Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Are you staying on Point? Of course you are and you can show us your support with your comments, content, observations and kicking in with our new Chip-In wideget coming soon. It's COP:24/7...giving you more of what your are looking for in the LGBTQ community and beyond!
Friday, June 26, 2009
Unfortunately for myself, I understood the gravity of the news, but I still had a job to do and the responsibilities of it. Yet, I tried to handle the matter as I approach almost all crisis situations, with my calm, take charge demeanor and stiff upper lip attitude that has served me in time of unpleasantness. It was so strange that out of all the uncertainty and sketchy reports at that time, the level of importance placed upon it. Especially, since I personally was the only individual in the room, who had actually seen Jackson here in the Little Rock Christmas Parade in the early 70's. However, as I left work, I realized that it appeared that the entire world had transformed into "Jackson Land" as his music blared from radio stations, news coverage exploded and people seemed not to know anything else but MJ. Yes, he had world appeal, made significant contributions and impacted many elements of cultural shifts ranging from Black artist being featured on MTV to his statement" We are the World," on famine relief. Of his catalog, I like many had many favorites. However, I really favored many of his less popular songs such as Earth Song and Blood on the Dance Floor. When his mega hit, "Thriller" premiered, I saw it in the backroom of the then Discovery II with it's big screen TV. The room stopped as club goers stood in front of the TV as if it was a message was coming from an oracle. Jackson's Super Bowl extravaganza was front and center at then, Plumtastics Lounge as the boys pot lucked and watched the "gloved one" dance and dazzle. There's no doubt that Mr. Jackson's talent is legendary, but his soar through his existence was also often times marred with eccentricities, mis-guided circumstances and far flung strangeness that fueled the "magic" that groupies and close friends muse about. Ultimately, Michael is the child of Katherine and Jo who have lost not a famous person but rather their son. I would assume that at this time, even though their are many issues at play, it is a death in the family that they must publicly face and share. Thanks, Michael for sharing your love of music, the grit of the dance moves that has even prisoners in court yards doing the "Thriller," and the passionate lyrics that will forever ring across the planet and into the never lands of the cosmos. I bid you a final curtain call and farewell...
Thursday, June 25, 2009
GET TESTED, GET INFORMED, GET EDUCATED! NOW
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The reviews are coming through and we would love to hear from all of you, no matter where you attended or didn't attend any of Pride 2009. Planning for 2010 begins TODAY and it starts with you, you and you too! If you've got pictures, video, shout out's, comments or observations share it with us in the comment sections. The above montage is a small collective of Pride week and will be updated with additional content from submissions. We will keep doing what we do best, "keeping it real" and Staying on Point! Look for more from COP:24/7 in 09. Your support is tremendously appreciated! Let's Rock Together...
Monday, June 22, 2009
Friday, June 19, 2009
Activities include: Friday: Meet and greet at La Quinta 901 Fair Park. Gay Greek Swag Nite at Markham 801. Saturday: Free Pride Luncheon at Theressa Hoover United Methodist Church 4000 w. 13th St. LR. Label Swag Check After party Markham 801. Sunday: Family Fun Day Picnic at Reservoir Park at Cantrell and Reservoir Rd. then the final event After party Farewell Bash at the Multi-Cultural Center Corner of 11th St and Cross St. LR
Host Hotel La Quinta Inn 901 Fair Park Blvd. LR
For more information: mailto:%email@example.com or 501-398-0307
3rd Annual Pride Parade of NW Arkansas: NWA PRIDE announces the 3d Annual NWA PRIDE PARADE: A Celebration of Diversity and Community. It will be held on Saturday, June 27, 2009 in Fayetteville, Arkansas. Parade organizers invite everyone to come together in solidarity and support of equal rights for all. The parade lineup will start at 8 AM on North East Street, between Meadow and Dickson Streets. Parade will start promptly at 10 AM. A brief Pride rally will be held at the end of the parade in the Walton Arts Center Parking Lot.
