Rainbow covered and smiling they weaved their way through booths and paused on this day to celebrate Pride. They came young and old, dark and light, coupled and solo, and all with the aim of inclusivity. Parents came to support their gay children, couples came to announce their new marital status after having been together for years and years without being able to enjoy the bond of matrimony, and families arrived feeling whole.
Our firm has been part of the annual Pride festival in Omaha for over decade. Our aim was to provide education and services to the LBGT community on how best to legally protect their relationships, their children, and their property. We have prepared and executed hundreds of estate plans designed to make a family as legally whole as possible with the barrier against marriage firmly in place. We have delivered a lot of hard news when telling couples we could not guarantee social security benefits between them or being passed to their children. We winced as we advised that they would face steep discrimination in their tax burdens when their partner passed.
It has been a year since the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of same sex marriage in Obergefell v. Hodges. This case laid to rest our case of Waters v. Ricketts, the Nebraska case, on which we served as co-counsel with the ACLU in representing seven Nebraska couples seeking status through marriage.
Since the ruling, we have participated in adoptions where a parent was finally recognized after years of parenting their child. We continued advocacy until Nebraska remedied a deficiency in the birth certificates that first only identified a mother and a father and next suggested that the form identify “parent” and “friend.” Now birth certificates will acknowledge the truth: mother, mother / father, father. We have watched couples unite under the legal protection of marriage after having been denied during their thirty-year relationship. We sighed with relief knowing that our clients Susan and Sally would have less legal worry as Sally continues her battle with cancer. I delighted as new friends approached our booth and groaned “Koenig|Dunne Divorce Law… divorce – already” they smiled at their newfound right to be normal and wed and divorce like everyone else. As I sat watching and occasionally catching up with former and current clients, I found myself, for the first time, feeling pride at this festival. Proud that I live in a country that now supports, honors, and recognizes that love is love.