How Suze Orman Made Deposit Insurance a Gay Rights Issue

I've never really thought of Suze Orman as a gay rights crusader, but this New York Times magazine profile of her had an interesting little tidbit about the financial adviser's relationship with the FDIC: 



Indirectly, sexual politics also played a part in Orman's collaboration with the F.D.I.C. Orman first got in touch with Sheila Bair at the F.D.I.C. not to talk about a public-service announcement but because Orman had fielded questions from a viewer about how trusts were insured by the F.D.I.C., and in the course of researching the topic, she concluded that the rules discriminated against people who are gay. She made her case to Bair, who told me that over the course of her conversations with Orman, she agreed that it was a freedom-of-choice issue and the rules needed to be changed, including a restriction on the trust insurance that required that you be a "qualifying" family member for protection. "She asked, 'Why do you dictate who people are going to leave their money to, whether it's a gay partner or niece or close family friend?' " Bair said. "People should be able to make those decisions on their own." The F.D.I.C. simplified the rules.

I went back and checked, and the timeline seems to support this. In late September of 2008 there were some articles about the public-relations collaboration between the FDIC and Orman. And a little more than two weeks later the FDIC issued a press release noting a change in the rules governing trust accounts: "The concept of 'qualifying' beneficiaries based on certain family relationships has been eliminated."

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Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. More

Conor Clarke is the editor, with Michael Kinsley, of Creative Capitalism, an economics blog that was recently published in book form by Simon and Schuster. He was previously a fellow at The Atlantic and an editor at The Guardian. He is also on Twitter.

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