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The first chapter was about legal and political strategies for fighting discrimination, and about legal rules governing sexual conduct throughout the United States.
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It was only in the 12th edition, published in , that we deleted the chart listing state laws prohibiting consensual sexual conduct—it took the United States Supreme Court decision in Lawrence v. Texas to make sodomy laws obsolete. These contracts were the focus of the first edition, and even though marriage is now available throughout this country, they are still an important focus almost 40 years later. While there have been major changes in the past few decades, the need for same-sex couples to take control of their legal relationships has not changed.
We still need to educate ourselves, communicate about how we want to structure our relationships, and take the time to put our arrangements in writing.
Over the course of the past 20 years, we have witnessed the passage of marriage-equivalent registrations, the imposition—and invalidation—of federal and state constitutional bans on same-sex marriage, and a wide variety of statewide initiatives and political campaigns. We also endured a decade of uncertainties regarding federal and interstate nonrecognition of valid state-sanctioned marriages. Although it took some time and a lot of effort, full marriage equality across the United States. This chapter provides an overview of the developments in the fight for same-sex relationship recognition, including:.
Along the same lines, until recently, same-sex couples have generally not been treated as spouses when their relationships ended, leading to confusion over how to divide their assets.
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Over the past two decades, things have changed dramatically. For the most part, the invalidation of all state-wide bans on same-sex marriage has removed most of the barriers to full equality that our community faced when it came to relationships and marriage. And the federal government now recognizes same-sex marriages. Most of the remaining problems arise from the nonrecognition of marriage-equivalent registrations and the lingering problems of legal parentage, which are being eliminated as well.
Because lesbian and gay couples historically have not been allowed to marry until recently, the idea of domestic partnership developed as an alternative that would be less threatening to the established social system while still providing same-sex couples some legal recognition.
Manual 2 Sides: The Lesbian Breakup
This section discusses the varying meanings of domestic partnership and explains some of the benefits and consequences of domestic partnership registration—which is still available in some states. The concept of domestic partnership has undergone an evolution, and the term now can have various levels of legal significance depending on its context.
Informal arrangements. Partnerships recognized by employers. Not all employers require formal registration documents to confer benefits, but in states where marriage or official registration is available, employers are more likely to require partners to take that step in order to receive employer-provided benefits.
Be careful here, as many employers have started cancelling benefits for those couples who choose to remain unmarried on the grounds that domestic partnership benefits were only extended to gay couples because they were prohibited from marrying. Our hunch is that an increasing number of employers will do the same in the next few years.
Local registration. Some cities and counties allow residents to register locally as domestic partners, but these registrations do not impose any marital rights or duties. Often, a county transfer tax exemption for property transfers between partners—saving anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars in taxes when a house is transferred or sold—is the most meaningful benefit offered by local entities.
As with the employer registrations, some local governments may shut these options down, now that marriage is available to same-sex couples.
State registration. Many of the states that previously offered marriage-equivalent registration have phased out these alternative systems, and very few couples bother to register anymore now that marriage is available nationwide. But the civil union or domestic partnership registration systems in California, Colorado, D.
California: State domestic partnership is marriage equivalent, and it remains available to same-sex couples of any age and heterosexual couples where at least one partner is over the age of Colorado: Civil union registration is marriage equivalent, and it remains available to same-sex couples of any age and heterosexual couples where at least one partner is over the age of District of Columbia: Domestic partnership is marriage equivalent, and it remains available to same-sex couples of any age and heterosexual couples where at least one partner is over the age of Hawaii: Civil union registration is marriage equivalent, and it remains available to same-sex couples of any age and heterosexual couples where at least one partner is over the age of Illinois: Civil union registration is marriage equivalent, and it remains available to same-sex couples of any age and heterosexual couples where at least one partner is over the age of Nevada: State domestic partnership is marriage equivalent, and it remains available to same-sex couples of any age and heterosexual couples where at least one partner is over the age of New Jersey: Civil union registration is marriage equivalent, and it remains available to same-sex couples of any age.
Oregon: State domestic partnership is marriage equivalent, and it remains available to same-sex couples of any age and heterosexual couples where at least one partner is over the age of Washington State: State domestic partnership is marriage equivalent, but is only available to couples where one partner is over the age of The California rules are typical. Same-sex partners must register with the California Secretary of State www. Registering with a California city, county, or private employer that also offers domestic partner registration is not enough to get the benefits and obligations provided for in the state law, even if you believed in good faith that you were obtaining all those rights.
In addition, the partners must both be of the same sex, or one partner must be over the age of Opposite-sex couples in which neither partner is 62 or over are not eligible to register as domestic partners. The or-over exception exists because for many people in that age bracket, getting married can have a negative effect on Social Security and other benefit entitlements.
Allowing people in this situation to register as domestic partners means they can take advantage of the benefits of marriage without some of the potential downsides. When you register, you must attest that you meet the above requirements. You also have to agree that if your relationship ends and you live somewhere else, you can use a California court to terminate your partnership. As odd as it may seem, the national recognition of marriage does not always include recognition of a state-specific registration.
