The Difference 10 Miles Can Make
By: Jason Holling
Lately, Justin and I have been asked repeatedly about when will we get married. Since the ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) this summer, people assumed we would tie the knot and get married right away. One week in August our lawyer, financial adviser, and numerous friends all commented that we should considered getting married and move to the neighboring state of Iowa where gay marriage is recognized. While Justin and I have been together over 9 years, we want nothing more then to show our love and commitment to each other while taking advantage of financial and other protections currently realized by heterosexual married couples. But unfortunately 10 miles separate us from Iowa where gay couples are allowed to marry and the border of Nebraska where we live.
There are several reasons we don’t just move right now across the bridge and tie the knot. But that may be a real possibility depending how the laws change in the upcoming years. Also, in many ways Justin and I are “married” in our eyes as well as our friends and families eyes. We live together, we have rings already, and we even argue sometimes like a married couple! We talked several nights ago about getting married and both of us definitely want to. As we watch the laws take shape over the next year and seeing where our state goes, it will drive our decision on marriage when the time is right. We can only hope that Nebraska can make a change and recognize marriages from another state as a first step towards marriage equality.
I want to make sure Justin and our future child is taken care of if I should pass away. And being married and living in a state that recognizes gay marriage is one way to do that. I always knew the facts that it was difficult to leave money and assets to Justin if I should pass away. That meeting with our lawyer really hit home when I could see the impact of our state not recognizing gay marriages. I really thought hard that night when I got home from the lawyer and realized that because we were not able to be married, in the eyes of the law Justin and I were no more than friends even though we love each other and supported each other for over 9 years. Leaving the house to him is taxed the same as me leaving a gift to a friend versus someone I love and am trying to adopt a child with. Then our financial adviser showed us retirement plans and the difference if we continued to live in a state that did not recognize gay marriage was almost $750,000 in retirement. That’s a huge amount of money just for living 10 miles across the river and having our state deny us the same financial protections as our married heterosexual counterparts.
So while wedding bells may not be in the immediate future, Justin and I both are keeping an eye on where marriage equality takes us in Nebraska over the next year. Once we do match with a birthmother and adopt our child, we will have the decision to make to ensure we are not only protecting each other, but our child too. It’s amazing that 10 miles can separate a committed loving family from so many basic rights that people take for granted every day.
Read more about Jason and Justin’s journey to become parents on JasonandJustin.com.