America Needs Same-sex Marriage

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On May 7, 2011, a young man named Tom Bridegroom fell to his death from a rooftop, leaving behind his devastated partner of six years, Shane Bitney Crone. Tom’s family had never accepted his relationship with Shane; in fact, members of Tom’s family attacked and threatened him when he told them he was gay. Because Shane and Tom could not legally marry, Shane was not entitled to any information regarding Tom’s death, memorial service, or burial arrangements (Crone). Tom’s family was able to move Tom’s body without notifying Shane, to keep Shane away from the memorial service, and to remove from Tom and Shane’s shared home any personal belongings that Tom’s family determined had belonged to Tom. Despite building a life together over the…show more content…
A heterosexual unmarried couple, on the other hand, often has more leeway in such situations. While the unmarried heterosexual partner of an incapacitated person may not be able to make healthcare decisions on the incapacitated person’s behalf, he or she is more likely to be granted access to the incapacitated individual by hospital staff. The heterosexual partner is usually given information about the treatment and prognosis of the incapacitated individual, whereas the homosexual partner is often left in the dark.
Without same-sex marriage, a homosexual couple would have to hire a lawyer to draft multiple estate planning documents in order to protect themselves These documents include wills, living trusts, living wills, durable powers of attorney for healthcare decisions, and durable powers of attorney for financial decisions. Although not legally binding, a directive regarding final arrangements, such as burial, cremation, and embalming, is also recommended (Hannibal, “Six Estate Planning Issues for Gay and Lesbian Couples”). The cost of hiring an estate planning attorney can be financially prohibitive, and even with all of these documents properly drafted and executed, a same-sex couple may not be as protected as a legally married couple. The protection is even more unlikely in a state that doesn’t recognize same sex marriage. Even for same-sex couples with all the right estate planning documents, lack of planning for worst-case
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