Wednesday, November 30, 2011
From My File Cabinet 1
Letter to State Legislator, 2003 (before Civil Unions and Same-Gender marriage)
I was born in 1948. I grew up Catholic. Everything was a sin. You get the picture. While my peers were dating and courting and marrying, I was struggling. Thank God, I won the struggle after 35 years, went through my "gay adolescence", dated, courted and now have a kind, loving and wonderful helpmate, companion and partner.
We have been together for 15 years. We own a house. We pay taxes. We donate to charity. We go to Home Depot. We eat out. We go on vacation. We vote.
We have families who depend on us from time to time...taking dad to the doctor, to the hospital, making funeral arrangements. Getting mom packed and moved to Florida. We have nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles.
Sometimes we need to go to the doctor too. We each have our own medical insurance. My partner is self-employed and his health insurance company has been bought out by another company. He may lose his insurance. I called my insurance company because the rate schedule they gave me gives prices for "Single Male", "Single Female", "Two Person" and "Family". So I called to see if he could be added under the "Two Person" category. I was told, "No, that's only for married couples."
Let me understand this. If, in your imagination, I got married to an opposite-sex partner today, my opposite-sex partner could get health insurance under my policy immediately. But my real, same-sex partner of 15 years and a shared mortgage and with powers of attorney is not entitled to get health insurance as one of two persons in a "Two Person" family.
That is just one privilege that is taken for granted by "married" couples and extended as if it were a constitutional right.
So we will seek insurance elsewhere. We are used to it. I mean we really are. We are used to having to deal with discriminatory laws and policies. We find ways. We somehow manage to get by. I takes a lot of effort. It takes doing homework and learning the legal ins and outs of what others take for granted.
We sometimes talk about what would happen should one of us die and leave the other with funeral expenses and a mortgage. Mom was married. She collects her dead husband's Social Security. Neither of us can collect our partner's Social Security. It's just another reality we deal with.
We don't want to ruffle the skirts of the Reverend Monsignor or the feathers in the cap of the Grand Knight of Columbus. We don't want them to change the Church (God forbid!). But we do want a civil, legal recognition of our family as a unit of shared lives, assets, responsibilities and privileges. It's really not a big deal...kind of like a corporation or small business. Can't you lawmakers just get past the sex thing? That's not what it's all about.