Top Cities to Get Married and Buy a House Post DOMA

Now that the DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) ruling has been overturned by the Supreme Court. Many gay couples are thinking of getting married and buying a house. Of course, for many the choice of where to go to be able to do so, and also live in a great community is limited because less than thirty percent of the states in America are in alignment with the Supreme court decision and recognize LGBT unions as legitimate.

Bigstock-The-Golden-Gate-BridgeBy Fall 2013 there will be only thirteen states plus the District of Columbia that currently recognize same-sex marriage. As of August 1, 2013 Rhode Island and Minnesota will be added to that list. As of July 2013, the state governments of Maine, Maryland, Washington, Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, California, Connecticut, Iowa, Vermont and New Hampshire recognized gay marriage and so does the District of Columbia. Generally, these will be the best places to get married and buy a house as gay couples will be able to file joint tax returns, claim deductions and give each other tax-free financial and property gifts just like heterosexual couples have always been able to do.

However according to Bloomberg Businessweek and other financial and real-estate analysis sources some of the cities in this realm of same-sex marriage recognition have more financial advantages and cultural amenities than other. For instance, Minneapolis, known as the City of Lakes, boasts some of the best parks, contemporary architecture and colleges in all of the U.S.A It ranked as the twelfth best city to live in by Bloomberg Businessweek for having a smaller population, eight colleges and a very low unemployment rate.

Bloomberg Businessweek also rated St. Paul, Minnesota, the Twin City to Minneapolis as tenth on the list because of its beautiful Victorian architecture and many parks and museums.

San Diego, California rated number nine in all of the nation on the Bloomberg list for having fifty-three museums, excellent beaches, a high percentage of residents with a graduate degree and consistently sunny, temperate weather.

New York was rated number seven with over 22,320 restaurants, 356 museums and parks. It also has one of the largest and most supportive gay communities in the world and is a huge center for gay activism.  It is also the home of America’s advertising and fashion centers and there are 103 colleges in the city.

Boston Massachusetts was rated fourth on the Bloomberg Businessweek list for it’s 2064 restaurants, 51 museums, many parks and population where 13.8% of the residents have a graduate degree.  It is also home to many perfect preserved historical restaurants and is considered to be the cultural center of New England.

The District of Columbia was rated number 3, known for being home to a lot of the nation’s intelligentsia with 19.6% of the population having a graduate degree. It also ranks high for having 12 parks per 1000 residents, great shopping and being home to the Smithsonian museum and the John Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.

Seattle, the home of coffee, grunge and personal computing, rated number 2 on the Bloomberg list for having very clean air, an exceptionally high median household income of $90,303.00 and boasting 29 museums.

The number one best city to live in, according to Bloomberg Businessweek is the one that most Americans associate the most with gay lifestyle.  San Francisco rates #1 with a lofty median household income of $90,640.00, 70 museums and almost 4,000 restaurants. The city, practically run by the LGBT community was number one when it came to providing residents with a safe haven, clean air, prosperity and excellent cultural amenities.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of GayRealEstate.com. Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast to Coast. FREE Buyers Representation ~ Free Relocation Kit to any City, USA ~ Free Sellers Market Analysis for home sellers.

 

The 11 Most Gay Friendly States Now That DOMA Is Struck Down

On June 26, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act established in 1996, in favor of the recognition of same-sex marriage.  However, as of the day of that ruling only 12 states plus the District of Columbia are actually in alignment with this decision. The other 37 states still simply do not recognize gay marriage as a legal condition.

The ultimate result of this ruling is a polarization. The states that recognized gay marriage in the first place, before the striking down of DOMA, are friendlier then ever to LGBT citizens and the states that are not are more hostile (with the exception of Rhode Island and Minnesota that will officially recognize gay marriage as of August 1, 2013 and the bring the number of friendly states in the United States to fifteen.) The polarity will be made even more obvious because even though the federal government has recognized the constitutional rights of gay marriage partners the states that don’t will seem even more defiant and unethical towards LGBT spouses.

Currently the 11 friendliest gay states to move to (because they are in alignment already with the Supreme Court ruling) are;

California GayCalifornia: This hip state first began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in 2008 and is home to many gay friendly towns and cities including San Francisco, Los Angeles, Long Beach, Palm Springs and San Diego.

Connecticut: This progressive state enacted a civil union law in 2005 that provides same sex couples full rights, and as of 2008 automatically transformed all of these unions into marriages that are honored in towns like Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven.

