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Chattanooga, Tennessee Rescinds Domestic Partnership Ordinance 63%-37%

Friday, August 8th, 2014

Tennessee mapIn a lopsided vote, city voters overturned the domestic partnership ordinance recently passed by the city council.

Think Progress reports:

Voters in Chattanooga, Tennessee overwhelmingly decided Thursday to undo a recently passed law that extended health benefits to the domestic partners of city employees. With a vote of 13,685-8,184, the town overturned the law originally passed 5-4 by the City Council. The Human Rights Campaign decried the vote as “hurtful and disappointing,” but Mayor Andy Berk was still hopeful. He told WTVC, “I have no doubt Chattanoogans value fairness and equality, and I am proud of the volunteers who spent nights and weekends to ensure our employees are treated equally.” He assured city employees, “Your work is valued and you are important to the future of our community.”

Once again, the lie that it’s only about the word “marriage” is exposed. It’s really about denying any and all rights to LGBT individuals, couples and families.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Tennessee.

USA, Oregon: Ninth Circuit Says Domestic Partnerships Don’t Provide Equal Benefits for Same-Sex Couples

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Oregon Gay MarriageRuling in a case out of Oregon, the Ninth Circuit Judicial Council stated that the mystic partnerships are not the equivalent of marriage.

Think Progress reports:

The decision navigates the confusing conflict between how states and the federal government recognize same-sex relationships since the Supreme Court overturned the Defense of Marriage Act (United States v. Windsor). Oregon does not offer marriage, but does recognize and provide benefits to same-sex domestic partners. The federal government now recognizes same-sex marriages performed in states where they are legal, but the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) does not recognize civil unions or domestic partnerships. The ruling indicates that this conflict creates fault on both ends: Oregon is discriminating by not providing Fonberg with marriage and the federal government is discriminating by limiting what they’ll recognize to relationships called “marriages”.

It’s a divided system that ultimately can’t stand. The majority of Americans are now realizing that having your marriage be based on which state you’re in at the moment simply makes no sense. I think were going to have to go back to the Supreme Court on this one.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Oregon.

The Lay of the Land Post-Windsor and –Perry

Wednesday, November 13th, 2013

With marriage equality now coming to Illinois and Hawaii, nearly 40% of the country lives in a marriage equality state. But just how federal and state governments will navigate the still-unsettled reality (and consequences) of marriage equality remains an open question.

Although Windsor invalidated Section 3 of DOMA, it left Section 2 in place, which allows states to refuse to recognize same gender marriages performed in other states. Marriages are not judgments or orders, and are therefore not entitled to equality under constitutional principles of full faith and credit among the states. This has the potential to impact benefits, parental rights, divorce, and other issues for same-sex couples depending on where they marry and where they live.

Read the full story on the MEUSA news blog…

Texas, USA: Dallas Rapid Transit Board Puts Off Domestic Partnership Decision Pending Supreme Court Rulings

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013

Dallas Rapid Transit Agency Delays Domestic Partner benefits Discussion AgainIn an amazing show of timidity and cowardice, the Dallas Rapid Transit Board has once again delayed a decision on offering domestic partner benefits to partners of its gay and lesbian employees. Dallas Voice reports:

DART’s Board of Directors approved a motion Tuesday to postpone a decision on offering domestic partner benefits until after the U.S. Supreme Court rules in two marriage equality cases. The board voted 10-1 to postpone the issue until July during a committee-of-the-whole meeting on Tuesday afternoon. The vote to postpone consideration of DP benefits came one month after the committee-of-the-whole voted down a similar amendment 7-6 on Feb. 26.

What will their next excuse be?

Florida, USA: Domestic Partnership Bill Back, With Some Changes

Monday, March 11th, 2013

FloridaThe Florida legislature killed a proposed domestic partnership bill a few weeks ago, but now it’s back in an amended form. Florida Baptist Witness reports:

Sen. Eleanor Sobel’s Children and Families Committee will hear March 12 an amended version of her proposal to provide domestic partnership benefits, which would spell out certain limited benefits unmarried couples could have under the law. Sobel said in an interview Friday with The News Service of Florida that she listened to concerns during a Feb. 19 hearing on the bill in the committee and believes the measure that will be presented on Tuesday will have a better chance to pass.

We’ll see. Florida’s legislature is notoriously anti gay.

In related news, the Bilerico Project reports that today and tomorrow are Equality Florida’s lobbying days at the legislature for 2013:

On March 11 and 12, 2013, Equality Florida will be hosting their 2013 Lobby Days. Dozens of activists are expected to converge upon the Florida state capitol to fight for pro-equality legislation.

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Florida.

