All Articles Tagged "same sex"
Sweeping statements about morality and religion populate the debate over same-sex marriage, while the financial consequences often go unaddressed. The financial impact on the Black community isn’t even an afterthought. But for some African-Americans, love is one of the biggest barriers to achieving wealth.
Marriage As A Contract
Many forget the financial safety net legal marriage provides. “There are roughly 1,100 benefits, rights, and protections conferred on married couples on the federal level. And hundreds more benefits, rights, and protections that married couples receive under state law,” attorney Camilla Taylor, Marriage Project director at Lambda Legal, a national organization advocating for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and people with HIV, tells Black Enterprise.
Eight states currently allow civil unions or domestic partnerships. Another nine and the District of Columbia permit same-sex marriage. Twenty-nine states ban same-sex unions.
The government has never viewed marriage or divorce as the jurisdiction of religion, but as the forming and breaking of a legal contract. Under the 1996 federal Defense of Marriage Act, the federal government does not recognize any state-issued marital contracts. Until DOMA is struck down, the progress made for gay couples at the state level has limited benefits. And the financial consequences trickle down to the simplest life decisions.
Want a buy a home for your family? Unlike heterosexual couples where a home is automatically passed on to the surviving spouse in the event of their partner’s demise, your partner will have to pay a gift tax if they were added on to your deed.
Want to start a family? Some health insurance policies don’t cover maternal care costs; even more don’t offer domestic partner benefits. States that don’t support same-sex unions won’t allow you to be put on the birth certificate of non-biological children born during your partnership. This will affect your ability to list the child as a dependent on your health insurance, make medical decisions for the child, or even enroll them in school.
Want to care for your sick partner? If you live in a state that doesn’t recognize your marriage, getting health insurance will be an obstacle. Some employers have special programs that offer health insurance to domestic partners, but those benefits are federally taxed as additional income.
Want to take advantage of your federal benefits? You will receive fewer social security benefits than partners in a heterosexual marriage. The federal government will not recognize your same-sex spouse or non-biological children. And your partner will not qualify to receive your social security benefits.
Want to take care of a loved one after your death? While traditional husbands and wives have unlimited transfer of assets, you and your partner must piece together financial and legal protections for your assets after your death.
Want to start a new career? State marriage laws will limit what job offers you can take. If an attractive job offer is located in a state with discriminatory legislation you could lose more than you would gain from the opportunity.
Same-sex partnerships are so financially cumbersome that firms are creating divisions that cater to the LGBT community. Wells Fargo even developed an Accredited Domestic Partner Advisor certification in 2010 that specializes in the unique challenges same-sex couples face in estate and financial planning.
Dollars and Sense
According to a Gallup special report on the LGBT population in the United States, 4.6% of African Americans publicly identify as LGBT. That means currently at least 1.9 million Blacks will never be able to reach their full financial potential.
If the obstacles posed to millions of individuals’ financial dreams doesn’t mean anything, consider that a 2004 report by the Congressional Budget Office suggests that federally recognized gay marriage would reduce the budget deficit by about $450 million a year.
Maybe it’s time to stop viewing this issue in sweeping indictments. Maybe it’s time to stop thinking of our government as the purveyor of morality. Didn’t that ship sail a long time ago? Let’s look at this issue through a lens our government understands: the good old-fashioned American way of cash money.
Marriage is a legal structure that allows people to depend on each other, so they don’t have to depend on the government. And it doesn’t make much sense, or cents, to block the prosperity of a growing population of our country.
C. Cleveland covers professional development topics and entrepreneurial rebels who blaze their own career paths. She explores these stories and more on The Red Read, Twitter (@CleveOutLoud) and Facebook (/MyReadIsRed).
Bisexuality, for most, simply means duality: the attraction to both the same sex and the opposite sex –male and female. To some, however, bisexuality is reduced to promiscuity –individuals who are considered so perverse that they don’t exclude either sex from their conquests or attractions. And, that notion is perpetuated by many aspects of the media, predominately television; along with the idea that bisexuality is neither a real identity nor a lifestyle choice, but a way for men to curtain their “true” gay identities, and an opportunity for women to engage in non-emotional sexualized play –and that thought directly correlates to the onset of biphobia in waking generations.