Delaware: On May 7, 2013, Delaware became the 11th state to recognize same sex couples despite its rather conservative past thus playing a traditional role, as it always has, in defending the constitutional rights of Americans.

District of Columbia: Not really a state, the District of Columbia made same-sex marriage legal in 2010 after recognizing them as civil unions since 2002; the district was the first jurisdiction in the United Stets below the Mason-Dixon Line to allow same sex couples to marry and also to recognize domestic partnerships (in 1992.)

Iowa: Gay marriage became legal in Iowa in 2009 after recognizing civil unions since 2005; the state is home to Des Moines, which is a hub of cultural activity and progressive thinking in the U.S.

Maine: Maine has many gay-friendly small towns and resorts and a history of tolerance with Boston, Cambridge, Portland and South Portland leading the way when it comes to establishing gay-friendly communities.

Maryland” This is a progressive state that passed The Civil Marriage Protection Act in 2012 to recognize gay marriage and that boasts many eccentric LGBT communities, especially in Baltimore.

Massachusetts: This was one of the first states to recognize gay marriage in 2003 and is home to many gay friendly towns and cities including Boston, Provincetown and Northampton.

New Hampshire: This state first began recognizing civil unions in 2008 and gay marriage in 2010; many of its cities and quaint small towns are gay friendly including Berlin, Claremont, Franklin and Keene.

New York: Every city in this progressive state is gay friendly with The Big Apple (New York City) being the center of gay activism, theater, fashion and a huge supportive gay community.

Vermont: This state is considered a pioneer in terms of its legislative approach to LGBT rights and is known for swearing in a renowned lesbian activist, Beth Robinson, as the state’s first openly gay Supreme Court Justice.

Washington: Almost twenty percent of people who live in Washington have a post-graduate degree making this one of the most civilized and culturally sophisticated places to live in all of the United States.

These states plus the District of Columbia are the recommended places to move if you want to make the most of the financial perks, tax benefits and federal/veteran benefits now available to gay couples thanks to the repeal of DOMA.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of GayRealEstate.com. Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast to Coast. FREE Buyers Representation ~ Free Relocation Kit to any City, USA ~ Free Sellers Market Analysis for home sellers.

Without DOMA it’s time for gay married couples to reexamine their finances

After celebrating the Supreme Court’s historic rulings on gay marriage last week, it’s time for same-sex married couples to sit down and go over their finances.

That’s because legally married same-sex couples are now entitled to the same federal benefits as their straight counterparts. Married gay couples can file joint federal income taxes for the first time and as spouses they won’t have to pay inheritance taxes when one partner dies.

Gay married couples to reexamine their financesBut the decision still leaves a lot of unanswered questions. What do couples who move to states that don’t recognize gay marriage do? Can they file taxes jointly? (Thirteen states — California, Connecticut, Delaware, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington — and the District of Columbia allow same-sex marriage.) It could take a few months before there are clear answers, says Lisa Siegel, a senior wealth planner at Wells Fargo Private Bank. The Internal Revenue Service says that it is reviewing the Supreme Court decisions, and will offer “revised guidance in the near future.”

But gay married couples can take action now by checking in with an adviser. They may not have all the answers yet, but they can set out a plan and begin to get familiar with your circumstances, says Siegel.

Here’s what gay married couples need to consider:

FIND GOOD HELP

Before you start making financial plans, make sure the lawyer or accountant you hire have experience working with same-sex couples. “Ask them, it’s very important,” Siegel says. Because of the changing laws, finances can be more complex for gay couples. You’ll want to work someone who is already familiar with these issues.

Look for financial planners that have received the accredited domestic partnership advisor designation, or ADPA. That designation means that planner has been trained in domestic partnership issues. You can search for planners with an ADPA designation here: http://apne.ws/12HkbAo .

Lambda Legal, a legal nonprofit that fights for equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, can refer you to lawyers if you call their help desk. Go to www.lambdalegal.org/help for the phone numbers.

Pride Planners, an organization of financial professionals that helps gay and lesbian people, has a search function on its websites to find financial planners and accountants in most states around the country. Go to PridePlanners.com to conduct a search.

Local newspapers and other publications for the gay community can be a resource. Look for professionals who advertise in the paper, says Sharon Rich, a financial planner and founder of Pride Planners. Or you can ask friends for referrals.

