Showing posts with label Gay Marriage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Gay Marriage. Show all posts

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Attorney Scott Squillace Discusses The Legal and Tax Issues Faced By Gay And Lesbian Couples

For same-sex couples, the decision to marry is not as simple as saying, “I do.” Complex issues due to recent court and legislative actions, which affect couples in some states differently than those in other states, have created a complex web of legal and tax issues for same-sex couples. Whether To Wed: A Legal And Tax Guide For Gay And Lesbian Couples, by Scott Squillace, Esq., provides an in-depth look at the legal and tax consequences of marriage, and is an invaluable tool with practical suggestions for both married couples and those contemplating marriage.

The Pros of Getting Married:
Income Tax: By filing a joint tax return, married couples whose incomes are different may be eligible for a lower tax rate, known as the “marriage bonus.” Refunds may now be available for already married same-sex couples who paid too much over the past three years.

Estate Tax: States that have an estate tax and that recognize same-sex marriages allow an unlimited marital deduction for a surviving spouse. The federal government now also recognizes the marital deduction – so no estate tax will be due for a surviving spouse.

Social Security: Same-sex couples are eligible for Social Security spousal benefits at retirement, when disabled, or at one spouse’s death, as long as they reside in a state that recognizes same-sex marriage.

Private Pension/Retirement Benefits: Following the Supreme Court decision, the Department of Labor stated that the term “spouse,” when pertaining to employee benefit plans, shall include same-sex spouses, even if the employee resides in a state that does not recognize the marriage.

The Cons of Getting Married:

Income Tax: Married couples whose incomes are both high may be subject to higher income tax rates and fewer deductions since they will now be required to file as “married” – known as the “marriage penalty.”

Medicaid: Since the assets and income of both spouses are considered for determining eligibility, being married can be a handicap if one spouse has income and assets that cause the couple to be above the eligibility limits. This can affect eligibility for nursing home care.

Divorce: If a married couple lives in a non-recognition state, even if lawfully married in a recognition state, divorce can be tricky, or even impossible.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Gallup Poll: Marriage equality support at record high

Americans are more supportive of marriage equality than ever before, according to a survey released by Gallup on last week. Fifty-five percent of Americans now say they believe same-sex marriages should be recognized as legally valid, while 42% are opposed to same-sex marriage recognition. Support for marriage equality has roughly doubled since 1996, according to Gallup.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Gay Marriage Plaintiffs Speak OUT to Colorado Public Radio

One of the nine LGBT couples challenging Colorado's gay marriage ban recently spoke to Colorado Public Radio. 

Click here to hear what they had to say.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Support for Marriage Equality (and Other Gay Rights) Continues to Grow in Colorado

By John Tomasic

Efforts to expand gay rights in Colorado continue to gain momentum — at the legislature, in the courts and at the ballot box.

Last year, a bill granting civil unions for same-sex couples became law. Governor John Hickenlooper this year already has signed a bill that allows same-sex couples married in the eyes of the federal government to file joint state tax returns in Colorado. There are two lawsuits currently wending their way through the courts challenging the state’s 2006 ban on gay marriage. And poll numbers show steady, fast-growing support among voters for full equality for gay residents of the state.

Why Marriage Matters, a grassroots effort launched at the beginning of March, hopes to tap into and boost that momentum. The campaign is spearheaded by gay-rights groups One Colorado and Freedom to Marry and by the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union. It’s organizing gay couples and their supporters around the state to explain how marriage would make a difference in their everyday family life — on matters such as taxes, hospital visits and child care.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers Explains Why He Will Defend Gay Marriage Ban

In an article in The Denver Post on Saturday, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers (pictured) explains his reasons for defending our state's gay marriage ban against the nine gay couples who are suing to have the law overturned.

Friday, March 21, 2014

If There's Two Things Colorado Likes, It's Legal Marijuana and Gay Marriage

You go, Colorado!  

A recent poll finds that 57% of Coloradans support the legalization of marijuana and 56% support gay marriage.

 Meanwhile, a whopping 79% of Coloradans support at least some sort of legal recognition for same-sex couples such as civil unions. 


Friday, February 14, 2014

Top Ten LGBT Wedding Destinations, Off the Beaten Path and Full of Pride! has compiled a list of the country's Top 10 gay wedding destinations including: 

10. Minneapolis- Minneapolis is offered described as the epicenter of Gay between the coasts. It has always been ahead of the curve on issues of gay discrimination and while there is no definitive “Gayborhood,” there is a multitude of gay venues throughout the downtown area.

9. Albany- Albany no longer stands in the shadow of New York City’s gay scene! This capital city has a lot to offer the gay community, and is becoming increasingly more LGBT-populated as time passes. It was even home to one of the first transgender organizations- a fun fact that we applaud!

