Schwartz, Elizabeth F. “Before I Do: A Legal Guide to Marriage, Gay and Otherwise”, The New Press, 2016.
I knew it would only be a matter of time until someone wrote a book like this and it is a welcome addition to our literature. Whenever someone considers marriage, looking at the pluses and minuses is a good thing to do. After all, marriage is a legal contract.
The dos and don’ts for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people include the laws that affect relationships. Elizabeth Schwartz explains these clearly and gets to the main point of each so that there us no problem understanding what one is getting into. Hey, we are still new at this and now that we can marry openly there are some things that we need to know. For one thing, we are now legal and we have to know what that means. There are many gay and lesbian couples who have been accustomed to living together as if they were married. Now they want to make that legal and have the benefits of marriage and they jump into it without really understanding what they are getting into.
Schwartz introduces us to the considerations that we need to be aware of before we commit to each other legally. She looks at the rights marriage provides and those that it does not. We also hear from some of the most prominent LGBT professionals as Schwartz explains all of the implications of marriage (name changes, getting a license, taxes, insurance, Social Security, and so much more. We have important chapters on estate planning, pre- and post-nuptial agreements, and finance organization to take care of and she reminds that just because he can marry does not mean that we should marry.
This is a book that we really never thought that we would ever need but we have learned just how important it is. The decision to marry is a very important one and we need to get the answers to the legal questions in order to know how to react to them. Schwartz manages to explain all that we need to know. She uses real cases from her own files to explain what we need to know.