Sunshine Economy: Beyond The Wedding Bells Of Same-Sex Marriage

Jan 12, 2015

Florida is the 36th state to allow same-sex marriage. While the court challenges continue, newlyweds and those who married out-of-state now have their marriages legally recognized extending the legal and financial rights brought by marriage.
Credit Tom Hudson

After the big emotions of the wedding day come the economics of marriage: insurance, taxes, wills, bank accounts, property titles, credit card accounts, etcetera. 

Thousands of gay Floridians have gotten married since January 6, when their unions became legal in the state. Thousands more are now recognized as married if they wed in a place that allowed gay marriage prior to Florida's ban on same-sex marriages being overturned by a federal judge.

The economic consequences of the decision range from millions of dollars expected by the tourism and hospitality industry to dozens of small decisions faced by every couple, gay or not. What are those mundane decisions?

That last guy speaking is Scott Farber. He’s senior vice president and wealth strategist at U.S. Trust, a division of Bank of America. He works with same-sex couples across the United States from his office in the Miami’s Brickell neighborhood.

 Nancy Brodzki is a family law attorney who has worked on same-sex divorce cases. She married her wife in 2007 in Canada but they married again in the early morning hours Jan. 6 in Broward County. They're legally married now and "that gives me a huge sense of relief knowing that our future financially is more secure than it was last week," she said. 

(NOTE: The thumbnail photo is not Brodzki and her wife. It is a publicity photo for the Greater Ft. Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau.)

Liz Mabry of Delray Beach and her wife had a church ceremony in 2011. They exchanged vows again in Palm Beach County on the morning of Jan. 6. Mabry admits to feeling a little different after the legal ceremony. The couple already has wills and powers of attorney documents. 

"What we're going to need to do is go back and update those. So instead of saying 'my friend' which is the way it was set up before it will now say 'my wife,'" she said. Mabry also has already swapped her individual health insurance plan and joined her wife's plan as a spouse. 

For 65-year-old Edie Hambright and her wife, 78-year-old Julia Davis of Key West, the legal acknowledgement of their 2014 wedding in New York City has eased their concerns about retirement benefits and legal rights.

(NOTE: The thumbnail photo is not Hambright and Davis. It is a publicity photo for the Monroe County Tourist Development Council.)