The recent Supreme Court decision on the Obergefell v. Hodges case has legalized same sex marriage but what does the decision mean for end-of-life and funeral planning? Traditionally, legal authority over funeral planning goes first to an individual's living spouse, then next of kin (children), then parents, or if appointed ahead of time, the "designated agent" who trumps all.
But for many within the LGBT community, spouses and long-term partners were often not recognized and without a designated funeral agent document appointing their partner as the legal agent responsible for making or seeing through their funeral arrangements, they were stripped of those rights as well as all other death benefits. The Obergefell decision hasn't just insured that all marriages are recognized but has also promised LGBT couples the same funeral arrangement rights, spousal funeral and bereavement leaves, and government death benefits afforded to all other marriages (like social security benefits and inheritance rights).
“those who love us in life can also be the ones who take care of us in death”
Below is a link to Caleb Wilde’s insightful response on how the recent decision has affected LGBT rights beyond marriage and how one man’s desire to be listed as “spouse” on his husband’s death certificate led to the landmark decision that changed more than just the status of marriage.
(Photo: Gary Cameron/Reuters)