With civil unions, domestic partnerships and mutual-commitment registries, the options for gay relationships are extremely complex. In many states where gay marriage is illegal, there are laws and regulations for gay relationship recognition that may vary by county and city. Salt Lake City, for example, has a mutual-commitment registry that is similar to domestic partnerships. Civil unions are now legal in 13 states and gay marriage is legal in nine states and in Washington, D.C. However, there are three other states that recognize, and grant rights to, marriages performed in other states.
With such a diverse range of laws, each gay relationship may hold a different set of requirements, and legal differences, which is why the book, Making it Legal: A Guide to Same-Sex Marriage, Domestic Partnerships & Civil Unions, is an essential guide for gay couples.
“This book is perfect for anyone who is looking to be involved in a relationship,” said the author Frederick Hertz. “The book helps to not only map out the entire relationship, from partner selection to the wedding ceremony.”
Hertz is also the author of the definitive legal guide for all gay relationships called, A Legal Guide for Lesbian & Gay Couples. He said many gay people have different perspectives on long-term relationships than many straight people.
“When you sit around with a bunch of straight women talking about their dates, you often hear them say things like, ‘He’s just not marriage material.’ I don’t think you hear that very often within the gay community,” Hertz said.
One of the main points of the book is to help gay people realize that marriage is not just a way to gain benefits from a partner’s employment, it’s a responsibility, Hertz said.
“Marriage eventually will reach all 50 states, even Utah,” Hertz said. “Now is the time to start thinking about a relationship and working toward that goal. Marriage isn’t going to be a political statement. It will be a right. And one that should be taken very seriously.
The book can be read from cover-to-cover, or it can be used as a specific guide, just following the table of contents. It is extremely simple to find the specifics on your state or area.
The book is also a comprehensive history of gay marriage and relationships in America and it outlines each battle through the states’ legislature and the courts. While working through the history, different state’s positions on same-sex marriage are outlined. As changes are made to the laws around the country, the book’s website is updated to reflect those changes.
The book will help answer some of the most difficult questions for gay couples and there are detailed guides for Utah couples. The first few steps for gay couples are to plan for disability through health care directives, sign a power of attorney and prepare a will. If these steps are not followed, the state will not recognize that even long-term couples have any legal recognition.
A healthcare directive is a document that tells medical and legal professionals who can make decisions about the signee’s healthcare; including who should make medical decisions should the signee be unable to communicate his or her wishes. A power of attorney for health care, medical directive and a living will can all be used for this purpose.
A power of attorney for finances and property can empower a partner to make important financial decisions should the signee become unable to do so. This can be used for situations where the signee is traveling and unable to be reached or should he or she become disabled.
A will is a basic set of written instructions who should receive the signee’s property upon his or her death. The list of instructions can include a residuary clause that covers assets acquired after the signing of the will. An executor will also be named to distribute the assets.
The book outlines the basic and advanced directives each couple should be made aware, and while the assistance of an attorney is suggested, Making it Legal is a terrific resource for any gay or lesbian couple in Utah.