June is Gay Pride Month
On Thursday June 6, 2013 I presented at The Pride Center in Wilton Manors for National Gay Pride Month. I spoke about important legal developments for the LGBT community. In case you were not able to attend here’s a recap:
February 2013 The Department of Defense issues a memo stating that military departments will now begin to offer certain family and dependent benefits to same sex partners of military service members and their children. The military is changing its policy to ensure fairness and equality. The service member and their partner will be required to sign a declaration attesting to their committed relationship. Implementation is expected by August 2013.
June 6, 2012 Windsor v. U.S. America, United States District Court Southern District of New York Court decides that the same-sex surviving partner of the decedent is entitled to the marital tax deduction from federal estate taxes (and should receive a refund of $353,000.00 paid in estate taxes). The basis of the decision is that the Defense Of Marriage Act deprives gays equal protection of law and has no rational relationship to achieving tax benefits.
May 31, 2012 First Circuit Court of Appeals (Boston, MA) rules that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which denies federal benefits such as tax, health and pension to same-sex couples is unconstitutional because it has a disparate impact. Massachusetts v. Dept. Health & Human Services
September 7, 2011 CMS issues a memorandum to State Survey Agency Directors regarding standards for patient visitation regulation. Hospitals that accept Medicare or Medicaid may not deny patient visitation rights based on the sexual orientation of the patient. A violation of this rule will result in a monetary fine and loss of Medicare or Medicaid funding.
June 10, 2011 CMS issues a Survey & Certification Memorandum to State Medicaid Directors: States have the option of applying Medicaid lien, transfers of assets and estate recovery laws to same sex partners. Under current law married couples receive favorable treatment when one spouse becomes ill and applies for Medicaid. The ill spouse can transfer assets to the healthy spouse without it affecting the Medicaid application. Additionally, the healthy spouse is permitted to retain approximately $115,000.00 in countable resources. Furthermore, at the death of the Medicaid spouse the Medicaid agency cannot seek to impose its lien against assets of the healthy spouse such as the homestead. As of 2013, the State of Washington has implemented the option of offering these spousal protections to same sex couples.
September 22, 2010 Florida Third District Court of Appeals upheld a judgment of adoption of two children by a homosexual man. The Court ruled that Florida Statute 63.042(3) which prohibits homosexuals from adopting is unconstitutional because it violates the equal protection clause, right to privacy and due process under the Florida Constitution. DCF v. In Re Matter of Adoption of X.X.G. and N.R.G., 45 So.3d 79 (Fla. 3d DCA 2010).
April 15, 2010 President Obama issues a memo to the Secretary of Health & Human services to create a rule that prohibits Medicare and Medicaid hospitals from denying visitation privileges based on sexual orientation of the patient.
Stay tuned to my blog and my website for up-to-date information when the United States Supreme Court issues its opinions in the two DOMA cases at the end of this month.