I’m still waiting for some to explain to me why the government has the right to tell me who I can and can’t spend my life with, and what rights I have because of who I fell in love with. With most of the votes in in California, it seems like gay Americans will once again be reaffirmed as second class citizens–you can be with whomever you want, and if someone tries to kill you because of it, we MIGHT do something about it, but you have NO RIGHTS in this state, or this country, to your “partner” and his or her property, livelihood, or shared wealth, or well-being.
Let me say this, before I get ahead of myself. I, as a heterosexual woman, have the right to marry a man in the state of Indiana. I choose not to cash in on that right because I firmly believe the term “marriage” is one that is seeded in religion. I am not a religious person, so I have no desire or compulsion to become “married” in the metaphysical eyes of a creator. I do, however, wish to have the LEGAL rights that are tied up with the ceremony of a religious marriage. The mish-mashing of religion and the law in the subject of marriage rights is undeniable–religious ceremony and legal rights are being lumped into one dark, nasty pot, and the two need to be separated.
Please note that I don’t feel I am proposing a separate but equal type of thing–did we not decide as a nation that that is also discrimination? Just because we, as a state or nation, don’t have lines for “whites” and “colored” and “homosexuals” doesn’t mean that discrimination doesn’t exist from within our goverment that was created by the people. Here’s my Proposition. Let’s call it Proposition 88.8:
Every single person in this country should have the LEGAL right to a civil union-meaning, all of the legal benefits that are bestowed upon a couple once they sign what is currently called the marriage license, should be accessible to all, regardless of race, religion, color, or sexual orientation. That should be it, then and there. Sign that paper at your city county building by a justice of the peace as a witness to the signing of the legal document, and voila, you have your rights. No socially created “do you take this man” ceremony, no blood tests, nothing. Request the paper, sign it, have a witness sign it, and that should be it. Every person would have to go and do this. Everyone. Everyone would have a civil union (a LEGAL term).
If you’d like to get “married” in the eyes of your god(s), or to prove to your family that you did indeed save your innocence for one man or woman, or whatever your motivations might be, you may then pursue another certificate through your congregation and church if it so pleases you, and your religious leader can then officiate a ceremony and the signing of a CHURCH document proclaiming that God approves. Perhaps all religious leaders should have a giant rubber stamp with red ink that can be stamped onto the document, even removing the tradition of groom kissing bride, instead the officiant can then exclaim “GOD APPROVES” and whack the stamp on the document with comical force. You would then be “married” in the eyes of your family, and your god(s) and you friends and in your own eyes as well.
What is marriage? That’s my opinion of marriage, and historicalloy, marriage was a legal acknowledgement between two families. Marriage has always been a business arrangement, first and foremost. “Take my daugher into your household. She cannot inherit land or wealth, and I do not want to support her. She could give you a grandson, though, to carry your family name. So, take her, and we’ll have my daughter and your son attest to the terms of our arrangement before an audience to ensure that everyone know that she belongs to him, and to you, and she’s not my reponsibility anymore.” Marriage “vows” today are romanticized legal rhetoric, but “back in the day” our legal system wasn’t very advanced, and marriage vows were indeed a verbal legal agreement, hence the ceremony and the witnesses, and the performance of the ceremony by a “trusted” member of the church.
The problem lies here, two terms that are being socially intermixed and have created a heated debate, and violence, and all around assholishness. Marriage is a religious term and should be treated as such, and dealt with from within the church, and if a gay couple would like to be married in the eyes of their god(s) they need to take it up with their church and their religious leaders. The real issue is that of LEGAL rights. Here are just a few of the things that I, as an unmarried person, and homsexuals, do not have rights to:
Receiving Social Security, Medicare and disability benefits for spouses.
Receiving veterans’ and military benefits for spouses, such as those for education, medical care, or special loans.
Receiving public assistance benefits.
Inheriting a share of your spouse’s estate.
Receiving an exemption from both estate taxes and gift taxes for all property you give or leave to your spouse.
Creating life estate trusts that are restricted to married couples
Obtaining priority if a conservator needs to be appointed for your spouse — that is, someone to make financial and/or medical decisions on your spouse’s behalf.
Filing joint income tax returns with the IRS and state taxing authorities.
Obtaining insurance benefits through a spouse’s employer.
Taking family leave to care for your spouse during an illness.
Receiving wages, workers’ compensation, and retirement plan benefits for a deceased spouse.
Taking bereavement leave if your spouse or one of your spouse’s close relatives dies.
Visiting your spouse in a hospital intensive care unit or during restricted visiting hours in other parts of a medical facility.
Making medical decisions for your spouse if he or she becomes incapacitated and unable to express wishes for treatment.
Consenting to after-death examinations and procedures.
Making burial or other final arrangements.
Filing for stepparent or joint adoption.
Applying for joint foster care rights.
Receiving equitable division of property if you divorce.
Receiving spousal or child support, child custody, and visitation if you divorce.
Living in neighborhoods zoned for “families only.”
Automatically renewing leases signed by your spouse.
Receiving family rates for health, homeowners’, auto, and other types of insurance.
Receiving tuition discounts and permission to use school facilities.
Suing a third person for wrongful death of your spouse and loss of loss of intimacy.
Suing a third person for offenses that interfere with the success of your marriage, such as alienation of affection and criminal conversation (these laws are available in only a few states).
Claiming the marital communications privilege, which means a court can’t force you to disclose the contents of confidential communications between you and your spouse during your marriage.
Receiving crime victims’ recovery benefits if your spouse is the victim of a crime.
Obtaining immigration and residency benefits for noncitizen spouse.
Visiting rights in jails and other places where visitors are restricted to immediate family
That is an ABBREVIATED list. I have no right to any of that, because I choose not to be “married” as it is currently defined by the law. I’m not too familiar with legalese, but I don’t even think my written will can contest with the laws associated with “marriage” My will can be infinitely contested, but my marriage most likely will not be (I’m not Anna Nicole Smith and my partner is certianly not J. Howard Marshall).
So, those of you who voted on Proposition 8, or would vote in a similar manner in your own state if this were to become up for debate, are you in favor of denying an entire class of citizens their rights as listed above? Is it on the basis of denying PEOPLE their rights, or denying GAYS their rights because of a moralistic issue that was dictated to you through your religious scripture?
Think about it, because one is a political issue, and one is teetering on the edge of hate crime.
Read Full Post »