For more details, float and/or speaker applications, please go to NWA Pride's web site at nwapride.org.
Quote of the Week: " I"ve been on the "D- List" so long that I don't know anything else!" as delivered by N. Jones
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Pride Periscope: Management of ST has always promoted this north shore venue as sort of a "club house" atmosphere, allowing patrons to come as you are and feel a since of community. However, patrons some what missed the boat on Pajama Night when only bar manager Michael showed up in his PJ's. For the record, I wasn't in "costume," basically because I was doing several places in an evening and it wasn't going to work for me. How would I explain to Little Rock's finest if needed too, why I was driving around in such a manner. Anyway, all that dosent matter since those present stated that they were unaware of the event and again the proverbial, " what pride? When is it?, Oh, is it this week...?"
INFO, Please: Even as I determined that somehow PRIDE 09 was simply not making the radar test, there was another blip of info that perhaps apparently didn't get the "hey over here" it needed as well. It was the handy "downloadable" schedule that was available from the Backstreet website highlighted with a nifty Pride button. I thought I had posted about this tool, but nevertheless, this webmaster gadget is the type of access and outreach that is imperative in our information arsenals. Now before I get the e-mail from those citing my insensitivity to those caught up in the "digital divide," this method is still handy for those who have computers that can at least pass on "correct" information. Thusly, avoiding much of the "misinformation" that gets bandied about like wildfire. I'm giving this idea a "Pride High Five" in keeping the information channel open to all those who need or want to know!
FUQ Talk-Talk: Fed Up Queers, a local activist group will be hosting their first meeting, June the 30th @ 6:00 at the Main Library Downtown. It will be on the second floor, in the Fribourgh Room. For a different twist and a smart one at that, they are offering possible transportation to the site. In an earlier posting, I reported on the direct citizen's action campaign entitled, "No to Norman," involving printed fliers, Mr. Jones and confused onlookers. If you are interested in more info you can get it directly from their site at http://www.fedupqueers.wordpress.com/ .
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
PRIDE IN THE CITY, LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS JUNE 14 -21, 2009
"LIVE: LAUGH: BE GAY!
We're off and running! It's Pride 2009 in the City and there's a slew of activities covering a much ground for the GLBTQ community and beyond. Of course, I don't want you to forget about the Pride Picnic in Allsop Park this Sunday, June 21, 2009. We are an official sponsor and been in full throttle to make this event a sure winner to conclude the week and as we welcome the first day of Summer 09! The Picnic committee jumped into action and we have been amazed at the creative power that has been unleashed by core members and those who have answered the call to action. Ryan Olson, CAR program director, demonstrated that we can broadcast our message in video and this forum book ended the effort with our "Pod Snap" sent out to our e-list, with the hopes that each of these new media mash ups will go viral! Did you pass it on? Personally, it's been deliciously fun even as time was of the essence and a "survivor" attitude quickly took hold. Thematically, the picnic will encourage each of us in attendance and those not, that we must began to find unity in our "six degrees of separation." Overall, it's the colorful ties that bind us, not indifference, insensitivity's or internal complexities that continue to fragment those determined to make a difference and the precious resource necessary to fuel these efforts. I urge all of you to attend what you may of the activities happening in the area, but please heed my plea for your attendance at this Sunday's event. If you haven't had a chance to donate or show your support, you still can. Call 244-9690 or hit me up here in the comment section. Come see me as I look forward to seeing all you and meeting new faces. Won't you join me!
For more info on the weeks activities, hit our link to Backstreet where you can download a complete schedule of what's going on. It's all the PRIDE!!! ( www.backstreetdanceclub.com/pride09/ )
Monday, June 15, 2009
The head of the Office of Personnel Management and the attorney general on Wednesday said the federal government must do more to ensure equal opportunities for gay and lesbian Americans.
