Thursday, August 25, 2011

DOMA, Gay, Lesbian, & Homosexual Joint Bankruptcy Petitions

DOMA (or the Federal Defense of Marriage Act) had the US Trustee's Office opposing the joint bankruptcy petitions of gay couples.

This position has recently changed aided by a case in California called In re Gene Douglas Balas and Carlos A. Morales, Chapter 13 case #11-17831-TD.  There, two men jointly filed a Chapter 13 petition and sought to confirm their Chapter 13 Plan.

Click here:

The question presented was whether two men, who were legally married at the time their bankruptcy petition was filed, qualified to file a joint petition as a married couple under the bankruptcy code and thus confirm a joint Chapter 13 Plan.  The United State's Trustee's office had initially opposed confirmation of their Chapter 13 case, asserting that they did not qualify as joint debtors, because of DOMA.

The Bankruptcy Court overruled this objection, finding that DOMA violates the equal protection rights found in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution and thus is unconstitutional.

Simply, two men, legally married, were entitled to the protection of a married couple under the bankruptcy code.

The US Trustee's office appealed this decision, but later abandoned its appeal signaling a new policy that it would not oppose the joint bankruptcy petitions of gay couples who were legally married under their respective state laws.

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