CALL A TAX ACCOUNTANT

Married couples who filed separate federal income taxes in the past couple of years may be entitled to a refund, says Elda Di Re, a partner in Ernst & Young’s personal financial services group.

Ask a tax accountant to amend your past returns to determine if you would have gotten a refund if you had filed jointly. The IRS allows taxpayers to amend income taxes from the past three years.

Filing jointly is not always beneficial. Couples in which one person earns much more than the other could see a refund. But if both people have high incomes, they will probably pay more taxes than if they filed separately, says Mark Luscombe, an analyst at tax software and services company CCH.

It’s still unclear if the IRS will be giving out refunds, but experts expect the IRS to allow couples to amend their returns. So ask your accountant to run the numbers now, or amend the returns yourself on any tax software you may have used.

Widowed individuals who were in same-sex marriages and paid inheritance taxes may also be able to get that money back, says Luscombe.

REVIEW YOUR BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS

Check with your employer and see who the beneficiary is on your 401(k) plan. 401(k) accountholders should know that their spouse will automatically inherit the account, unless the spouse signs a waiver. So if couples want to make other arrangements, it needs to be outlined clearly in the beneficiary form and, if necessary, a waiver needs to be in place from the spouse, says Alexander Popovich, a wealth adviser at JP Morgan Private Bank.

You should also check to see if your spouse is a beneficiary on your life insurance and any other retirement accounts, such as an individual retirement account, says Alexander Popovich, a wealth adviser at JP Morgan Private Bank.

REEXAMINE REAL ESTATE DEEDS

Some married gay couples may have left spouses out of real estate deeds to avoid a gift tax, which is triggered when someone transfers money or property to another person, says Popovich. Same-sex married couples no longer have to pay gift taxes after the Supreme Court ruling. If you want to add a spouse to a real estate deed, speak to a lawyer who can make that change.

REVISIT YOUR WILL

Now that married gay spouses don’t have to pay federal estate taxes on anything they inherit after a spouse’s death, married couples should review their will to see if it makes sense in the current environment, says John Olivieri, a partner at law firm White & Case.

CHECK HEALTH BENEFITS

If your employer didn’t allow you to name your spouse on your health insurance, it should now, says Frank Fantozzi, a wealth planner and founder of Planned Financial Services. Couples should check to see whose health benefits are cheaper, or which employer offers more coverage and decide if they want to make a change.

Follow Joseph Pisani at http://twitter.com/josephpisani

California Housing Prices = Up, Up, Up on Heals of Gay Marriage

The Supreme Court’s two decisions Wednesday supporting gay marriage could add fuel to California’s already hot housing market. “Married gay couples are going to have more confidence in making a home purchase,” predicted Nanette Lee Miller, West Coast partner-in-charge of assurance services at accounting firm Marcum in San Francisco.

Up on Heals of Gay MarriageStriking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act now means gay couples can pass assets to a surviving spouse without estate taxes, which added up quickly in San Francisco’s housing market where a million-dollar home is far from a mansion. The ability for the couple to collect spousal benefits under Social Security also is a big lift for the family finances.

Miller says another plus will be gay married couples’ ability to file taxes jointly. Previously, such couples had to file jointly with the state and produce individual federal returns, splitting income under California’s community property laws.

“Bay Area lenders are so used to dealing with how to handle a gay couple’s income on a credit application, but that familiarity might not be there in a distant loan-processing office,” Miller observed. “It will make the paperwork much easier now that gay couples can file joint tax returns.”

And given the hurdles in securing a mortgage these days, anything to make the process easier is a plus.

Of course, San Francisco’s frenetic housing market lately has spurred gasps of surprise over how quickly real estate is moving and at what price. After all, a well placed studio condo in San Francisco can easily fetch almost half-a-million dollars.

Miller, who heads Marcum’s LGBT and nontraditional family practice group established last year, said accountants are now scrambling to see whether clients should file amended returns for the past three years. The move is advisable for those whose savings would exceed the so-called federal marriage penalty.

Gay couples need their estate plans and living trusts reviewed to see how they might be affected by the extension of federal laws governing such matters now that Defense of Marriage Act has been declared unconstitutional, said Miller, who began her day at 6:48 this morning sitting in Bloomberg TV’s San Francisco studio so she could offer commentary as soon as the Supreme Court’s decision was announced.

