September 4, 2011
Gay Couples Should Have the Same Rights as Married Couples
Since the United States was founded gay couples have not had equal rights Laws have been created to benefit heterosexual couples and exclude gay couples. This is simply wrong. From tax breaks to adoption to health care and more the United States Government has denied a minority population its equal rights.
Federal laws grant married couples 1,138 rights and benefits to help the family thrive. These rights and benefits include inheritance rights, the right to make medical decisions for an incapacitated partner, access to legal divorce proceedings, and the right to adopt a step child (Suifredini, 2005). These are all rights that are denied to same-sex couples under federal law.
Same-sex couples cannot inherit from a partner in the absence of a will and even with a will must pay inheritance tax on everything. Legally married couples do not have to pay inheritance tax if inheriting from a spouse and if there is no will they get everything through probate. This is so couples that purchase items together during their marriage do not have to pay to keep what is theirs. A survivor in a same-sex relationship has to be able to prove that they actually purchased an item to keep it after the death of a partner. If there is no will everything goes to the closest blood relative.
Federal law provides that if a person becomes incapacitated and can no longer make medical decisions then their spouse can make decisions for them. Same-sex couples do not have this right. If a partner becomes unable to make decisions then the closest blood relative is contacted to make the decisions. Partners are not even allowed in to ICU units to be with each other because they are “not related.” The law gives rights to a blood relative that they may not have seen in years and takes away the rights of the person that loves and lives with them. Who would be better qualified to make medical decisions than the person that lives with you and knows your health issues, what medications you are taking, and what you would choose for yourself?
Heterosexual couples have the right to get a legal divorce. This means that any disagreements over property can be decided by a judge in family court. Same-sex couples do not have this right. When they separate, if they cannot agree on property a civil suit is their only course of action. The laws in family court and civil court are very different and not as binding as in family court. In family court when the judge decides who gets what if his/her judgment is not followed out the police will arrest the noncomplying party. In civil court the parties involved are responsible for collecting any recovery. If the judgment is not carried out there is little that can be done short of taking them back to court.
Heterosexual couples have the right to adopt step children. Same-sex couples do not have this right. A same-sex couple may raise a child together from the time it is born, but if they separate the child goes with the birth parent. The same-sex partner that helped raise the child has no visitation or custody rights. Can you imagine raising a child for years and then not being allowed to see the child again until the child turns 18 and can make their own decisions?
The legal aspect of marriage is different from the religious one. Legally a marriage is a contract between a man and a woman to agree to live together as man and wife. The traditional expectation was that the man would provide for the family and the woman would serve him. Since, women now have equal rights and can work and vote the traditional view is a little outdated. The traditional expectation was the reason marriage was to be between a man and a woman. At the time women could not vote, own property, or support themselves (Farlex). Times have changed and all the laws should change with them.