8. Curacao- This tiny island off the Venezuelan coast could be a gay traveler’s definition of paradise: welcoming community, crystal-clear ocean water, pristine sandy beaches. Curacao’s weather is consistently blissful, a small token of the incredible lifestyle offered here! 

View the rest here!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Travel: Saba, Dutch Caribbean Island, Legalizes Gay Marriage

Two men were the first to marry and news quickly spread throughout the Caribbean setting off a frenzy of calls from gay couples in other Dutch Caribbean islands seeking to marry.

Read the entire article here.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Travel: New York for your gay wedding

From the Big Apple to Niagara Falls, discovers all the ways the Empire State offers visitors a plethora of great options for the perfect gay wedding or honeymoon.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Masterpiece Cakeshop: Serving up cakes, brownies, and homophobia

By Drew Wilson

David Mullins (l) and Charlie Craig (r) were turned away from Lakewood bakery, Masterpiece Cakeshop, on July 19 after attempting to order a cake for their wedding and being refused by owner Jack Phillips.

David Mullins then posted the following to his Facebook page:

So, I'm about as pissed as I've been in a long time. Today, Charlie and I went to cakeshop to get a wedding cake and were turned away and informed they did not serve gay weddings. I AM FURIOUS! But, I'm also not going to take this lying down. Below, I've attached a photo of the storefront for Masterpiece Cakeshop. Their contact information is:

3355 South Wadsworth Boulevard Lakewood, CO 80227
(303) 986-3110

If any of my friends out there is interested in making a statement in support of us and the right of gays to marry, I would most appreciate it if you might drop them a line or an e-mail. Thanks in advance

I was made aware of the incident this afternoon (thanks to beautiful and talented blogger Dan Hanley) and called Masterpiece Cakeshop to get to the bottom of the situation. When I asked Phillips if it was true that he had a policy against doing business with the gay community, he said, "Correct." I then asked him to explain the reasoning behind his policy and he said, "No. Just use your imagination." He then said he had no further comment and we ended the call.

At 1:39 pm today, Westword posted an article about the incident and quoted Mullins as saying, "It was the most awkward, surreal, very brief encounter ..." The article quoted another source who claimed to also have been refused a wedding cake but received a call from the bakery afterwards with an offer to make something "unlike a wedding cake" instead.

Living nearby, I decided to drive over to Masterpiece Cakeshop before closing time to see if I could speak with Mr. Phillips in person. A small, lean, soft-spoken 50-something man with longish grey hair and a wedding ring prominently displayed on his left hand, Phillips seemed wary but not at all unpleasant. I introduced myself and we shook hands. He didn't seem to mind speaking with me but did ask that I not record the conversation.

I asked him what he thought of the firestorm of controversy the incident had sparked in the form of articles, blog posts, a petition and a Facebook boycott page but Phillips claimed that he was not really aware of any controversy. I asked him if he had seen the mountain of negative reviews that had been posted to his Yelp page or read the Westword article. Phillips stated that he had not checked Yelp nor had he read the Westword article but did acknowledge that he had spoken with them and told them that they could "make up whatever story they like" for the article.

I then asked him if he was aware of Colorado's Housing and Public Accomodations Nondiscrimination law (one of The Rights Five here in Colorado) and if he thought his policy was in violation. Phillips said that he was not aware of the law, didn't know if he was in violation of it, and didn't know how, if at all, the law would affect his business or his policy.

Despite earlier having claimed to be unaware of any controversy, he then spoke of having received numerous phone calls and threats throughout the day but declined to describe the nature or the content of the threats.

Philips went on to say that he has gay friends and even hires gay people but that he "drew the line" at providing wedding cakes for gay couples.

I have calls in to David Mullins and Charlie Craig as well as The GLBT Community Center of Colorado's legal director, Mindy Barton, for quotes and legal perspective and will update when I have heard from them. In the meantime, an official-sounding commenter over at Boy Culture, where they posted about the story yesterday, had this to say:

... David and Charlie can file a charge of discrimination with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The cake shop is a place of public accommodation covered by the state anti-discrimination law that prohibits denial of equal treatment based upon sexual orientation. Or they may file a lawsuit against the business directly in court. Filing a charge, however, is cost-free and the Division will conduct an investigation. Here's a link to the agency website:

There is a short time limit for filing a charge, only 60 days following the alleged discriminatory act.

Whether or not Mullins and Craig are willing or able to file charges, it seems that at least one positive takeaway of this unpleasant and discriminatory incident is the increase of awareness and activism social media affords us in cases of homophobic business practices. It allows to speak - and listen - to our community and our allies and helps us to make informed choices about which businesses and organizations to support and where we should - and shouldn't - spend our gay dollars.

