How does it affect you?

How does it affect you? That's my question. I like to ask people opposed to granting marriage equality to same-sex couple, to see how they respond. For some reason i get a lot of responses that start with "Well, God said..." I don't recall getting a clear answer, usually the closest to an actual response I get is some of the poorly constructed, inaccurate, and mostly unrelated canned responses from a NOM advertisement, probably forwarded by e-mail six or seven times.

So that is what I wonder, How will the government recognizing my relationship as equal to that of other couples affect an opposite-sex couples life? I would love to know because I am hard pressed to come up with a viable answer.

While people are mulling that over I'd like to share some of the ways that the government's refusal to recognize my relationship affects my life.

First, Insurance. I'm currently without health insurance because I can't afford to pay for my own plan, and I can't be added to my husband's insurance because we are not legally recognized as married in this state.

Here are a few of the rights (and responsibilities) I'm denied:
(from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights_and_responsibilities_of_marriages_in_the_United_States
and http://articles.directorym.com/Marriage_Rights_and_Benefits_North_Carolina-r935211-North_Carolina.html )

Rights to Social Security Pension
Continuation of employer sponsored health care benefits
Sponsoring immigration of a spouse (Actually affects a good friend of mine whose partner is from another country)
Supplemental Security Income
Federal Tax
Medicaid
Bankruptcy law
Next of Kin status
Tax on transfer of property (including on death)
Court notice on Probate proceedings
Making medical decision on behalf of spouse
Spousal Privilege in court case (I'd have to testify against my own spouse)
and so on and so forth...

There is a lot more than are listed, and they usually pop up when least expected, and usually it is an emergency when they do pup up. (I hope I never have to worry about filing a wrongful death suit if my spouse is killed)

And finally it is not all perks and joys, there are some responsibilities and penalties too. Though Divorce law is a perk and a penalty (?), it is more expensive to separate, but at least you get some help sorting out who gets what property... I guess the jury is still out on that one.

So marriage laws affect me legally, and greatly. I had asked around and it would take about $3,000 (I'd love to have that kind of money) to get just three of the protections a license that I paid $50 for, and even then those three rights may not stand up in a court of law.

And as a final note, please remember there is a difference in Marriage Rites and Marriage Rights. My husband and I could have gone to the church up the street from us and had the Marriage Rites performed, but it would not grant us the marriage rights the government offers. Whereas an heterosexual couple could go to the court house and get all the Marriage Rights, without ever having the marriage rites performed.

Comments

"Next of Kin status"

I think for the purpose of hospital visitation rights that can be a state by state thing where you'd need to pay & do paperwork in advance for every state you ever want to visit to be truly safe.

I was listening to NPR a few weeks back and I think, about a couple & their kids who were on a vacation, and the interviewee said her wife fell ill to the point she could barely move & couldn't speak. They both knew sign language & were able to communicate a little before she was taken to the hospital. And the interviewee said she was there with her kids in the hospital waiting room for like 8 hours while she knew her wife was dying & was never allowed to see her again when they most desperately needed to be together as a family.

Gay/lesbian folks need to work harder

belfrieboi has shown in very graphic terms the plight of our gay/lesbian/bisexual/trans community. These are very real problems for very real Americans all across the U.S. Everyone sees California as being this largely liberal state yet they have voted down "marriage" as being considered something between other than a man and a woman. This is a real problem and it is not getting any better except in a few states. That list belfrieboi put on problems people are having because of the narrow interpretation of "marriage" is heartbreaking. I tried to explain on BlueNC why that is predominant in America and got a lot of backlash because of what I said but I was not condoning it or accepting it or siding with it, I was trying to explain what I believed those against having "marriage" something other than a man and a woman believe and why they believed that. We're now in the 21st century. We're a country just absolutely FULL of diverse people. My last trip to New York just made me proud to see just how many different nationalities we have in America and just how many different "relationship" bonds are here. With some exceptions, we seem to be able to ultimately accept everyone but much of that acceptance has taken hard work and good presentation. The gay/lesbian community has to work harder on their presentation so that we can finally enact legislation that protects their rights and inclusion in our society. It isn't easy, I'm sure. But, nothing worthwhile ever is.

Of course not

Why would you say that?

Working harder

I'm not certain I'm understanding what you mean when you state "The Gay/Lesbian community has to work harder on their presentation so that we can finally enact legislation that protects their rights and inclusion in our society."

Boku no otto wa totemo aishite

My answer belfrieboi

I just finished responding to another thread here where I apparently upset another poster so I'm going 2-for-2 including your questions. Like I told the other person, I guess I am going to have to tone down my delivery a little.

Now, to try my best to answer your question: There are just so many gays/lesbians that do so much in American society and it seems either don't want to be or just aren't recognized as being a gay person. At gay festivals and gay rights rallies, many of those participating are doctors and lawyers and professors yet this rarely comes out. The gay community can be a huge voting bloc AND economic bloc and my reason for saying they "need to work harder" is that I truly do not believe that this immense amount of power is being used sufficiently to obtain the rights and recognition and yes, even acceptance, they deserve.

I equate this much the same as the civil rights movement. Blacks have made large headways in our country now. Why? In large part because they worked hard for inclusion on media and they developed voting blocs and had very excellent speakers and leaders.

I hope that answers your question about what I have said.

Invisible Minority (I apologize for the length)

I think I understand what you are saying, but it seems that the issue has many layers. I do agree more LGBT people need to come out (like Harvey Milk recommended) because the more visible we are the more the rest of society can recognize us as human being and the more we can dispel the lies that have vilified us for so long perpetrated by the Bryant ilk.

