GAY MARRIAGE PROVIDES BANKRUPTCY AND IMMIGRATION BENEFITS
Although the main focus for the fight for gay marriage was for the right to marry and to have equal access to marriage-based benefits, the result of the Supreme Court's ruling reaches even farther than some may realize. In the realm of bankruptcy law, legalized gay marriage has the potential to streamline court filings, ease the clogging of court dockets, and save families money. Now that same-sex marriage is legal, married couples can jointly file their bankruptcy cases. Previously, a joint filing was not an option for same-sex married couples. This means that a married couple's only option was to file two separate cases with the bankruptcy court and pay the court fee twice. The trustee in charge of the case would review the household income and assets twice, and the couple would be forced to attend separate hearings that are often scheduled on different dates and times. In short, before same-sex marriage was legalized, the bankruptcy court spent twice the amount of time on a household's case, and the household spent twice the amount of money to file the case and appear in court.
The legalization of same-sex marriage has even greater benefits for US citizens who marry someone from another country. In many countries, same-sex marriage is still illegal, and gay men and women are targeted for their sexual orientation. Although moving to the US allowed many gay men and women to escape a life of persecution, their lives remained at a standstill because they could not apply for a marriage-based green card. As marriage to a US citizen is one of the only ways to get a green card, these persons were effectively shut out of any opportunity to get a green card. Now that same-sex marriage is legal, couples who are married and can show that their marriage is bona fide can now be approved for a green card. Green card holders have permission to live and work in the US, and can begin contributing to our economy in far-reaching ways.