Nancy Polikoff

The legal status of same-sex relationship recognition

Filed By Nancy Polikoff | August 07, 2009 1:30 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, The Movement
Tags: DOMA, domestic partnership, New Jersey, same-sex marriage

Anyone reading my Bilerico posts and my blog knows that I am not a fan of fighting for access to marriage for same-sex couples. But I am certainly a fan of providing accurate, readable information to LGBT folks about the state of the law. With that in mind, I recommend to everyone a three part series of columns by law professors Joanna Grossman and Ed Stein.

Part One summarizes the history of the fight for same-sex marriage, from early challenges to the victory in Massachusetts in 2004. Part Two surveys the current legal landscape. Part Three addresses the issue of recognition of formalized same-sex relationships in states that don't afford formal recognition.

The columns pack much information into few words. Read them and learn.

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Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | August 8, 2009 2:38 AM

Nancy, thank you for this. An elder friend of mine made through my South African friends now lives in Texas and had a male partner for many years. He is the beneficiary of a family trust that specifies that the income descends generation by generation "to those children the product of a legal marriage."

At the death of his life partner, who had suggested this to Joe before his death, Joe took a wife from South Africa and had her artificially inseminated with his sperm. The understanding was that he would marry her and she would raise the child as his heir, plus inheritance of his assets.

Joe was 78 at the time of this arrangement, married the woman and they have since divorced costing him a lot of money. Joe's only wish now is to live to be 90 so that he can have a chance to mold the character of the daughter he loves.

That this bad karma occurred is partially Joe's fault because he has many relatives who benefit from this trust, but he hates their homophobia and them. His loved daughter was not the product of love, but spite and a measure of revenge.

Here is an example of how future trusts can be written to disinherit even the adopted offspring of same sex couples who can legally marry. And this one was written in the 1950's in the middle of Iowa of all places.

Marriage is a failed institution centered around possessions and access to the other party. A land trust and an "S" corporation that we used for many years in Illinois with reciprocal powers of attorney etc. worked well until hospital time came. Relationships remain everything and there is no damned hospital that will slow you down if you invoke the name of your attorney.

Thank you for your resource work!

Of course, no one would have to read separate articles if they could just get legally married. Oops, I guess we're not supposed to mention that.

Robert Ganshorn Robert Ganshorn | August 9, 2009 4:14 AM

The author stated her premise and position at the beginning of her piece. You don't have to agree or disagree with this premise, but the well written and easy to understand articles she shared made my "saved" box. This is reality as it stands rather than as we might like it to be in all cases.

Your comment makes as much sense as:

"Of course, no one would have to read a textbook if they could just get a free diploma."


"Of course, no one would have to buy toilet paper if they could legally be made free of the need to poop."