In some of the most pointed remarks on the subject by an Obama administration official, OPM Director John Berry,(picutred) the highest ranking openly gay person to serve in the executive branch, affirmed the president's support for gay Americans, saying, "with the help of a president who supports our cause, the aid of courageous fellow countrymen and women who love liberty, and with God's grace, we shall prevail" in the quest for civil rights.
Berry and Attorney General Eric Holder spoke at the Justice Department's celebration of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month.
Holder, who appeared with Berry at the event, said many of the same obstacles to equality for gay Americans that existed more than a decade ago are still around.
Berry drew on his personal background and experiences with family and friends to argue that public service is valuable no matter the sexual orientation of the person performing it. His father, he said, served with gay men at Guadalcanal during World War II, and told his son, " 'We didn't call 'em gays, but they were there, and died as bravely as everyone else.' "
The OPM director said his first partner, who died after a prolonged battle with HIV/AIDS, showed him the importance of supportive family and of policies that allowed Berry to care for him and be with him when he died, even though they were not legally married.
"My family has never known divorce," Berry said. "Were we married? No, but I dare anyone to say that we were not in love.... Where do you stand? Honoring love as precious and true wherever you find it, or with those who would demean or deny it? I urge you: Stand where you can be proud. Stand with service and truth. Stand with love. Stand for liberty and justice for all."
At the ceremony, the Justice Department's Equal Employment Opportunity staff and DoJ Pride, the affinity group for gay and lesbian employees, honored Frank Kameny, a former federal employee and gay civil rights pioneer who fought against discrimination and classifying gay federal workers as security risks. The event also praised Marc Salans, assistant director of Justice's Office of Attorney Recruitment and Management, who has helped DoJ Pride target personnel policies that limit benefits for gay and lesbian workers.
Holder said he planned to work closely to work with DoJ Pride to ensure that Justice offered equal opportunities to all employees no matter their sexual orientation, saying it was the department's responsibility to ensure "the right of openly LGBT employees to do their jobs with distinction and professionalism."
Other Obama administration officials have taken steps to extend benefits to the partners of gay and lesbian federal employees. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is modifying internal department manuals to give domestic partners of Foreign Service officers access to health clinics, emergency evacuations and employment opportunities when they are deployed overseas. And the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation is implementing a domestic partner benefit program negotiated during the Bush administration between the agency and the National Treasury Employees Union.
Berry said in a May meeting with reporters that he expected President Obama to back legislation -- the 2009 Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act -- that would give the domestic partners of gay and lesbian federal employees access to health and retirement benefits in exchange for their agreement to abide by rules governing issues such as nepotism.
"The president has asked both State and us to do what we can," he said at that meeting. "Where we need legislation, we will seek legislation."
Friday, June 12, 2009
Pink Dust Up: Here's the latest update and clarity of the FED Up duster that occurred last Friday at the DSB complex. First up, the organizers let me know that the formal moniker of that micro-movement is "No to Norman," vs. the "just say" action words that I assume I zealously connected. We stand corrected. I've posted their comments for your consideration and there is a link to the comments from Mr. Jones on their site. However, they are not convinced that those words are of Mr. J. However, I read the comment and I feel confident those words are vintage bonafide Jones speak. As he shared with me some of his thoughts on this matter, some of the same phrases were used and his citing being at the first march in Washington is truthful. The group also chided me for inferring that the exercise was about "Consumerism vs. Liberation," and as they state it, "...that having a “gay club” simply is not enough. You are not just a business man, people see you as offering these safe spaces, which we believe to not be safe for Queer and Trans folk. Your clubs are becoming more and more straight (this is what you call assimilation) and are no longer welcoming to the people who actually need them." Just for the record this forum has posted on numerous occasions that "gay"bars are going out of business across the country due to patrons, that's gay folk, who have made choices not to exclusively go to such entities while others are nesting at the house or doing the Net. Locally, there are plenty of SGL people at the Electric Cowboy, Club Elevations and La Changes. These are primarily "straight" outlets where I'm told by club goers that they feel "welcomed." Finally, I've known Jones for nearly 20 years and we've not always seen eye to eye on a plethora of issues. During that time I've come to learn that we can agree to disagree. His unique view of the world, community sensibilities and his place in it, is his own and has been such since I first met him. Perhaps their are teachable moments in his future, but as owner and operator of his businesess he is the shotcaller, just as I am for my own empire. Mr. Jones stated in his comments that he was open for dialouge, I suggest that those concerned make an appointment to discuss it or debate it further.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
From the Advocate
It's no coincidence that many gays and lesbians are often spotted at Home Depot -- a new study finds that gay homeowners are continuing to spend oodles of money on home-improvement projects.
