Financial Liberties For Same-sex Couples Once They Are Allowed to Marry in the Philippines
Photo: Benson Kua (CC By-SA 2.0)
The United States’ highest court has recently released a historic ruling allowing same-sex couples to marry across all 50 states. The LGBT community and its advocates have rejoiced the decision. It is a huge leap for same-sex couples. They can now be recognized by the state as married partners. And more importantly, they can be granted and qualified for equal rights and other benefits previously reserved to different-sex couples.
The same-sex spouses, much like husband and wife, is now the immediate family to one another. The partners who build and spend their lives around each other, no longer have to worry about being shuffled to the sidelines, if for example, their spouse suffers an accident. Because now, the hospital, as much as the state, recognize that they are legally family and can treat them as such. They can now file joint state tax returns, or inherit property easily.
It might take years before a similar ruling can be adopted in the Philippines. But when it does happen, same-sex spouses can enjoy all sorts of added personal, legal and financial benefits.
We have listed five financial liberties LGBT couples can look forward to once same-sex marriage is legalized in the country.
1. Access and right to pooled resources
All paychecks, possessions, properties, and other form of investment acquired during the union will automatically be considered communal property. For example, an unmarried same-sex couple purchase a home together, and pay mortgage equally. Unless both their names are listed on the title, the house can be taken away and inherited by legal heirs. A legal marriage gives security that hard-earned investments will not suddenly be taken away when one partner passes away. Spouses will no longer need to take extra legal precautions to ensure that the one left behind will have a home to return to, or have funds to support them. It will be automatic, and accorded by law.
2. Receive their partner’s employment benefits that are extended to dependents
Some companies offer benefits such as medical and dental coverage to their employees and their dependents. Once same-sex marriage is allowed, the employee’s partner can claim for the benefit. This is helpful especially for the spouse who stays at home, do freelance, or work at a firm with limited benefits. Meanwhile, the employed spouse can also file a leave to take care for the sick partner. Both spouses can avail the benefits the company allows to married couples without the added questions or raised eyebrows that may accompany such requests.
3. Receive SSS, GSIS or veterans benefits and pension
Same-sex spouses, once legally married will be eligible for government service, and security service death benefits. Once a member of either the Social Security System (SSS) or the Government Service Insurance System passes away, the surviving spouse will be entitled to receive a portion of the monthly pension entitled to the deceased spouse. The same also applies to veterans. Their spouses can receive benefits and pensions allotted to the veteran’s family, such as old age, death, disability, hospitalization, educational assistance, burial assistance.
4. Medical benefits
A married same-sex spouse will have the first say in whatever happens to their partner. This includes hospital and medical decisions on their behalf. A legal spouse can visit any time without restrictions or stay with the patient in the ICU. They also decide on the burial and other final arrangements for their deceased spouse. Unlike today, when a partner isn’t accepted by the family of the deceased, they risk being alienated from the hospital, or even the wake and burial of their beloved.
Same-sex couples who wishes to be parents may find the process easier when they marry. Some adoption institutions in the Philippines have strict requirements that others do not even allow single-parent adoptions. Being married means having a partner to share the financial burden required to raise a child. And adoption centers can take this fact into consideration, especially that having same-sex parents may take time warming up to. And a legal union will have more weight being backed by the state.
Of course, being legally married, similar to different-sex couples, will have its cons. The spouse’s debt and bad credit history can carry over to the partner. Financial standing will also matter. If one tends to be more stringent in their spending compared to the other, tension will be boiling for sure.
But as they say, love will find a way. And maybe someday, here in the Philippines as well. Legalizing same-sex marriage is not just about acceptance. The most important part is the fact that spouses can now be financially secured by one another.