Archive for November, 2008
There are a bunch of people who still seem confused about why we’re upset about not being granted the same basic rights of civil marriage that other straight couples are granted simply by dropping into a chapel of love in Vegas. People seem to think we’re either being uppity and subversive, or trying to attack their churches, or any number of related distortions and lies.
Well lets clear this up. Its not about any of that. Its about the ever increasing number of basic rights our society ties to Civil Marriage. Wikipedia does an excellent job of listing these out out:
These are just the federal laws that treat married couples differently than unmarried couples. And this doesn’t even include state, local, and corporate rights and responsibilities. And, to be even more clear, these aren’t rights defined by the ‘liberal’ wikipedia – these are directly from a report produced by the General Council of the Government Accountability Office. These are basic allowances and responsibilities granted and expected of married couples.
And if you don’t want to wade through these here is a simple one. Kevin receives medical insurance through my domestic partner benefits at Apple (THANK YOU Apple). Those benefits for us are taxable income because to the government we are not married (We’re still not sure the effect of 8 on our CA marriage but either way the Feds still don’t recognize us thanks to DOMA). THese benefits are NOT taxable for my straight co-workers. So I’m being fined for being gay by our government – plain and simple. The State and Federal government is taxing me based on religious justification.
Sure, some of these i can reproduce through significant time and expense in a wide variety of legal documents, powers of attorney, conversations with family, and other means. But not all of them – yet EVERY ONE is legally granted and binding by any straight couple that gets drunk and goes to the chapel of love in vegas to get hitched. And, for my simple example – there is nothing I can do about that. Without marriage I will continue to be fined.
The other side can claim all the religious justification they want but until someone unties basic rights from religion I’m gonna keep demanding the right to protect my family. They tied religious marriage to personal rights and federal law – not me and no matter how you spin it separate is NEVER equal. Domestic Partnerships DOES NOT EQUAL Marriage in the eyes of the law. If something happens to me Kevin deserves all of the protections under the law as any other survivor does. Any arguments to the contrary are missing the point and if people don’t know that they need to.
So yea.. Still pissed…
(I promise more positive posts soon – I swear! )
Originally uploaded by SwimFinsSF
Kevin and I went down to City Hall this morning to be a part of the nation wide protest against the passage of proposition 8 here in California… It was an AMAZING day out and it was really great to see the number of people turn out to make themselves heard.
The rest of the phtos are here
Ok… more of a normal post this time… less of a rant… This weekend was a kinda surreal good bad weird sad kind of one… Whole weekend started friday around noon when Kevin picked me up to go to Lori’s funeral. While the funeral was profoundly sad and touching event it was truly AMAZING to see the sheer number of people who came out to say goodbye. Seems everyone thinks as much of her as we do and came out to help Ric, Bill, and the rest of the family cope. And to top it off it was an amazingly sunny day – you could feel her in the wind and sun!
Then that night we made it back to the city to walk the dog and just in time for the HUGE protest / march / rally against the passage of Prop 8. Seems there are one or two of us that are a little upset about that (more like 15,000 of us – at least thats about the number that came out en masse to take over the city). It was actually really great seeing everyone come out and make a stink. The march went from civic center, through the castro, and then over to dolores park. It turned out the march lasted all night with people camped out in the Castro until the morning (we pooped out WELLLLL before that).
The rest of the weekend was more mellow. Saturday was rainy and I just got a haircut and a Massage and then we went to dinner at the beach chalet. Yesterday was a little busier.. Dog walk at Chrissy field, brunch with Alex, Scott, and Adam, and then a photo walk with Randy and Rick. But still nice and mellow after the way things started off..
Anyway.. Told you it was boring. But after the roller coaster of last week I’m REALLY READY for a boring week.
One of my longest and dearest friends in San Francisco Bill lost his sister Lori this Tuesday. My heart goes out to her husband Rick, her son and brand new baby as well as Bill, Matt and the rest of her family and friends. Everyone who knew her will see to it that her two kids know what a ray of sunshine she is in all of our lives!
