Hopefully, the U.S. Supreme Court will release it opinion later today striking down DOMA, the Defense of Marriage Act, which codified Christianist anti-gay bigotry into the federal law. Even if the Court demonstrates a lack of spine and courage and falls to strike down bans on gay marriage nationally, should DOMA fall much will change in the legal landscape for same sex couples, albeit the impact will vary from gay friendly to anti-gay states like Virginia. Wall Street and financial advising firms somewhat belatedly are recognizing that there is money to be made in courting same sex couples. Some, like myself, have been working with gay and lesbian couples for a number of years on estate planning issues. A piece in Politico looks at this recognition of the LGBT market. Here are excerpts:
The Supreme Court’s long-anticipated ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act will provide some clarity about a fast-growing practice for banks: financial planning for same-sex couples.
The country’s highest court is expected to hand down a landmark opinion as early as Monday on a section of the law that denies married same-sex couples the same federal rights and benefits as married heterosexual couples.
“In terms of financial planning and advisory to the [lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender] community, it does muddy the waters,” said Eric Berger, a relationship manager and founder of the LGBT Private Banking Initiative at Credit Suisse — one of many banks that began offering specialized financial planning services for the LGBT community in recent years. “The uncertainty causes a bit of paralysis from advisers because on the legal side … basically any planning that you do now, you may have to redo.”
As a number of states across the country have legalized gay marriage, Wall Street has emerged as an ally for gay rights advocates.
Prominent banking executives, including Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein, have spoken out in favor of same-sex marriage and an LGBT-friendly work environment. Large banks — including Goldman, Citigroup and Morgan Stanley — were also among the hundreds of companies that filed a brief earlier this year urging the Supreme Court to overturn DOMA.