That was quickly followed by other radio and TV interviews throughout the morning. Later this afternoon, she’ll appear on Fox News. I’m confident that interview will be fair and balanced.

Original Source: Mark Calvey, Senior Reporter – San Francisco Business Times

How DOMA (Defense of Marriage Act) Affects Same-Sex Mortgage Tax Deduction

At first the extent of discrimination is subtle when it comes to real estate laws with same sex couples, not realizing the ramifications financially until they have actually bought a house together and it is time to file income tax.  It is then that they realize that that the federal definition of marriage deprives them of the right to claim their mortgage tax deduction jointly.  In short, this is like being penalized financially for not being heterosexual, especially if one partner passes away and the other is left holding the bag for paying all of the taxes.

Gay MarriageThe federal definition of marriage is known as DOMA, which stands for the Defense of Marriage Act. The Supreme Court may strike down this law, which has been challenged as unconstitutional, because it strictly defines marriage as being a union between a man and a woman and does not recognize the legal union of gay/lesbian couples.

Quite simply marriage is a legal status that provides both spouses various reciprocal protections, rights and obligations. LGBT marriage operates in the same way as heterosexual marriage in a handful of states. However they still do not have the same rights at the federal level that heterosexuals do and this has resulted in misery and even loss of property for some bereaved gay and lesbian partners who cannot afford to pay post-humus taxes.

There are states that allow same sex couples to be married but they have to file their federal income taxes separately because the Defense of Marriage Act prevents gay or lesbian marriages from being recognized by the Federal Government. This means that when the taxes are filed, only one partner can claim the tax deduction or the mortgage even though there is, in reality, two people contributing to the overall cost of the mortgage.

The entire challenge to DOMA in the first place is based on the case of an 83 year old New York woman who was forced to pay $363,000.00 in real estate taxes after her same sex partner died because the government refused to recognize that she was married.  These same taxes would not have applied if she had been married to a man.

The upshot is that married gays and lesbians have the same status as unmarried people ~ Two unmarried people who share a joint mortgage can split the mortgage in two and both partners can then claim the deduction. However keep in mind that the amount to be claimed must be higher than the standard deduction in order to be worth it. The clear advantage to filing as a married couple is that the joint contribution to the mortgage raises the deduction a lot higher. If a gay couple is not allowed to file jointly then that can be considered to be discrimination as the straight couple who lives just next door is allowed to file jointly and reap the financial rewards.

So at this point in time it does not really matter if you move to a state that allows gay marriage or not.  As long as DOMA is not overturned and same sex marriages are not recognized this discrimination against same-sex couples that own joint real-estate will continue to exist.

Author Jeff Hammerberg is the Founding CEO of GayRealEstate.com Free Instant Access to the Nation’s Top Gay, Lesbian and Gay Friendly Realtors Coast to Coast. FREE Buyers Representation ~ Free Relocation Kit to any City, USA ~ Free Sellers Market Analysis for home sellers.

Gay Marriage, Real Estate and the Law

Same-sex couples often jump through legal hoops when dealing with their joint  finances — and owning real estate is no exception. If the Supreme Court strikes  down the law that defines marriage as the legal union between a man and a woman,  some, but not all, of these obstacles may be removed.

Gay CoupleWhen it comes to owning a house together, gay married couples can expect to  see a few changes if the Supreme Court rules that a part of the Defense of  Marriage Act, or DOMA, is unconstitutional. Those changes will affect the  mortgage interest tax deduction and Veterans Affairs home loans.

A Supreme Court ruling could have a harder-to-define effect in the 50 states  and District of Columbia. Each jurisdiction has its own laws regarding the  treatment of same-sex couples, as well as its own laws governing ownership of  real estate.

This article first describes what could happen federally with the mortgage  interest tax deduction and VA loans. Then, a clickable map summarizes how  same-sex homeownership is governed in the states.

Same-sex marriage and the mortgage tax deduction

Married gay couples who have a mortgage together will be able to claim the  mortgage tax deduction jointly if DOMA is struck down. That’s because without  DOMA’s federal definition of marriage, they will be allowed to file federal tax  returns jointly.

Currently, same-sex couples married in states that allow gay marriage have to  file their federal income taxes separately because DOMA prevents the federal  government from recognizing their marriages.

