Lorie was featured on Fox 4 after the Texas House passed HB 3859 designed at allowing “religious freedom” exemptions to children in foster care.
We’re one of 379 businesses that signed the amicus brief to the US Supreme Court supporting the freedom to marry.
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Check out Lorie’s interview on Marriage Equality.
Marriage Equality for Texans!
On June 26, 2015, the Supreme Court handed down their landmark decision in Obergefell v. Hodges that guarantees to same-sex couples in ALL 50 states the freedom to marry and recognition of their families. This is a huge step in the right direction and there is still work to do to ensure full protection for all LGBTQ+ individuals and families. There is much more to sort out in regards to the full ramifications of this decision, but here are some immediate facts you should know based on questions many have been asking:
You still need a Will, powers of attorney, and other estate planning. While legal recognition of your marriage provides you and your spouse a broad range of legal rights, no spouse has automatic rights to make medical and financial decisions, have access to medical information, inherit property, be appointed as executor, or guardian of children. Before, your same-sex spouse would not have had any legal standing to challenge family from stepping in. The big shift is NOW your spouse DOES have that recognition; however, nothing is made automatic by this decision when it comes to your estate or medical decisions, especially when it comes to children. In fact, I would argue that it is even MORE important now to have your legal documents put into place as we will deal with confusion and possible animus from financial institutions, medical facilities or even courts as a backlash to the Supreme Court decision.
Marriage Equality for Texans!
You should consider revising your Will and other legal documents. If you had your Wills, powers of attorney, and other documents drafted in a way that does not acknowledge your legal marriage, you may want to consult with your estate planning attorney about updating your planning to recognize your spouse.
If you were married and separated from your spouse, you need legal advice. If you were married in another state or country and you and your spouse have separated, you need to consult an attorney as soon as possible about your marriage dissolution options as now, in the eyes of the laws of Texas, you are STILL married to your ex!
You do not need to get “remarried” in Texas. If you were married elsewhere, you do not need to get a marriage license in Texas. As of June 26, 2015, you are married in ALL 50 states! So I suggest you throw a party or renew your vows!
You can now change your name on your driver’s license. I know many couples who have wanted to change their surname to that of their spouse, but have previously been denied. Well, now you can!
If you are not married, nothing changes. For some this may seem intuitive, but I get asked enough to address it. If you are a same-sex couple and you are NOT married in any state or country, the Supreme Court decision does not change any of your rights. A possible exception may be when it comes to common law marriage, so you may want to consult your family law or estate planning attorney.
Just because you CAN get married, doesn’t mean you SHOULD get married. These are exciting times, no doubt about it. I just caution couples from getting caught up in the excitement and making a spontaneous decision without putting serious thought into the rights AND responsibilities that come with a marriage. So please seriously consider whether the time is right for you and your significant other.
Much remains to be sorted out, especially when it comes to parenting and adoption. We don’t have all the answers yet as far as the long term resolution from this decision. Here is a great resource to consult when it comes to where we currently are and other ramifications: http://marriageequalityfacts.org/.
Much remains to achieve full equality. This was a major victory. One that many of us never thought we’d see in our lifetime. It is worthy of celebrating. With that said, there is still more work ahead to gain equal legal rights as well as changing hearts and minds. Here are two of the many resources to learn more about what lies ahead: hrc.org and http://www.lambdalegal.org/.
Don’t lose heart at the backlash. With any great progress, there will be backlash from those who are resistant to change. Don’t be disheartened. We are winning the hearts and minds of people throughout the country. We must stay vigilant and not get distracted by the temporary noise. Truth and love will always win.
Planning Considerations for LGBTQ+ Families
- Cohabitation/Property Agreements
- Name Changes
- Second Parent Adoptions
- Medical Record Releases (HIPAA Release)
- Living Wills (Directive to Physicians)
- Medical and Financial Powers of Attorney
- Appointment of Agent for Funeral and Burial Arrangements
- Declaration of Guardian in Event of Later Incapacity