Why we need the protections of marriage

I’m going to depart from my normal petty rants and talk about something truly horrible that represents the exact reason we need marriage protections.

Last night it came to my attention that the long time partner of one of my former co-workers back in North Carolina passed away from lung cancer earlier this week.  This couple had been together for over 20-years and W (not the former US President) had been taking care of J for the past year while he fought the cancer.

First I’d like to say that I am very sympathetic to W in this time of personal crisis.  I lost my own father to lung cancer in April 2011.  It is a horrible, brutal disease that eats away at a body in combination with putting the person who has it and their caregivers through emotional hell.  I don’t wish this disease on anyone, and my heart goes out to everyone who has had to deal with this horrible situation.

Unfortunately J is gone and W is left to live the rest of his life without him.  W is a strong person, and I know he’s going to come out on the other side of this a bit bruised emotionally but otherwise he’ll be very strong.  Still, here are a few of the things that W has to look forward to because of the religious bigots in North Carolina, and their enactment of scripture into state law and the NC constitution:

  • W took time off of work to care for his partner at great personal expense because he was not allowed family leave by either the federal FMLA or NC State Law.
  • W was the sole income earner during the illness when he was able to work.
  • W and J had sizable assets that according to the recently passed Amendment One cannot be passed down to W solely and directly because any contract that gives the appearance of gay marriage in the State of North Carolina is not recognized as legitimate, regardless of the facts surrounding the issue.
  • W has no say in the disposition of remains or worldly possessions, even more shaky after Amendment One.
  • W will likely lose a huge amount of his net worth because of lack of that simple piece of paper known as a marriage license that is given to the special class of people known as heterosexuals.
  • W is ineligible for survivors benefits from either the federal or state governments because of DOMA and Amendment One
  • W will likely have to sell his home to finalize the estate, even if he wants to remain in it, because he was not allowed to marry the man he loved even though they were together for over 20-years.
  •  W is subject to J’s family coming in and poking and prodding through is life in ways that no heterosexual couple would ever be able to imagine simply because they have the protections afforded to them by the state that W does not.

There are many more things I could include but I’m not going to, because quite frankly this is enough to make me angry.  These people that tell us we can’t have meaningful and significant relationships have no clue what they are talking about.  When they tell people like W, J, and me that we’re not good enough, we don’t deserve the same things they do, and what we have should be enough, I simply tell them – look at W&J and then be ashamed of yourselves.

W & J are the shining example of how we gay people are capable of doing just as well the heterosexual monopoly when it comes to the stewardship of marriage.  Unfortunately there are still too many people in this country that want to turn a huge work of fiction into the basis for all our laws.

To them, I say look at W & J and the stability, love, companionship, and sacrifice each made for their enduring relationship and remember that when you pointed your finger at them and told them how horrible they were for wanting what you have, that they were evil, and that there was no way they could ever be a good example of stability and love, that four of your fingers are pointing back to yourself.

Shame on those of you who do this.  You keep telling us we’re going to Hell for who we love but as far as I’m concerned you’re all on the express train.

I’m off to write W a condolence card.

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