The study -- conducted in March by Chicago-based research agency Socratic Technologies and LGBT marketing agency Target 10 -- found that gay shoppers spend almost twice as much on home-improvement items at stores like Home Depot and Lowe's compared to straight peers, with 63% of gay couples saying they plan on starting new home-improvement projects in the next 12 months.
Gay couples who participated in the survey also said they intend, on average, to spend $2,077 on home improvements within the next year, while straight couples intend to spend only $1,384. The study also found that gay couples are not scrimping during the recession and intend to purchase products from high-end brands like Viking, Sub-Zero, Jenn-Air, and Miele. Thirty-four percent of gay homeowners reported that they plan to replace a kitchen appliance in the coming year.
"Gay men and lesbians have a reputation of being major home-improvement shoppers and this survey reaffirms that," said Matt Tumminello, president of Target 10. "Renovating and refurbishing homes is in many ways a part of gay culture. Even in bad economic times, they are not stopping." Over the last three years, 72% of gay homeowners had made home improvements.
Gay and straight couples apparently have very different shopping styles, at least according to the study. "We found that gay consumers are shopping in more places than straight consumers to find the items that they want. This includes both at retail stores and online," said Jeff Kerr, vice president of Socratic Technologies. Gay consumers reported higher rates of shopping and purchasing at Home Depot, Lowe's, Sears, Best Buy, and even the warehouse shopping club Costco. "They are savvy shoppers who are determined to find exactly what they want and at the best price."
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Unity in Pride Picnic: COP:24/7 has joined forces with area supporters in assiting with producing this years Pride Picnic scheduled for 6.21.09 at 12:30 P.M. in Allsop Park. The plans are taking shape with a quickness, but you can still volunteer, donate, sponsor and most important of all, "tell all ya friends," to come on out. Get this, the cost is FREE. Yes my readers, it's a community unity picnic in search of creating pathways to cohesiveness as well as closing ranks on a variety of fronts. There will be speakers, music, games concluding with a softball game. Please look for posters, flyers and of course online media from CorneliusOnpoint.
The buzz is out and we will be looking for you. Need more info, get in touch today at our site or http://www.artisticrevolution.org/. Can we count on your support!
Capacity Building in the City: The Arkansas Department of Health(ADH) in collaboration with the Arkansas Department of Corrections will be hosting a training on June 26, in the ADH auditorium. The focus of the training is based on prisoner re-entry into mainstrean society, most notably barriers and the callabortive partnership required for positive outcomes. Also, this training will cover a variety of steps towards identifying means of transitioning HIV prisoners into healthcare upon release. If you are interested in attending; simply respond to Mr. Rhodes at 661-2762 by June 17 to reserve a seat. Seating capacity is limited and this is scheduled to be an all day event (8:00 – 4:30).