“If the federal government doesn’t recognize your marriage and you cannot  file jointly — even if, for state purposes, you do file jointly — then one  person is usually claiming the (mortgage) tax deduction even though in reality  two people are paying for the mortgage,” says Gideon Alper, an attorney in  Orlando, Fla. “Right now, I am taking the mortgage interest deduction on my  property, and my partner is not, even though we are both contributing to the  mortgage payment.”

Two unmarried people who have a joint mortgage can split the mortgage  interest tax deduction, as co-borrowers. Say they have $5,000 in interest to  deduct. Each co-borrower could claim $2,500. But splitting the deduction and  filing separately doesn’t always make financial sense to a couple. For example,  the deduction might not be higher than the standard deduction when it is split  in two.

Same-sex marriage and Veterans Affairs loans

Currently, a service member or veteran married to a person of the same sex  who wants to get a Veterans Affairs loan can’t include his or her partner as a  spouse on the loan. According to federal rules, the definition for spouse  requires the individual to be a “person of the opposite sex.”

They could get a VA loan with a joint loan, but unless both partners are  veterans, the VA would guarantee only the portion of the loan allocable to the  veteran. For example, if the two partners apply for a joint VA loan of $200,000,  the VA guaranty would apply to $100,000. Eliminating DOMA’s definition of  marriage would be the first step to allow the same-sex spouse of a veteran to  get the same rights as opposite-sex married couples.

The change wouldn’t be automatic because in addition to DOMA, Title 38 —  which governs VA benefits — also restricts the definition of spouse to  opposite-sex couples. But if DOMA is ruled unconstitutional, Title 38 would  likely go the same way, says Caren Short, an attorney at Southern Poverty Law  Center. She is co-counsel on a federal case challenging both DOMA and Title  38.

“Challenges to Title 38 exist, and they already are in a position to be  decided as soon as the Supreme Court decides on DOMA,” she says. “Courts that  have been waiting for that decision will also find Title 38  unconstitutional.”

Many real estate rules, including title laws, are governed by states, so  rules for same-sex couples who own property together vary by state.

The DOMA case before the Supreme Court focuses on whether the federal  government has the right to define marriage as the union between a man and a  woman. It will ultimately determine whether “the existing marriages of same-sex  couples will be recognized and respected for federal program purposes,” says  James Esseks, director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and AIDS Project of the American Civil Liberties Union.

The case challenges only Section 3 of DOMA. Another part of the law, Section  2, says that states don’t have to recognize marriages of same-sex couples even  if they are legally married in another state. That section is not the issue  being considered by the court. Unless the court’s opinion says states must  recognize same-sex marriages performed in other states — which is unlikely —  little will change in states that don’t allow gay marriages.

States and districts where same-sex marriage is legal:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware (as of July 1, 2013)
  • District of Columbia
  • Iowa
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota (as of Aug. 1, 2013)
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Rhode Island (as of Aug. 1, 2013)
  • Vermont
  • Washington

Marriage is a legal status that provides the spouses a variety of reciprocal  obligations, rights and protections. Heterosexual marriages in each state are  recognized by all other states, as well as by the federal government.

These states already treat same-sex married homeowners with equal rights.  Married couples can take title to the house as spouses regardless of sex or  sexual orientation. The overturning of DOMA would give same-sex couples in these  states additional rights on a federal level, including claiming the mortgage tax  deduction as a couple filing federal taxes jointly.

States where civil unions are recognized:

  • Colorado
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • New Jersey
  • Delaware (until July 1, 2013)
  • Rhode Island (until Aug. 1, 2013)

A civil union is a legal status that provides legal protection to same-sex  couples in the applicable states only. Civil unions typically are not recognized  outside the couples’ state of legal residency.

In these states, same-sex couples can own a home with similar rights to  married couples. As partners in a civil union, they can hold title through  tenancy by the entirety, which is a right that used to be available only to  “husband and wife.”

With tenancy by entirety, the parties own an undivided part of the property,  which means a spouse can’t sell his or her interest in the property without the  other spouse’s signature. Another benefit to this method is that, when one  spouse dies, the property automatically reverts to the survivor without going  through probate. Tenancy by entirety also protects spouses from creditors  because a creditor is not allowed to take away the home to satisfy the debt of  one spouse.

Colorado does not have tenancy by entirety. Instead, the state has marital  property rules, meaning that any property acquired by a spouse during the  marriage belongs to both parties. Partners in a civil union in Colorado have  these marital property rights.