Florida, USA: Another City Approves a Domestic Partner Registry

Sunday, February 17th, 2013

IFloridan more news of small town action on gay rights, Tavares, Florida just passed an ordinance setting up a domestic partner registry for gay and lesbian couples. On Top Magazine reports:

The Florida city voted 4-1 to become the first in Lake County with such a registry. The registry will be set up by May 1. Gay and straight couples who register their relationships are extended benefits such as hospital visitation, emergency notifications, jail visits and funeral decisions, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

From the bottom up!

Find more articles and gay wedding resources in Florida.

Poland: Legislature Rejects Domestic Partnership Bills

Friday, January 25th, 2013

Poland’s lower parliamentary house has voted today to reject three separate draft laws which would have given legal rights to unmarried couples, effectively preventing same-sex couples from receiving any such rights.

The Associated Press has reported that despite the perceived acceptance of the drafts by Catholic Polish community, all three draft laws proposing legal recognition for registered unmarried couples have been voted down by the Sejm, or lower house of the Polish Parliament.

The laws would have allowed unmarried partners to register their relationship in order to ensure inheritance, access to health information, and alimony rights.

Authored By Corinne Pinfold – See the Full Story at Pink News

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Florida, USA: Senate to Consider Domestic Partnership Bill

Wednesday, January 9th, 2013

Florida Senate to Consider Domestic Partnership BillA bill which would allow gay couples to enter into “domestic partnerships,” with a view to extending some marital rights to same-sex couples, was filed in the Florida Senate on Wednesday.

Senator Eleanor Sobel filed the bill which, although it states it is not an attempt to bypass the constitutional amendment in Florida defining marriage as between one man and one woman, it would allow gay Floridians some rights towards marriage.

Any two people over the age of 18 would be allowed to enter into a “domestic partnership” under the law, reports

Authored By Joseph Patrick McCormick – See the Full Story at Pink News

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Nevada, USA: Lesbian Couple in Domestic Partnership Denied Hospital Rights

Monday, August 20th, 2012

A lesbian couple in Nevada was told by an admissions officer at a local hospital that they would need a medical power of attorney for one partner to make decisions for another in the event of a crisis, despite being in a legal domestic partnership sanctioned by the state.

Brittney Leon was checking into the Spring Valley Hospital for complications related to her pregnancy, but during the admittance, the admissions officer informed her and her partner, Terri-Ann Simonelli, that the hospital policy required gay couples to have a medical power of attorney.

Even though the couple offered to go home and get their Nevada-issued certificate designating them as legal domestic partners, the admissions officer said that it wouldn’t matter — the policy was the policy, reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

Authored By Randy Slovacek – See the Full Story at LGBTQ Nation

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Five Things Every Couple Should Do When They Get Married

Tuesday, August 7th, 2012


You met the love of your life, you made the big decision to get married, and now you’ve taken that gi-normous step together.  Surviving the wedding planning process and the actual weekend of events is only Step 1 of the becoming-married process.  Despite what your credit card statements may be telling you, the wedding was the FUN part.  Real life isn’t as much fun.  And when you get back from the honeymoon, there are five things that are critically important for you to do immediately.  Let’s just call it getting your married house in order.

1)    Make a decision about whether to change your name (or names).  Make the decision ahead of time and figure out what it takes to change it in your state.  If gay marriage is legal where you live, it may be easy.  If not, you may have to go through some additional legal hassles first.  But you should discuss your game plan ahead of time because if you are going to disagree, better to solve this before the actual wedding.  Second, when you get back from your honeymoon, if you’re eligible for legal marriage or domestic partner status, you’re gonna have to boogie if you want to change your name in time to register for other benefits that come with enrollment deadlines.  Start at the social security office, and then the receipt they give you there is the pass you need to make the changes at DMV.  If you got legally married, a new driver’s license and social security card and a scan of your marriage license is all you need to change all your accounts and other things.  Don’t forget that frequent flier cards or you’ll be in a hot mess when you try to travel.  I learned that one that hard way.  Keep in mind that if you keep your maiden name and drop your middle name, life is a lot easier when you encounter a name you forgot to change.   More than once I’ve had to show somebody that my driver’s license says I’m Sandra NELSON Malone.

2)    Re-evaluate your health insurance situation.  Not everybody has the same rights, but gay couples are getting more and more of them, state by state.  If you can share the legal benefits of marriage or domestic partnership, this is an important piece.  First, figure out who has the better health insurance offered at work, and who gets the best dental or eye coverage?  Is there a benefit to having more than one policy?   And if you’ve never thought about these things before because you never get sick, talk to your parents or somebody else who has dealt with being a grown up and has managed medical insurance. Research your options pre-wedding and have the paperwork ready when you get home.  Most employers require you to enroll within 30 days of your wedding date or you have to wait until the next open enrollment period.  Don’t miss your window!