Saying No to Hate: After much wrangling and politicking the U.S. Senate leadership has settled on passing hate-crimes legislation -- which would expand existing federal law to include crimes motivated by a victim's actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, or disability -- as an amendment to another bill rather than voting on it as a stand-alone piece of legislation. In case you are not up to speed on this matter, this issue has had a rough and tumble time in gaining sponsors or traction on Capitol Hill. It's been bumping around Congress for the last decade despite affirmative votes. The Human Rights Campaign has been an ardent proponent of the legislation, meanwhile urging that the final bill composition be passed and sent to President Obama before it's August recess. Locally, Arkansas' laws doesn't specifically include sexual orientation or trans-gender components but offers a broad approach to "hate crimes." This issue has more signifcance in lieu of a murder of a local transperson and assualt of another indiduviual at the Little Rock Airport. For your information, I've included some of the actual laws concerning hate crimes in this state. For more information check out http://www.partnersagainsthate.org/ (graphic: Advocate)
Ark. Stat. Ann. § 5-71-215Covers damage of "any place of worship, cemetary, or burial monument." >> More information
Ark. Stat. Ann. § 5-71-207Disorderly conduct includes damage of "patriotic or religious symbol" in a public place. >> More information
Ark. Stat. Ann. § 16-123-106Provides action for damages or injunctive relief for victims of intimidation, harassment, violence, or property damage "where such acts are motivated by racial, religious, or ethnic animosity." >> More information
Ark. Stat. Ann. § 16-123-105Provides civil action for damages and injunctive relief for deprivation of constitutional rights. >> More information
DSB Dust Up: I've been accused of not getting both sides of the story in other issues and I'm not going to be roasted for that again. Therefore, I will be speaking with Mr. Jones about his version of the FEDup Queers dust up that occurred last Friday night near the Discovery/ Backstreet complex. I'm sure that I'll get a snoot full, so stay tuned....
PRIDE in the ROCK! June 14- 21,2009
Come out and Show your Pride!
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
Monday, June 08, 2009
Friday, June 05, 2009
Pride Politics: It's official, POTUS has spoken. Who is POTUS, well it's the code moniker for "President of the United States", Barack Obama, who has sent forth a proclamation citing LGBT Pride Month. Say what? Yes, it's true. However, this presidential move didn't send the talking heads over the cliffs or shock waves through wall street. But, it ceremoniously pings in lavender sets and communities across the land, in lieu of Prop 8 or the renegade states signing on to Marriage equality. Nevertheless, I'm pleased as punch for that effort, it's the political home front that has me pondering if this community can get a proclamation from the Governor, Mayor or somebody? If the leader of the Free World can step to plate and reconize, then my dear voting friends, if we can't defeat, overturn anything, can we at least get a measly proclamation? For the record, this has been tried before from then guv, Bill Clinton's office was approached with the idea and was bemirched by Chief of Staff, Betsy Wright, whom saw no value in doing a radical thing like that. Oh how the times are a changing or are they? Certainly Clinton 42 and S.O.S Hillary have taken a liking to the GLBT community after them days. So the question that lies before us, can we ask for a proclamation from Gov. Bebee or Mayor Stodala without rebuff or billy goat gruff? Well, I'm don't know, but it sounds like a good idea to me. In the meantime, here's the real deal from President O. Thanks Mr. President for the shout out!
BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICAA PROCLAMATION
Forty years ago, patrons and supporters of the Stonewall Inn in New York City resisted police harassment that had become all too common for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. Out of this resistance, the LGBT rights movement in America was born. During LGBT Pride Month, we commemorate the events of June 1969 and commit to achieving equal justice under law for LGBT Americans.LGBT Americans have made, and continue to make, great and lasting contributions that continue to strengthen the fabric of American society. There are many well-respected LGBT leaders in all professional fields, including the arts and business communities. LGBT Americans also mobilized the Nation to respond to the domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic and have played a vital role in broadening this country's response to the HIV pandemic.Due in no small part to the determination and dedication of the LGBT rights movement, more LGBT Americans are living their lives openly today than ever before. I am proud to be the first President to appoint openly LGBT candidates to Senate-confirmed positions in the first 100 days of an Administration. These individuals embody the best qualities we seek in public servants, and across my Administration -- in both the White House and the Federal agencies -- openly LGBT employees are doing their jobs with distinction and professionalism.The LGBT rights movement has achieved great progress, but there is more work to be done. LGBT youth should feel safe to learn without the fear of harassment, and LGBT families and seniors should be allowed to live their lives with dignity and respect.My Administration has partnered with the LGBT community to advance a wide range of initiatives. At the international level, I have joined efforts at the United Nations to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. Here at home, I continue to support measures to bring the full spectrum of equal rights to LGBT Americans. These measures include enhancing hate crimes laws, supporting civil unions and Federal rights for LGBT couples, outlawing discrimination in the workplace, ensuring adoption rights, and ending the existing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy in a way that strengthens our Armed Forces and our national security. We must also commit ourselves to fighting the HIV/AIDS epidemic by both reducing the number of HIV infections and providing care and support services to people living with HIV/AIDS across the United States.These issues affect not only the LGBT community, but also our entire Nation. As long as the promise of equality for all remains unfulfilled, all Americans are affected. If we can work together to advance the principles upon which our Nation was founded, every American will benefit. During LGBT Pride Month, I call upon the LGBT community, the Congress, and the American people to work together to promote equal rights for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim June 2009 as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Pride Month. I call upon the people of the United States to turn back discrimination and prejudice everywhere it exists.IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this first day of June, in the year of our Lord two thousand nine, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-third.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
I can’t wait to walk down the aisle with my fiance. Since we’ve been together almost four years now, it’s only natural that we’d love to show the world we want to commit to each other for the rest of our lives. Unfortunately, since we’re gay, such an event would only be ceremonial: the federal government doesn’t recognize same-sex relationships and who’s knows when they will.
In the absence of a political miracle that sees gay U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) succeed President Obama and legislate same-sex marriage, I figured I’d talk to some people and see what my options are.
What I found out - to be brief - is that the more patience I have, the more options I have. Just like old folks planning for their retirement, I too can make sure my fiance gets money from my 401(k) should I pass away. I can own an apartment 50/50 with a partner and even share the mortgage tax benefit. And if we have kids, we can both have legal rights guaranteeing our children can’t be taken away by the state or another family member - even if we separate.
The key? Document everything.
“If it’s not documented, then you can’t rely on any formal structure to help you or to prove your case,” says Debra Neiman, a certified financial planner in Massachusetts who helped start the PridePlanners Association, a group of financial planners serving the gay and lesbian community. “If it’s not on paper, there are no guarantees for anything.”
That’s not say your relationship should be all about spreadsheets and calculators. Not at all. But if you and your partner are serious about making a life commitment, you need to hammer out the basics surrounding your money, house, health and children (optional). Older gays and lesbians didn’t have the luxury of talking openly about relationship planning, but us young folks do and we need to start planning.
First and foremost: the federal government does not provide any benefits to same-sex couples, nada, zip, zero. Some states provide protections to same-sex couples. Massachusetts, Iowa, Vermont, Maine and Connecticut have same-sex marriage laws that put gays and lesbians on equal footing with their straight counterparts. New Jersey has civil unions that are equal to marriage in everything but name. New Hampshire is close to passing same-sex marriage legislatively. Washington and Oregon have domestic partner laws, while Hawaii has limited domestic partnerships. Everywhere else, nothing.
Still, you don’t want to count on the kindness of a random judge to decide whether your decade of mortgage payments qualifies toward ownership of your apartment, or if that car your ex promised you actually becomes yours. You want to know for sure. Where to start? Write up a domestic partner agreement.
A domestic partner agreement can be as specific or general as you want. Ultimately, it’s a road map for your relationship, and like a map, it shows where you are now and where you hope to be later. If you have a car, say whose it is and outline who pays what for it. If you own an apartment, detail the mortgage payments and who gets the tax benefits that come along with the property. If one pays all the mortgage and the other takes care of the kids - and that couple equates the two - spell that out so a judge knows that the parties in the relationship see one another as equals. Some couples also outline what assets would be divided, and how, should they split up.
