Friday, January 22, 2010

Live Free or Die a Bigot

     The official motto of New Hampshire is "Live free or die," however, according to the proponents of "traditional" marriage there will be no living in freedom for gays and lesbians.  The AP reports:
     Three weeks after New Hampshire legalized gay marriage, opponents will ask a House committee Wednesday to repeal the law and let voters amend the constitution to define marriage as between one man and one woman.

Ignorance + Absolute Truth = Hypocrisy

     "But you do have equal rights," the supporters of "traditional marriage, who are against marriage equality for same sex couples claim.  I have been told this to my face and in a very patronizing tone of voice, by people who oppose my equal rights in the names of their gods.

     Put simply, their comments are based on ignorance of the simple legal and economic truth that same sex couples live every day.  And when ignorance is combined with the absolute surety and superiority of religion, it breeds hypocrisy.

     Same sex couples do not have equal civil rights as hetero couples.

    If Howard Wax and Robert Pooley Jr. were a heterosexual couple, they could've gone to their nearest Cook County clerk's office, paid $40 for a marriage license and been wed.
     That would have provided them an array of legal protections -- the right to make medical decisions for one another, the ability for one to inherit the other's property.
    Instead, the couple paid $10,000 for an attorney to help them roughly simulate -- using wills, trusts and powers of attorney -- the protections that marriage affords. It was a price the men, parents of 3-year-old twins, were willing to pay for peace of mind, though they admit it's far from perfect.
      So what to those of us, who cannot afford $10,000 in attorney fees to pay for the illusion of equality do?  And, even if we spend the money, our legal agreements are not biological-family proof.
    "Gay couples have to go to an attorney, have a will drawn up, get durable powers of attorney. Not only is it a financial expense, but many of those things can be challenged by people's biological families [who support 'traditional' marriage]," said Rick Garcia, political director for the gay and lesbian rights group Equality Illinois. "A heterosexual couple that barely knows each other can walk into the county clerk's office, get a license, get married [in a 'traditional' marriage] by an administrative law judge, and all their rights and all their protections are there."
     When it comes to adoption, gay couples pay twice to adopt a child, not once like hetero couples.  For lesbian couples, where one carries the child, the non-biological mother must pay to adopt her own partner's biological child.
    Melissa Walker and Erin Ferguson had a wedding ceremony in Chicago in 2008. A couple of friends who are attorneys offered their services as a gift, helping the couple prepare powers of attorney and wills.
    Now Walker is eight months pregnant and said it will cost about $2,000 for Ferguson to adopt the child, along with additional legal costs to make sure their parental rights are protected.
    "Erin and I are spending thousands of dollars out of our savings account," Walker said. "How does it benefit anyone when our child is going to come into this world with a less economically sound family?"
     When it comes to power of attorney:
     "There are protections under the law that would help a heterosexual couple if they didn't have those protections in place," said Christopher Clark, senior staff attorney in the Midwest Regional Office of Lambda Legal, a national gay and lesbian civil rights organization. "A same-sex couple, without these steps, has no legal protection."
     Even with carefully laid-out legal plans, Clark said same-sex couples still have cause for concern: "We've had horrible situations where someone winds up in the emergency room in critical condition or even dying, and the person's partner is not allowed access to them, regardless of the documents."
      So, if someone in the hospital believes in "traditional" marriage, they can disregard a same sex couple's legal documents, and this does happen.  One reason is because every state has different laws.  Same sex couples have no federal rights, thanks to DOMA, which we're still waiting for President Obama to overturn as we were promised in the campaign. 

     The Tribune article continues:
   "[DOMA] makes it impossible for a surviving partner to receive any of their deceased partner's monthly Social Security payout. That money simply goes back to the federal government." 
    The deceased partner's money goes back to the federal government!  And, people say that this isn't a financial issue, while the list of denied civil rights and discrimination goes on and on.


     But those against marriage equality tell us that it's their religious freedom that grants them the right deny people of other religious beliefs who believe in marriage equality the right to their freedom of belief and pursuit of happiness.   They tell us, "Be patient!  It just isn't time yet.  It's too soon."  "You need to pay your dues."  As if thousands of years of  scapegoating of and violence against LGBT persons means nothing?   As if the denial, neglect, and blame gays endured during the Reagan years of denial and truth about HIV/AIDS wasn't enough gay bloodletting/cleansing?  As if people being denied rights today, and in the case of Don't Ask Don't Tell losing their careers, means nothing?  As if states taking away foster children from loving gay couples isn't a violation of family values?  As if...

     What this comes down to is the hypocritical and generations old way that many Americans look down at every new minority that comes to our shores and at every minority already present that finally demands their equal rights: the hypocritical belief that I got mine so screw the rest.

     The truth is that every single person in this country is a descendant of someone from another part of the world, whether they came over on a boat or across the ice-age Bering Strait land bridge.  Every person in this country has roots in some sort of a minority, be it of race, ethnicity, personal creed, gender, age group, mental capacity, etc. etc.  The thing that is supposed to be great about this country is that it was founded on the belief that all are created equal, but try convincing someone who has their personal savior  downloading  tweets to their inner iPhone.  Their god has blessed them with theirs, so screw everyone else.