On his website, Jack Phillips is referred to as a "master pastry chef." The website also says, "If you can think it up, he can make it into a cake!" Obviously, that's not true - if you're gay.

By the way, the following cake pics are from Masterpiece Cakeshop's photo gallery. In this non-master pastry chef's opinion, they're pretty awful. But not as awful as Jack Phillips' homophobic, and possibly illegal, policy.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Why I'm glad Colorado's Civil Union Bill failed

By Todd Craig

Lots has been said and written about Colorado's civil unions fight that took place in the legislature this spring. While both sides rallied and the wheels of politics spun faster than even Twitter could keep up, hopes rose and subsequently crashed for Colorado's gay citizenry with equal speed as Republican Speaker of the House Frank McNulty politically maneuvered to kill civil unions in our state.

Even though I was optimistic when the bill was introduced, and even though I would have been happy to see the bill pass, I now find myself kind of glad it didn't. Here are three reasons why I don't feel overly bad about the failure of Colorado's civil unions law.

Civil unions, while a step closer in the evolution of equality, aren't marriage, and settling for anything less than total equality is, well, settling for less. I know what you're going to say to this, “It's about gaining rights.” And believe me, I'm all for getting more rights. I am a gay man, a husband for the last seven years, and together we're fathers to an adorable five year old son. We have a stack of legal paperwork about the thickness of the Denver Yellow Pages that we had to buy and notarize over the course of months just to get the same legal rights and protections as someone who naturally gets them after a flight to Vegas to be married by an Elvis impersonator over the course of a drunken weekend. But, I can't in good conscience look the love of my life in the eye and ask him to enter into a civil union with me. That's gay. I want the rights, sure, but I'm greedy. I want the word marriage, too. This point was made in the ruling of the Prop 8 overturn being upheld by the California Supreme Court when they wrote in the decisions that:

“We need consider only the many ways in which we encounter the word 'marriage' in our daily lives and understand it, consciously or not, to convey a sense of significance. We are regularly given forms to complete that ask us whether we are “single” or “married.” Newspapers run announcements of births, deaths, and marriages. We are excited to see someone ask, “Will you marry me?”, whether on bended knee in a restaurant or in text splashed across a stadium Jumbotron. Certainly, it would not have the same effect to see “Will you enter into a registered domestic partnership with me?”.  Groucho Marx's one-liner, “Marriage is a wonderful institution ... but who wants to live in an institution?” would lack its punch if the word marriage were replaced with the alternative phrase.”

Long story short, if the Supreme Court of California recognizes that the word marriage is as important as the rights that come with such a union, why should Colorado's LGBT community ignore that same importance?

The fight for civil unions earned energized Colorado again. The history of gay rights in our state has definitely had its ups and downs. But for every defeat our community has suffered, like Amendment 2 in the early '90s, there has been an opposite reaction of greater force in the years following with the trend is going in our direction more often than not. Even when the definition of marriage as being between one man and one woman was written into the state constitution and a civil unions measure was defeated at the ballot box as recently as 2006, the fight for equal rights didn't end; it grew stronger. The following year in 2007, then Governor Ritter signed the second-parent adoption bill into law granting same-sex couples the right to adopt. And two years after that in 2009, Colorado's legislature passed the designated beneficiaries law that addressed some of the discrimination that Colorado's LGBT community faced. If history repeats itself, as it often does, Colorado's LGBT citizenry and their growing numbers of supporters should be able to move forward in their quest for equal rights despite such a defeat.

And tying to that last point – I'll call this the Obi-Wan Kenobi factor - which is based on the famous last line he uttered before being struck down by Darth Vader's light saber in Star Wars - “You can't win, Darth. If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.”

Essentially, the fight for civil unions earned us more allies. We all have seen the polls that more than half of Americans are in favor of gay marriage, and as times change, more and more attitudes based on discrimination, homophobia, and fear are being left behind in the dust. As we have grown more visible and more real to the the world, so has understanding grown. As state after state and country after country around the world take steps to provide equal rights and protections to gays, lesbians, and their families, the cries and panicked screams of our opponents ring more and more hollow and out-of-touch. The world doesn't end when you give gays the right to marry. Institutions aren't harmed. Families and love grow stronger while our rich and diverse culture grows even more rich and diverse. The bottom line is that with each one of these fights – even losing ones – the gay stories are shared, understanding and knowledge is gained, and our number of allies grows. After all, it wasn't long after our loss that Judy Shepard and our Vice President convinced the President of the United States to come out in favor of gay marriage. With that announcement came magazine covers, another surge of publicity to our cause, and more allies, most recently with an endorsement from the NAACP. In the end, we may have lost a battle in the legislature, but we gained more positive press, more supporters, and the President of the United States in a whirlwind of pro-gay marriage spirit.