Still, couples in these states could remain at a disadvantage with regards to  the mortgage tax deduction and other federal benefits. That’s because even if  the federal government recognizes gay marriage, it remains unclear whether civil  unions would be treated as marriages on a federal level.

States that recognize domestic partnerships:

  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Wisconsin

A domestic partnership is a state-sanctioned legal status that allows  unmarried couples, heterosexual and same-sex, to formalize their relationships  and which extends some state rights to those couples.

These states allow domestic partnerships, but not all grant the same spousal  rights to domestic partners when it comes to owning real estate as a couple. In  Nevada and Oregon, partners in a domestic partnership have the same title rights as married couples.

In Wisconsin, partners can inherit property without a will. As long as the  deed lists them as domestic partners, the property can be transferred  automatically if one partner dies. But when partners separate, they don’t have  the same marital benefits for the division of property.

Washington is a special case: As of 2014, the state will allow domestic  partnerships only to couples who are 62 years of age of older. Domestic partners  don’t have any of the community property rights that married couples have.

State that recognizes domestic partnerships, complicated by Proposition  8:

  • California

A domestic partnership is a state-sanctioned legal status that allows  unmarried couples, heterosexual and same-sex, to formalize their relationships  and which extends some state rights to those couples.

The most populous state allows domestic partnerships. In May 2008, the  California Supreme Court legalized gay marriages. Five months later, voters  approved Proposition 8, which bans the marriage of same-sex couples. That law  has been challenged and is under review by the Supreme Court, separately from  the DOMA challenge.

California has community property laws, which is the presumption that  property acquired during marriage belongs to both spouses. Registered domestic  partners in California have the same community property rights as married  couples. During the period gay marriage was legal in California, about 18,000  couples got married. The Supreme Court is expected to rule on the  constitutionality of Proposition 8 by July. If ruled unconstitutional, same-sex  marriage would resume in California — and, potentially, similar bans in other  states could be affected, as well.

There’s a series of potential outcomes for the Proposition 8 case, says James  Esseks, director of the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender and AIDS Project of the  American Civil Liberties Union.

“One of them is, gay couples get to get married in California, but it does  not affect any other state,” he says. “There is another version that could say  every state in the country has to allow same-sex couples to marry. People are  not superoptimistic that that is going to happen, but it could happen. Then that  would change this issue about whether (same-sex) people can get married at  all.”

States that do not allow same-sex marriage, civil unions or domestic  partnerships:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Indiana
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • New Mexico
  • North Carolina
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Carolina
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Wyoming

Same-sex couples in these states don’t have the benefits and protections that  married couples get. They are not allowed to hold title with tenancy by entirety  in states where this right is available to opposite-sex couples. With tenancy by entirety, the parties own an undivided part of the property, so a spouse can’t  sell his or her interest on the property without permission from the other. When  one spouse dies, the property automatically reverts to the survivor without having to go through probate. Tenancy by entirety also protects spouses from  creditors as creditors are not allowed to foreclose on the home to satisfy the  debt of one of the spouses.

In states with community property laws — which say that property acquired  after the marriage belongs to both spouses regardless of who paid for it — the  rights are reserved solely for opposite-sex couples.

Generally, same-sex couples in these states own property as tenants in common  or as joint tenants with rights of survivorship. These methods are often used by  business partners or relatives who own property together. While they grant the  homeowners similar rights of joint ownership, they don’t offer the full  protection that married couples get. The rules in these states won’t change with  the DOMA ruling, unless the court requires states to recognize same-sex  marriages performed in other states.

 

NAR amends Code of Ethics to protect LGBT, yet finances anti-LGBT candidates

Code of Ethics amended

In January of this year, Article 10 of The Realtor Code of Ethics was amended to include sexual orientation as a protected class.  Article 10 in its entirety now reads as follows:

Realtors® shall not deny equal professional services to any person for reasons of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin, or sexual orientation. Realtors® shall not be parties to any plan or agreement to discriminate against a person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation. (Amended 1/11)

Realtors®, in their real estate employment practices, shall not discriminate against any person or persons on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin, or sexual orientation. (Amended 1/11)

Discrimination problematic, NAR committee stood up

NAR had recognized that there was a problem in housing discrimination, and stepped up to the plate to ensure their members would not participate in denying service to the LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, and Transgendered) community.