I’ve been thinking about this all morning… I don’t have any answers – actually just more questions… But the puzzle is how do I forgive those who voted in favor of stripping me of my marriage license? Over the past few days, and most recently this morning, i’ve been learning of people I went to school with, work with, and know in other circles that took steps to knowingly hurt me personally. And yes, it is personal, very personal. They claim that they did it ‘for the children’, or because of their religious beliefs, or ‘to protect the will of the people from “activist judges”‘ – but at the end of the day thats crap and many of them know it. They voted yesterday to say that their marriage and their rights are more important and valued than mine are and by doing that they sent a clear message that I’m less valuable and deserving than they are. Civil marriage isn’t about religion or children or voter’s rights. Its about civil rights and dignity and yesterday millions of people in our state, some of which I know, voted to strip me of both.
So what do you do about that? Do you stop speaking to them? do you yell and scream and threaten them? Many believe that there is no changing these people and its not worth your breath even trying. The problem with that is the alternative is carrying that with me each day and with every interaction – because even if you stop talking to ‘friends’ who may have done this you will still come across them throughout your life. And if there is anything i’ve learned over my life is bottled up emotions come out at some point and often in very counter productive ways (believe me – i’m good at this part).
I do know a few things though. I know that my relationship with and love for Kevin is every bit as valuable and worthy of respect and protection as any other couple. We have been together over 9 years and have experienced all the joys and sorrows that other couples have and then some. We have experienced christmases, birthdays, quiet nights infront of a fire, world travels, career troubles, arguments, death, and even cancer. And we have supported each other through every step of it and that will continue for a lifetime to come.
I also know that the same religion and God that was used as a weapon to belittle and discriminate against me is also the one that will help see me through this. I know people see a contradiction here but I don’t. My grandma told me throughout my childhood and to this day that we are all created as the loving reflection of God and if you remember that and turn to Him for help in trying times that He will help you come together with others and heal. I also constantly remember the Golden Rule. So even if others don’t remember this I do and it helps me.
Finally I know that, like so many other times in history, we will move beyond this. We are better than this and as people we learn and grow. Some times it takes years, decades, centuries but we do. Other communities have seen it. Jewish people have moved from a time of demonification, ridicule, and genocide to a day where we live in a society that relishes religious diversity. Women have moved from servitude and marginalization to a day where they are able to rise to their full potential whether that be CEO, College Professor, Mother, or Presidential Candidate. And African Americans have moved from slavery, bigotry, and segregation to a day where a black man can become President. And, if we take a deep breath and a step back we realize that the GLTB community has come a long way as well – I can walk down the street hand in hand with the person I love without fear of voilence, work in a place where they not only tolerate but celebrate who I am, and have family who fully supports me.
This isn’t to say all of these groups don’t have a LONG way to go still. There is still anti semitism, sexism, and racism that is like a cancer on this country. Many people experience all of the same challenges of decades and centuries gone by because of their religion, gender, or the color of their skin. And, as we learn this morning, there is homophobia among some of our longest friends, family, coworkers, and acquaintances. They can spin it in whatever ‘loving’ or ‘protective’ yarn that they choose but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck then… well.. you know…
So right now I’m angry.. and I’m hurt… and I’m going to have a hard time interacting with and respecting people who think I’m less of a human being and deserve less right and freedoms than they do. But I also know if I don’t learn to deal with these feelings and put them aside then I won’t be able to be a part of helping us grow as a society.
We’ll get there… it will take time… but I haven’t lost hope… and now we have the right role model in the drivers seat…
“YES WE CAN”!!!!
Ok folks… so its only 10:45 but a lot of news has come in…. Unfortunately Prop 8 is winning right now but its far from time to give up hope… and, more importantly, we’ve seen the more important bigger change which is the country has put the right person in charge of the country. Obama’s speech tonight brought me to tears (and i NEVER EVER cry). There clearly is hope for tomorrow in this country and we can move on to the next fight. So while we may be loosing an important battle, we’ve already won the war…. So however Prop 8 turns out (and i’m not going to stay up to sweat out the chruning polls) we just need to look at where we are and figure out what we do next. If we don’t win this one then we need to step up and keep pushing for the next day and help people understand..
I’ve never been so personally and emotionally tied to an election and, while I still see a lot of bigotry and hate in this country and this world its good to see signs that we’ve got things to hope for…
So what’s next people? lets make it happen!!!!!