Bisexuality is by no means a new occurrence in nature. Throughout recorded history, various humane societies and the animal kingdom have been documented as having explored bisexuality. Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome are prime examples of civilizations recognized as having bisexual tendencies, and the squid, the Bottlenose dolphin and black swans are just on the short list of animals who like to swim at both ends of the metaphoric pool.
The fact that bisexuality is documented does not dissuade naysayers from objecting and volunteering their opinions on the matter. The gray-middle ground, where bisexuality lies, upsets people because it isn’t black or white. Men who love men are always considered to be gay, and are rarely accepted as being bisexual. If he is seen with a woman after he’s already been perceived as gay, then she’s a “f*g hag” or a “beard,” and he’s jumping back inside the closet. And, this is often the opinion from both gay and straight bystanders, who are waiting for him to finally admit he’s gay or to keep lying to himself, and presumably be on the down-low. This is not the case at all, if a bisexual man happens to marry a woman, he is no more inclined to cheat on his wife than a heterosexual man, or he would his husband. To assume that he would have to live a double life in order to satisfy his urges suggests that people don’t believe that bisexuals are able to maintain healthy and loving relationships without straying.
And, for bisexual women, the problem is entirely different. The assumption is that bisexual encounters between two women only happen when alcohol is involved, or during experimentation. Or, if there is a relationship, then it is just a phase. These women are expected to be having “fun” prior to the presumably superior life of hetero-normality. This, again, is reductive. The assumption not only cheapens the idea of female sexual experiences of women, but it suggests that a same sex relationship involving a bisexual woman is not a lasting one.
The challenge for society is to understand that fluidity in sexuality doesn’t simply occur when a person is drunk or horny (not every bi-person is hetero-flexible or straight-when-sober), it occurs through actualized attractions and personal honesty. Bisexuality can become more accepted if individuals refrain from jumping to conclusions about another person’s sexuality based on who others are dating or having sex with –also being candid and frank about one’s own attractions makes people less bigoted toward other people’s attractions and choices.
Are N.C Republicans Using the Same-Sex Referendum to Prove a Point to Obama and the Democratic Party?
The North Carolina House voted Monday whether to allow a May referendum on the issue concerning adding a ban of gay marriage to the state’s constitution.
The amendment is worded to protect businesses in the state that may offer health and life insurance to domestic partners. Unfortunately the state and municipal government employees that have domestic spouses enjoying the same benefits will no longer be afforded the same privilege.
Bear in mind that while North Carolina has a law that defines marriage solely between a man and a woman; at the same time, there is no constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis told reporters that he is confident that the referendum will go to voters in May – a notion that is going against many critics, that believe that the Republican-dominated house was pushing for a November date.
Tillis also discussed that the May decision was not about politics, even though the date coincides with those of the Republican primary. Yet, with all the strong Republican candidates coming out adamantly against same-sex marriage – having the referendum vote in May would further cement the parties right-winged tilt, inching them one more step towards victory.
Although 61 percent of North Carolina citizens believe gay marriage should remain illegal, 55 percent would vote against a constitutional amendment, detailed a poll released by the Public Policy Polling, last week. However, Republican voters are split, with 47 percent saying amending the state constitution is going too far.
While, this poll is primarily being discussed on a state level, some have discussed how President Barack Obama’s reelection efforts in North Carolina may be affected by the possible May referendum date. Especially since Obama barely squeaked out of victory in 2008.
Since the 2012 Democratic National Convention will be held in Charlotte, Obama’s campaign is making it no secret that he plans to win the state over again during this upcoming election.
The bill is now heading towards the Senate for approval but with the Republican majority already claiming victory – the outlook seems somewhat bleak. Even though, a September survey by the PPP found that 43% of North Carolinians approved of Obama’s job performance; even still the polling group puts the President’s chances at winning the state again at 50-50.
Cynthia Wright is an avid lover of all things geeky. When she isn’t freelancing, she can be found on her blog BGA Life and on Twitter at @cynisright.