3)    It’s time for total financial disclosure if you didn’t go through this hideous process pre-wedding.  No secrets.  Tell each other about every credit card debt (department store cards count) and the car you had repo’d in college.  You’re married and now you’ve absorbed each other’s credit ratings and debt, to some extent.  Honest to God, there is nothing you cannot face together in a new marriage.  You will come out stronger.  Just be honest about it all.

Unless there’s a very good reason not to (one of you is still mired in a bankruptcy or something like that), you should be setting up joint checking accounts and getting at least one joint credit card together (or adding each other to your cards).  You should take a look at your retirement accounts and decide whether you’re doing the best things for yourselves given your new tax status.  You should set monthly contribution goals together as a couple.  You should design your financial future together and consider talking to a professional if you’re clueless.  The decisions you make now will decide what kind of porch your rockers are sitting on in your old age.

It’s time to exchange passwords and make sure you both know where all the money is located.  I know that one of you will be the primary bill payer in your household – it’s the way it works – but that doesn’t mean the other partner shouldn’t also have access to that stash of passwords and know where everything is kept and which accounts pay what bills.  You should both know what bills to which credit card and what comes directly out of your accounts.  Also, most bank accounts have asked you who your “beneficiary” is in the event of your death, and you probably put your mom’s name down (or God forbid, your former spouse) when you opened the account.  It’s time to check on this for every account at each bank and investment company to make the right people will get the money if something happens to you.

4)    Re-evaluate all of your insurance coverage in light of getting married, not just health insurance.  Life insurance and homeowners is relevant too – is all of your jewelry covered or do you need some riders?  What about the cars?  You probably don’t need to retitle anything, but you definitely need to get a joint policy unless one of you has a driving record that prevents that.

Life insurance is one of those things that nobody wants to talk about.  But the fact is that you can buy policies cheaper and with fewer restrictions when you are young and healthy – so do it now.  Also, this is when you really need it.  If you have bought a home together and bought vehicles and maybe started a family, and God forbid, one of you is killed in an accident – what would the other one of you do?  If you’re like most of America, your income and your spending have grown disproportionately.  In this economy, most people are making less and still spending more.  Most people have some credit card debt or college loans they’re paying off.  An insurance policy is just that – it’s there in case of an emergency.  In a “God forbid” situation, at least you won’t be scrambling to pay the mortgage or tuition bill.

5)    Finally, you need to write your wills.  You might have one on file already that needs to be replaced with your new one so there’s no confusion.  You may never have written one before.  You can do it online, if you must, but if either of you has significant assets, use a lawyer.  Please use a lawyer.  Assuming that you’re probably gay if you’re reading this, you know that nothing is easy for gay couples – and nothing is cheap.  Get a really good attorney to protect your assets.  You may have to put some things in an LLC if you’re not in a gay-friendly state.  But for God’s sake, don’t put it off assuming you have plenty of time to get on top it.

Nowadays you should also discuss other things such as Living Wills and Do Not Resuscitate orders in the case where one of you is brain dead after an accident.  It may seem crazy to think about, but I’m pretty sure Terri Schiavo’s husband wishes they’d put this sort of thing in writing so he didn’t spent half of his life trying to end hers.  She wasn’t that old when she was turned into a vegetable by a potassium imbalance that deprived her brain of oxygen.  The law automatically makes spouses or registered domestic partners each other’s primary decision maker in the case of incapacitation in most states, but if gay marriage isn’t legal in your state, you may have a whole host of paperwork to tackle to protect your rights under these circumstances.  It’s also not a bad idea to have a separate medical power of attorney written up, just to cover your bases.  Put a copy of each of your wills in your safe deposit box – and give a copy to somebody else.  If you don’t have an attorney, give it to somebody trustworthy in the event of either or both of your deaths.

Well, that certainly was a depressing list of business items for newlyweds to attend to, wasn’t it?  I’m depressed now with you, and I’ve already gone through the paperwork of starting a marriage.  But it’s the truth.  These are the housekeeping matters that new couples must tackle after the honeymoon.  It’s not fun and it’s not really even that interesting, but these are the things that make up the foundation of married life.  Putting everything into place so that Mr. and Mr. or Ms. and Ms. means more than just a box you checkmark as your salutation when shopping online.  It’s about mingling your lives completely and becoming one – at least on the paperwork.  There’s good news here for those of you who are happily married though – you only have to do most of this stuff once!

Until next time, happy wedding planning from Weddings in Vieques  and Weddings in Culebra!