Doing all this allows both people in the relationship to assess themselves, what they have and what they want. Getting all this out in the open is essential to making plans. Being as upfront and honest about your financial positions is essential to coming up with an agreement that both people are happy with.
You’ll need a lawyer to draw up a domestic partner agreement that will stand up in court. Financial planners even recommend that each person in the relationship retain his or her own counsel so as to satisfy a judge who could claim that one member in the relationship was coerced into consenting to the agreement.
“You’re either very prepared or very aware or you don’t want to think about it (financial planning),” says John Fairbanks, financial advisor with Smith Barney in Hartford, Ct. He says a lot of young people in committed relationships figure they’ll start planning after they turn 40. Problem is, that may be too late.
Let’s start with what you can do with everyday things, like bank accounts, 401(k)s, credit cards, cars and health care.
So how should you handle your money? Open a joint account, keep separate accounts? Those in a serious relationship probably want some way to pay for bills together and buy groceries, so a shared account comes in handy. This part’s actually not so hard. A lot of financial planners tell you that the best relationships are those where those involved feel equal - so having your own money in addition to sharing funds is a great way to go. Just be careful in the joint account: if one person deposits $15,000 and the other only puts in $100, then you’re liable to pay the federal gift tax –which is a whopping 50% on anything over $13,000 — on the difference. The solution? Keep most of your assets in separate accounts and contribute equally, either on a percentage or per-dollar basis, to the joint account. Remember, document that there’s a 50/50 divide. A simple account statement will suffice.
Dealing with your 401(k) account at work is even easier. You can list anyone as the beneficiary for your savings, just contact your human resources department and fill out the appropriate form. Just be sure to keep an eye on the form should you split up with your partner: you don’t want your ex walking away with a hefty some just because you forgot to keep the form current!
Credit cards aren’t that tricky either. You can always put another person on your account, usually for a fee, regardless of your relationship. But be careful: credit is debt. If you sign on to the account, and your partner bails or can’t pay the bills, you may be liable. One advantage of being an unmarried couple is that your credit ratings remain separate, so if one of you needs to rehabilitate your credit rating, there’s breathing room to do so: while the person with good credit borrows the money the other can pay him/her back without having to involve creditors.
Speaking of creditors, be careful if you and your hubby want to buy a car. Sure it seems like a no-brainer: how else are you going to get from your living room to the grocery store? And for new couples, buying a car can be the first “major” joint purchase. But know your partner before you do this cause if he/she has nothing, and the car is under joint ownership, you’re the one who’s obligated to pay out if you’re sued. Joint ownership sounds great at first, but it is what it is: joint ownership.
Health care for unmarried, same-sex couples can be simple if the right precautions are taken. First and foremost, a couple needs to get a health care proxy, which is a document that outlines the rights of a same-sex partner in the absence of laws recognizing this person as a spouse.
“If you don’t have a health care proxy that lets your partner visit you in the hospital, any hospital can turn you away,” says Todd Sears, a financial planner who runs Merrill Lynch’s LGBT initiative. He suggests filing your health care proxy with the nearest hospital - the one to which you’d be taken in a 911 emergency. Also, carry a shrunken-down version of the document to fit in your wallet and save a copy of the health care proxy in your portable email account to have handy while traveling.
As for health care benefits, you should check with your employer if they offer domestic partner options. If yes, be aware that the monthly payments you pay to add your partner onto your plan will be taxed, unlike married couples. Same-sex couples aren’t alone though: employers providing domestic partner benefits also pay federal tax to provide you with the health care. This all may change soon though. Legislation in Congress is currently in the works to make benefits granted to unmarried couples equal to those who are married.