In the end, should civil unions have passed? Probably. Should we be bitter that it didn't? It would be understandable. But ultimately, the civil union law is dead, for now at least. Now it's time to move on and move forward. We need to marshal our energy, money, and resources from now until the November election. For if we see this loss as nothing but a loss, then nothing will be gained. If we see the death of civil unions as a lesson from which to learn, grow, and become stronger than we were the day before, then like with Obi-Wan Kenobi, even when we lose, we win. After all, Colorado's gay and lesbians deserve nothing less than the biggest win of all: total equality.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Presidential candidates to face politics of marriage

A review of various legislative efforts and ballot measures in multiple states this year shows that the 2012 presidential candidates likely will be forced to address marriage rights for same-sex couples, especially in states such as Washington, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Maine. 

"There's a lot going on. ... It means that candidates -- whether Romney or Obama -- who hope to avoid the discussion will not be able to," said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Former Spanish PM calls marriage equality his proudest achievement

Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, the former prime minister of Spain, says winning the right for same-sex couples to marry is the achievement he's most proud of from his time in office. 

"Hardly a week goes by without someone reminding me or thanking me. Yes, it's a decision that seems to have left its mark," Zapatero said.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Del Shores divorcing

A sad message from Del Shores' (left), creator of 'Sordid Lives', Facebook page on Sunday, November 27. Here's hoping the proceedings are anything but sordid:

To my fans and friends:

It saddens me to inform you that Jason Dottley and I are divorcing.

I will always cherish the almost ten years that we were together -- married for eight, legally for three. Jason was a wonderful husband to me and a great step-father to my daughters. I will miss being his husband.

Jason and I both fought hard for marriage equality, and I will continue to
fight that fight until gay marriage is legal nationwide. Our divorce
only proves that like straight people who have the right to marry and divorce, we are all equally human.

I know we are going to disappoint a lot of people and for that, I am truly sorry. But I will never feel that we failed, and I have no regrets. This was not what I wanted, but I must now accept what Jason wants. I only wish him the very best and will celebrate his continued success.

I've had lots of losses in my life, and I've found that I heal when I turn to my pen, my writing and my work. I promise you more twisted stories, that will make you laugh, think and maybe shed a tear
or two.

I welcome any words of support, but this is so hard, and privacy is important to me and my daughters during this difficult time.

Del Shores

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A majority of young adults support marriage equality

Adults between the ages of 18 and 29 largely agree with their parents' views on abortion, but they're much more likely to support marriage equality, according to a survey from the Public Religion Research Institute. In a word-association exercise, 53% of survey participants had affirming or positive responses toward same-sex marriage.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Upset winner in Congressional election supports marriage equality

Kathy Hochul, a Democrat who supports marriage equality for gays and lesbians, was victorious in a special election to represent New York's 26th congressional district. 

"I do support the civil institution of marriage for gay couples, with absolutely no requirements placed on religious institutions," Hochul told a local paper during the campaign.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Focus on the Family admits they are losing the fight against gay marriage

Focus on the Family President Jim Daly has told an interviewer that social conservatives have "probably lost" the fight against marriage equality for same-sex couples. "We're losing on that one, especially among the 20- and 30-somethings: 65 to 70 percent of them favor same-sex marriage. I don't know if that's going to change with a little more age -- demographers would say probably not," said Daly, speaking to World Magazine's Marvin Olasky.

Monday, May 9, 2011

U.S. Attorney General intervenes in gay man's deportation

Interesting stuff! Attorney General Eric Holder (pictured) has asked the Board of Immigration Appeals to reconsider the case of Paul Wilson Dorman, a gay man who is in the U.S. illegally and who had been cleared for deportation.

Holder wants the panel to consider whether Dorman, who is in a civil union under New Jersey law with his U.S. partner, would be considered a spouse if the federal Defense of Marriage Act was not in place.

Monday, May 2, 2011

U.K. advocates want William, Kate to back marriage equality

Gay rights campaigners recently launched a bid to get Prince William and his princess, Kate Middleton, to express support for full marriage rights for same-sex couples

"We hope that within the confines of royal protocol somehow Kate and William will find a way to express their support for marriage equality, so that same-sex couples can have the same right as they have to get married if they wish," said Peter Tatchell, a human rights activist.

Rhode Island House Speaker ends marriage effort

Saying a pending marriage equality bill did not have enough support to become law, openly gay Rhode Island House Speaker Gordon Fox this week announced he will instead support an effort to pass a civil unions bill that offers the same benefits the state grants to married couples

"I am the Speaker of the House and I am an openly gay man. This is very emotional for me. But as speaker, I understand counting votes and what I can deliver for all of us. And I believe I am delivering rights to us today," Fox said. Some Democratic officials who did not support the marriage-equality bill, including the president of the State Senate, said they supported Fox's effort to pass a civil unions law.