If there wasn’t a need for an advocate in both the rental and homeownership markets, NAR would not have made this momentous change to the COE. What’s cool about our COE is that much like The Constitution, it is a living, breathing, evolving document.  Our Code of Ethics embraces the changes that have happened, that are happening in the world, and is able to adapt accordingly.

NAR’s historic political donations

NAR historically has donated fairly evenly between Republicans and Democrats, based on their stance on housing issues, and usually it
comes out to be right around 50/50.

As of August 15th of this year, the split for monies donated is 45% to Democrats and 55% to Republicans.  It isn’t so much the lopsided-ness of the Republican v Democrat spending so far that is concerning.  What is, and what makes things so bassackwards, is who NAR is floating funds to either via PACs, parties, or direct contributions to candidates.

Looking at OpenSecrets.org which is a site that has the dish on who is donating, how much,
and to whom, we see one instance where NAR has donated $1,000 to Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann. She is near the top of the alphabetical list of donation recipients, and most people by now have at least heard something about her, which is why we are going to use her as an example.

Bachmann may have either sponsored or co-sponsored a couple of bills that can be considered housing friendly, but none of which have passed. One was in regards to flood insurance, and the other, repealing the Dodd-Frank Act.

NAR commits to LGBT community on one hand but not the other

Congresswoman Bachmann, if you follow the news, isn’t exactly a fan of
the LGBT community. It is surprising that NAR would place a pittance of housing legislation, which has gone nowhere, over those which they have pledged to protect.

Really, if one wants to fork over buck to someone who seriously cares about housing issues, NAR should start with Congressman Kucinich Yeah. Totally just said that.

This isn’t meant to be a pissing contest about political parties, or even social issues, and where we all stand as individuals. It’s more about where our principles are as a group, where they should be, and do we practice what we preach as Realtors. Do we actually, honestly, subscribe to the Code of Ethics that we promise to uphold, and abide by?

Realtors don’t discriminate, why should candidates?

If you are a Realtor, you cannot discriminate based on sexual
orientation, national origin, color, sex, race, religion, handicap, or familial status, and if you reside in the State of Ohio, you also cannot discriminate against those in our Military. End of discussion.

Why would we as individuals support candidates who do, even if they subtlety discriminate, no matter what their stance on housing? And more importantly, why would NAR?

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This story is reprinted with the permission of AGBeat. Kathleen Cosner at AGBeat is the original author ~ Please vist the link below to view the original story: http://agentgenius.com/editorials/nar-changed-code-of-ethics-to-protect-lgbt-yet-contributes-to-anti-lgbt-candidates/

 

Gay-friendly services look to become more profitable as ‘Gay Civil Rights’ open more doors

As anyone who is married knows, it is equal parts work and play—and sometimes just a lot of work.  This is set to be boon for businesses in communities where gay marriage is legal. Take all the aspects of any heterosexual marriage—mortgages, car payments, legal and financial considerations, condo association fees, and taxes—and put a slight twist on them. Overnight, you have a new industry.

Professionals of all types are bound to find new and unique ways to cater to same sex couples and reap the financial rewards.

There is never a shortage of lawyers, and with law schools reporting record attendance, this utilitarian breed will surely be amongst the first to specialize on a large scale in gay specific procedural and public services. Moreover, this kind of advocacy will further ingrain gay-friendly legislation into the American legal system.

Adoption and childcare services sensitive to the needs of children with same-sex parents would do well to build a reputation early and keep it. Childcare is a competitive and lucrative business these days. Children of same-sex parentage should be made to feel no different from their peers of course, but there may be occasions that warrant sensitivity and intelligence on the part of childcare professionals. 

Gay-friendly realtors and gay realtors are perhaps some of the most knowledgeable and adept gay-friendly professionals out there. Gay-friendly real estate services have long been the benchmark of specifically gay-friendly services. One standard bearer in the gay service industry is www.GayRealEstate.com.  They already have 20+ years of gay-friendly business knowledge, and a huge base of associates and clients.

As same sex partners continue to realize equality under the law, expect an upsurge in the gay real estate business, as LGBT newlyweds look for that first condo or finally land a dream home.

Gay-friendly services might also benefit by honoring a socially progressive agenda that expects clients, gay or straight, to be open-minded and welcoming. To some degree, these services should work to promote networking and understanding between all their clients. This is a fundamental aspect of any successful service industry, and clearly something that established successful gay enterprises, like www.gayrealestate.com, employ as a best practice. The gay-friendly service industry has the opportunity to make a fortune and do good.