In order to squash my ignorance, could someone please provide me with a list of rights that are currently limited only to those who marry? Factual answers only please. Also, no debating. There are plenty of other threads for that.
- Legitimacy of children
- Guaranteed inheritance rights
- Social Security benefits
I’m sure there are more.
I believe that some benefits are:
[li]Filing for taxes together[/li][li]Visiting each other in the emergency room[/li][/ul]
I can’t think of other ones, but that’s probably partially because I’m not old enough to get married (or at least, I don’t think I am–I’m 17).
Also, there is the fact that marriage is much more official and recognized (at least in the gut) as more “mature” and “loving” than a boyfriend/girlfriend (or bf/bf or gf/gf) relationship. This isn’t in the domain of actual technical rights given to married people, but it’s important. Think of it as the difference between your son having a girlfriend and your son having a wife. Just having a girlfriend doesn’t mean he’s bad–it’s just not viewed in the same way as being married.
I think the legal term you are looking for is not “rights of marriage” but "incidents of marriage, per the Musgrave amendment (or FMA):
My bolding. I’ve heard several activitist who are campaigning for gay marriage make the claim that there are ~2,000 legal incidents of marriage (maybe they say “benefits”). I suspect that is a bit of an exageration, but it’s a good place to start. Google searching didn’t turn up anything for me.
Anyway, I was thinking of starting a thread: What are the alleged 2,000 legal incidents of marriage? This thread is close enough.
The Human Rights Campaign says the following are among the 1,000 incidents of marriage denied to same sex couples:
[ul][li] The right to make decisions on a partner’s behalf in a medical emergency. Specifically, the states generally provide that spouses automatically assume this right in an emergency. If an individual is unmarried, the legal “next of kin” automatically assumes this right. This means, for example, that a gay man with a life partner of many years may be forced to accept the financial and medical decisions of a sibling or parent with whom he may have a distant or even hostile relationship. [/li]
[li] The right to take up to 12 weeks of leave from work to care for a seriously ill partner or parent of a partner. The Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 permits individuals to take such leave to care for ill spouses, children and parents but not a partner or a partner’s parents. [/li]
[li] The right to petition for same-sex partners to immigrate.[/li]
[li] The right to assume parenting rights and responsibilities when children are brought into a family through birth, adoption, surrogacy or other means. For example, in most states, there is no law providing a noncustodial, nonbiological or nonadoptive parent’s right to visit a child - or responsibility to provide financial support for that child - in the event of a breakup.[/li]
[li] The right to share equitably all jointly held property and debt in the event of a breakup, since there are no laws that cover the dissolution of domestic partnerships.[/li]
[li] Family-related Social security benefits, income and estate tax benefits, disability benefits, family-related military and veterans benefits and other important benefits.[/li]
[li] The right to inherit property from a partner in the absence of a will.[/li]
[li] The right to purchase continued health coverage for a domestic partner after the loss of a job.[/ul][/li][/quote]
I’d like to add two egregious statements specific to my state, but not specific to married couples.
[ul][li]The State of Florida specifically prohibits gay persons to adopt children. Since I am a gay man, the law presumes that I am inherently and irredeemably unfit as a parent, regardless of how overfull our foster system is.[/li][li]The State of Florida also permits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, which means my boss could come to me tomorrow and fire me for being gay – she could put on my termination papers that I was fired for cause, and that the reason was my sexuality. As you probably know, people fired for cause can be denied unemployment benefits.[/li][/ul]
I’m certain that there are others, and I’m also certain that Otto will be by shortly to list them.
Spousal privilege - husbands and wives cannot be forced to testify against each other in a court of law.
•Family rates on health insurance.
Rosie O’Donnell mentioned the spousal privilege issue as one of the reasons she and her partner got married in San Francisco. During the recent courtfight with her former publishers over the demise of her magazine, Rosie had to disclose every e-mail/letter etc. she’d sent to her partner where she mentioned the magazine. She was also subject to discovery about conversations with her partner. If she’d been married, those e-mails and conversations would have been privileged.
This web page has some good info on it.
Sorry I’m late!
Link to the General Accounting Office report which lists off the (at least) 1,049 (at the time) incidents of marriage in federal law as of the passage of the Defense of Marriage Act. Each state also has its own slate of marital incidents (Wisconsin IIRC has something like 300).
This [url=http://www.waf.org/familyarchives/marriage/New%20Congressional%20Report%201,049%20Reasons%20to%20Allow%20Gay%20Couples%20to%20Marry.htm]press release notes that there may be even more but the complexity of federal law makes cataloging every reference difficult. Some categories where marital status factors most heavily in federal law include:
Note that the press release is from 1997 so there have undoubtedly been changes to federal law which have affected the count.
How do they verify if you’re gay or not?
I’ll add one and take one away.
Transfers of property between spouses is tax free. If you are gay and can’t marry, then you don’t get this benefit.
Discrimination - Non-gays are not protected from discrimination. So to say that an employer can fire you for being gay, while this may be true, is not relevant. A straight could be fired for being straight inf Florida.
Does the legal concept of legitimacy still exist in the U.S.? As far as I know, all the Canadian provinces have done away with it.
Illegitimacy is a “quasi-suspect” classification under the law, which means that laws which burden on that basis require the government to that the challenged classification serves an important state interest and that the classification is at least substantially related to serving that interest.
I now make my petition to remove the state of Florida from the Union.
Not that this is in the top 100, compared to some others, but I can go to Walgreen’s (or wherever) and pick up my wife’s prescriptions, and vice versa. It’s a small thing, but it’s convenient enough frequently enough that I’d be quite irritated if we couldn’t do it any more. How many states permit prescription drugs to be dispensed to “friends”?
As far as I know, discrimination against gays is still okey-dokey in Ohio, so feel free to fire a gay person, evict him, or throw him out of your restaurant for holding hands with his boyfriend.
I know a woman who was fired because she was gay. Admittedly, she was teaching in a Christian school. But still.
A minor nitpick to the title of the OP - these are not rights that are not granted to gays, per se; these are rights that are not granted to unmarried couples, regardless of their sexual preference.
In the same vein, these rights and/or privileges are granted to married couples, regardless of whether one or both of the individuals are gay (it just has to be a legally recognized marriage).