My Views on Gay Marriage.
Well, the short answer could be:
But in light of my blog being on Mel’s Creme de la Creme for 2010 (#36), I may have some folks who are new to who I am stopping by. So I thought a discussion might be in order.
I am a lesbian. I happen to be a lesbian who was formerly married to a man. My marriage to my ex husband was short, our relationship, however, was not. We started dating when we were 15, and split up when I was 23. We were married for less than a year. We had no children, and our sole asset was a condo we purchased on an FHA loan. When we split, we each had rights. Rights to anything acquired during our marriage, rights to half of the proceeds of the house. If there had been children there would have been child support and custody rights.
And we were separated after 6 months.
In most states in this country, a lesbian couple together for years, with children and joint assets can break up and things like the following can happen:
– The biological parent of the children can keep the non-biological parent from seeing their children
– The non-biological parent can argue that she is not the parent of the children and get out of child support.
– The title-holder of an asset (such as a car or house) acquired during the term of the relationship can claim total ownership even if the asset was purchased with joint funds.
These are simply three of the inequities experienced by gay and lesbian couples all over the country.
Now. I live in California. Where we’ve argued gay marriage (can’t we just call it marriage???) for years now. But we also have domestic partnership, and it’s recognized statewide. This means that in terms of things the State has purview over, H and I are considered married just like straight folks. Her name is on the twins’ birth certificates, our assets are joint assets regardless of who holds title, and we have to file joint State taxes.
But federal rights are a whole different story. Gay and lesbian couples whose unions are recognized in their home states still face HUGE inequities on a federal level. Zero access to retirement, social security, and disability benefits when a partner passes away. Federal taxes are filed as “single”. Our marriages and child custody rights are not recognized across state lines unless the non-biological parent adopts their own children in a court proceeding. Couples who are multi-national have no immigration rights the way straight couples do. I pay $150 a month more in federal taxes SIMPLY because my partner is on my health benefits.
HRC references over 1100 rights and responsibilities denied gay couples that straight couples get simply by getting married. They don’t make these up, they are straight from the General Accounting Office in Washington, DC. (Find the report here.)
I can appreciate that there are people who believe gay people are sinners, against God, or simply people who find the idea of two women or two men together an affront to their sensibilities. For the former, I’d like to point you to Whosoever, for a scholarly and historical take on the theology. For everyone, though, who believes that my family is somehow “less than” because there isn’t a man in the house, I refer you back to a post I wrote in the beginning of the month called Not That Different.
Lazy? Maybe. But the reality is there are only so many ways to say the same thing.