For those of you who do not know her, Suze (pronounced Suzie) Orman is a financial advisor and motivational speaker. She hosts the Suze Orman show in which she offers personal and practical financial advice (not necessarily investments) to everyday people who watch the show. She was a former Vice President of Investments at Prudential and branched out on her own in 1987 to form her own firm, the Suze Orman Financial Group.
Another thing that you may not know about Suze is that she is a gay woman. She publicly came out as a lesbian in 2007. She and her partner, K.T., have been married for 10 years. You might wonder how that is possible. It is possible because they were married in South Africa, where gay marriage is legal. Now getting married in another country doesn’t mean that marriage is automatically approved and accepted in the U.S. I am speaking from personal experience here as my wife and I were married in Jamaica. When we returned to the U.S. we had to send our Jamaican marriage certificate to the U.S. government for them to validate that we are a married couple. Fortunately, the U.S. government has no issue with me and my wife being publicly acknowledged and civilly protected as a married couple. The same can’t be said for Suze and her partner.
While 9 states and the District of Columbia have legalized same-sex marriage in their respective districts, the U.S. federal government does not recognize or acknowledge same-sex married couples in any way. What that means is that the federal rights, privileges, tax breaks, and civil rights afforded to heterosexual married couples are not available to homosexual couples, though they have married legally. The result is that these couples are punished in ways that heterosexual couples would riot over if these punishments were applied to us. Spousal health benefits through your employer are now taxable. Estate taxes (when one spouse dies) are astronomical. Power of attorney (the right to act on one’s behalf legally, financially or medically) are stripped away. Guardianship rights are null and void. These are travesties against the civil rights we claim to champion in the U.S. It’s like giving someone the right to vote but making their vote not count or providing financial aid for college but charging five times the interest to person A over person B. It is unjust.
Whatever your thoughts on same-sex marriage or homosexuality on a personal or spiritual level, there should be little debate over whether laws should apply to all citizens the same way. When I speak of marriage in this context, I speak only of the legal entity not of any covenant with God or any other deity. If the U.S. were built to be a Christian or Jewish or Islamic state and the scripture of that faith expressly stated that same-sex marriage was to be punished and condemned more than all the other sins that are legal, that would be an altogether different argument. Seeing as how neither of those things are true, I will keep from going into the religious/spiritual/moral aspect of marriage and keep it simply as a legal entity with certain rights, privileges and obligations. If I can marry and have my rights be fully recognized and protected by my government, the same should apply to my gay neighbors, friends and co-workers if/when same-sex marriage is legalized where we live. This level of hypocrisy by the Federal government (I support the rights of states to make same-sex marriage legal but I will not recognize the couples that come from such laws in any way) needs to stop.