An article out of Kentucky brought up a point I had not thought about, filling bankruptcy as a gay married couple. The underlying issue is that with only a handful of states recognizing gay marriage, what are gay couples to do when they want to file bankruptcy together but their marriage in New York isn’t recognized by Kentucky.
That question has apparently been answered in Kentucky. A gay couple that has been together for 16 years was allowed to file bankruptcy jointly. The reason, bankruptcy is administered by the federal court system and the federal courts accept same sex couples that are married as married couples and eligible to file bankruptcy jointly.
Some in Kentucky are up in arms about this and State Representative Stan Lee, R-Lexington, said, “For a bankruptcy trustee and judge to allow this to go forward in the commonwealth of Kentucky is an affront to the citizens of this state who spoke very loudly in 2004 when they passed the marriage amendment.”
The recognition of gay couples in a joint bankruptcy isn’t new, just not common knowledge yet. In July 2011, the Justice Department announced that the U.S. Trustee, the department’s division charged with enforcing the bankruptcy code, would no longer oppose joint bankruptcy filings by married gay couples.
As the couple, Joles and Lester, noted, “It made our marriage seem more real,” said Joles, 48. “And it forced the court to recognize us as a married couple.”
Lester, 47, said that while the couple regretted having to file for bankruptcy, it made sense to do it together.
“We have been together for 16 years, and our money is our money and our debts are our debts,” he said.