, whereas a gay partner cannot, unless his or her company provides domestic partner benefits.

Baldwin estimated that 500-600 companies may provide such benefits.

Some might say that the government has no right getting involved in marriage in the first place, Bishop said.

"The fact is, it already does," she said. "But it treats people differently."

Bishop said there are more than 1,000 provisions in federal law that relate to marital status, and give rights and benefits to spouses.

Bishop, Baldwin and another couple challenged Oklahoma and federal laws banning gay marriage in 2004. The case is currently on appeal before the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Bishop said she and Baldwin chose to make their legal stand where they live rather than moving to, say, California. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Marriage or No, Gay Couples Face Quagmire of Legal Hurdles
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.