That being said there is a flip side to it. Some LGBT notables do come out, whether at rallies and marches or elsewhere but I fear they are often neglected by the media because they are not sensationlist enough to capture the audience the way some media wishes. This is my perspective, and it may not be accurate. Also the notables, or people of power that are openly gay are often used as a target by opponents (whether on a gay issue or not) As examples, the reference on the hill by conservative law makers to so-called "San Francisco Values" or even in the town hall of McHenry's that I attended where he encouraged the audience to boo Barney Frank. This also, sometimes, affects would-be allies, by creating a fear that if they are associated with such people they become part of this "morally liberal" crowd or whatever. (More on allies below)

The other layer to this, I think, is that many doctors and lawyers, or other LGBT in general that do not come out do so out of fear, actual justifiable concern. For example, there are still many places (including North Carolina) where LGBT people can be fired for being open about who they are. One person I know is a state employee who refuses to be open publicly because there is no Employment Non-Discrimination Act in place preventing him from being fired. A doctor may be afraid to come out publicly because there is still a large dose of homophobia in society and he may fear that he will lose business. (If a bigoted patient finds out he is gay the patient may quit coming because "he's checking me out, while he's checking me out") And there are those who do not come out because of their family (My cousin came out to his immediate family and his father gave him a black eye for it) And as for politicians, while there are some elected that are openly LGBT people, there are places where people question an open persons "electability"
There is still a lot of homophobia thriving out there, and the double edged sword is that it can't be combated until they come out, but because of it many are (understandably) afraid to do so. Not just for their jobs or their comfort, but sometimes also for their life. There are still people being killed simply for being LGBT people.

I think the biggest hope (maybe) for the LGBT community is our straight allies, (and I don't mean we need to rely on them 100% but there are often more of them than there are of us) For one thing, I feel people tend to listen to someone who is "more like them." For example, suppose a white person makes a comment that is racist, and a Latino person points this out to them, they may reply "He's just being sensitive" or some such, whereas if another white person pointed it out, the commentor may be more inclined to agree. (Or a Christian comments on Islam for another example.)
There is also the factors of allies who support equality for LGBT people but are not as vocal about it as they should be. For a personal example. My mother (now, fianlly lol) wants me to have equal treatment under the law, but when her co-workers make a comment about gay rights, and often use the same lies political opponents use, she does nothing to correct them, nor to point out the false assumptions. (And some of her co-workers know her son is gay.) In a political aspect there are times when allies have allowed themselves to be silenced (I can name a local incident, but do not wish to step on any toes) or haven't spoken out against some untruth spewed against a bill. Should the fact that there are no openly LGBT people in whichever legislative office at the time stop our allies from standing against this? (It's too early in the morning to pull the examples for this, but if you wish me to I can)
And I am aware that there are some great allies out there who stand up for us, and I'm thankful for that, but I, personally, would like to see some political LEADERS stand up and Lead regardless of orientation or gender identity, instead of just saying "well, the time is not right" or "We'll get to that eventually" or "That's not electable" etc...

So yes, while I do agree that more LGBT people need to come out publicly. We also rely on our allies to make a stand with us. And finally the reason I think the the thing that hinders us is the fact that we can (most of us at least) remain invisible, even though the cost is devestating.

Boku no otto wa totemo aishite

Thanks for your thoughtsbelfrieboi

I understand just about everything you've said and side with you on what you've said. I know this is a very tough battle for the gay community due to what the majority believes. Being a minority and you know you are just isn't easy. I go back to my statements with regard to the civil rights movement especially when it speaks to blacks. They've done well and this might be a model for you to follow. I could be wrong and not being gay, I probably do not know your plight, but it is a thought.

Civil rights

The reason the LGBT community doesn't adopt a model of the civil rights struggle by the black community? I don't if I can say we haven't adopted some portions of it or not. But the truth is there is no short easy answer to a question like that.

I think you may do better asking an expert (or at least someone with more experience than I) For a jumping in point let me link you to an article over at PHB
http://www.pamshouseblend.com/diary/12446/a-national-conversation-about-the-intersection-of-race-sex...

Boku no otto wa totemo aishite

Civil Rights response to belfrieboi

Extremely interesting link and yes, I see the dilemna. I'm not saying that the LGBT community has an easy task. I'm saying that there are things in the civil rights struggle that eventually began to transpire our nation that the LGBT community can learn from and use to improve their own plight. The dedicated christians seem to be the ones that are holding back progression for the gay community. Not being a christian, I have a difficult time understanding their reasoning.

Again, a good link. Thanks.

Post Script

You didn't upset me on this, I just wasn't sure what you were meaning.

Boku no otto wa totemo aishite

Thanks

I am happy I didn't upset you on this. I have my thoughts and wanted to present them here. I can see how they can be taken as anti-gay or wrong in the way I feel. I believe if we don't tell people how we feel about things like this and just "agree" with everything regardless of feelings, we aren't being true to ourselves OR those that are affected by wrongdoings in our society.

California regrets its stupidity

Everyone sees California as being this largely liberal state yet they have voted down "marriage" as being considered something between other than a man and a woman.

They were astro-turfed into voting against gay marriage and they are trying to figure out how best to undo it now, I believe.

It breaks my heart

when I hear stories about loving couples denied the right and dignity to comfort each other in a hospital room I just want to cry. There are two sentences cherry picked out of Leviticus that the fringe use to deny rights to others and it works. I don't agree with Foxtrot that they have to work hard, Goddess knows that the lgbt community are working their collective a$$es off. It's more along the line that we all must overcome our prejudices and false understandings.