On February 12, , San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom now former mayor made history when he ordered the city to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Phyllis Lyon and the late Del Martin, pioneers in the gay rights movement who had been together 50 years, were the first couple to take their vows.
Life, Off Script
After that, thousands of couples wed until the state Supreme Court put a stop to the marriages in March, and in June issued an opinion voiding all of the marriages that had been performed. But Mayor Newsom and all the couples who married during the brief window of opportunity started something.
The couples whose marriages had been voided brought a lawsuit, which resulted in an historic victory in The California Supreme Court ruled that the ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional. While we always had grave doubts as to the legal wisdom of that decision, it remained the law until June of , when the United States Supreme Court threw out the challenge to a federal court decision that had declared the initiative unconstitutional. Thus, both marriage and domestic partnership options are available in California.
Given the importance of federal benefits, we expect that most couples will prefer to marry rather than register as domestic partners. Someday, the Golden State may eliminate the domestic partnership option as most other marriage-equality states have done. And the provisions of the law are retroactive to the date of your registration, a rule which will likely lead to litigation as couples break up and argue about who owned how much of what, and when. For more information about domestic partnership, or to download the registration form, go to www.
Domestic partnership in California carries with it a wide range of rights and responsibilities, equivalent to those that apply to married same-sex couples, as follows:. Under a related law, all types of insurers in California—health, life, disability, automobile, and so on—must provide identical coverage to domestic partners and spouses.
So if your employer offers health insurance benefits to spouses of employees, your domestic partner is entitled to those same benefits. The same goes for an auto insurance company that gives lower rates to spouses who jointly own their cars and share the same insurance policy. Keep in mind, however, that for the most part, domestic partners are not considered married spouses under federal law. The rules for terminating a domestic partnership changed dramatically with the new law in Before that, it took only a one-page form—signed by only one partner—to end a domestic partner relationship.
Both Sides of a Breakup: Girl Friends Who Made Bad Girlfriends
Now, both members of almost all registered domestic partnerships will need to file a formal dissolution proceeding in court, just as heterosexual and same-sex married couples do. Similar procedures are in effect for marriage equivalent registrations in other states. The court will have to approve the termination of your partnership, but you and your partner can still agree on how you want to divide your property and debts, and deal with child custody and visitation.
Mediation is a great option for making these decisions together. And if you have children, terminating your partnership might be complicated by special laws about where custody cases can be heard. NOTE: If you are registered and married to the same person, you should be able to terminate both forms of partnership in one legal proceeding. This is clearly an option if you live in a state that recognizes your partnership as equivalent to a marriage; if not, you may need to file a separate dissolution proceeding in the state where you registered.
The California Judicial Council website also has a great deal of information and advice in its self- help section, at www. The advent of joint tax filing for domestic partners in California and the other marriage and marriage equivalent states brought with it a host of complicated questions. For example, if your domestic partner receives insurance benefits through your employment, your employer is responsible for tracking benefits for domestic partners and letting you know what was paid on behalf of your partner, and—unlike those of married spouses—those benefits are federally taxable.
Also, in community property states, you may treat your total income as community property for state tax purposes, but not federal. A few domestic partnerships can be terminated in California without court approval, but you must both agree to the termination, and all of the following things must be true:.
If you meet all of these requirements, you can file a one-page form, called Notice of Termination of Domestic Partnership, to terminate your domestic partnership, and the termination will become final six months after you file the form with the Secretary of State. Otherwise, you will need to use a court process, as described in the main text. Same goes with most other marriage equivalent registrations. A termination that is completed this way can be canceled by a court later if the court finds that all of the requirements listed above were not met. Either party can ask for a revocation of the termination within the six-month period after the notice of termination is filed, using a separate form called Revocation of Termination of Domestic Partnership.
Usually, you would seek a revocation of the termination if you decided to get back together, or if one of you decided that you wanted a court to decide how to divide your assets. If only one partner wants to revoke the termination, he or she must file a form called Notice of Revocation of Termination of Domestic Partnership with the Secretary of State, and send a copy to his or her partner in the mail.
The Breakup Museum
Even though the whole loaf of bread is now available to all same-sex couples, hundreds of government entities and private businesses still offer valuable benefits to the domestic partners of their employees. Apr 11, Ronell Kiensler rated it it was amazing. Awesome Read! This is great for Book Club discussions! This was an odd book at first because I was confused with the characters. Once I realized what was really going on, I loved it!!
I would discuss the different scenarios with my friends and we would converse and dig into both sides before finding the truth Alesha Jackson rated it it was amazing Nov 28, Adrenna Shipman rated it liked it Dec 23, Jamilah rated it it was amazing Mar 31, Aug 26, Tiffany Haynes rated it it was amazing. Wilonda marked it as to-read Dec 28, Kim BookJunkie marked it as to-read Jun 17, Grey Love added it Nov 11, There are no discussion topics on this book yet. About Phenomenon. Books by Phenomenon. Trivia About 2 Sides: The Lesb No trivia or quizzes yet.