Yesterday, I posted a Facebook status that quite a few people liked and shared, including a couple of people who I don’t know who shared from their friend’s sharing of the status.
Erin later asked me, “What spurred on that whole rant?”
I told her about being at work and listening to music and “Same Love” came up on the rotation. I realized that I’d never actually seen the music video, so I watched it. The end, where the music is fading out, depicts an elderly gay male couple where one is dying in a hospital bed and the other one sits next to him, holding his hand, and waits. These images make me cry every single time I see them depicted on the screen, either in movies, videos, or just pictures. One, because they’re horribly sad and it’s horribly sad to lose a person you’ve spent so much of your life with and feeling helpless to stop it, but two, because there are so many LGBTQ people out there that never get this opportunity because of discrimination.
I realize that marriage isn’t going to fix everything that is wrong with the discrimination of LGBT people, just like desegregation and the civil rights movement didn’t fix everything for the people of color in this country, but it’s a place to start.
You, dear reader, may or may not have any clue who I am in person. This may be the first time that you’ve read anything I have to say. You may be a loyal follower. Maybe this popped up in your reader, or maybe it popped up in your news feed, but however you got here, I’m glad you’re here.
I don’t know anything about you, just like you don’t know anything, really, about me.
Here’s the deal: My name is Kel. I’m 29 years old. I am a fourth year teacher at a local area high school in a more conservative part of South Carolina. I own my home, my car, and I pay my bills and taxes, on time, like every good citizen. I believe that grocery stores are highly over priced and that Wal-Mart is the devil’s way of destroying the planet, so I avoid shopping at either unless it is absolutely necessary (I get my food at local farmer’s markets, vegetable stands, and Costco). I enjoy reading, writing, teaching, and working hard. I’m engaged.
I’m also gay.
I don’t know what you’re views are about gay marriage. I don’t know if you are reading this and for equality or not, and I’m not here to tell you that your beliefs about homosexuality are right or wrong. I’m not here to tell you that homosexuality is not a sin and that “love is love” and you should accept me. I’m not here to ask you to go against what you believe and bless my relationship with my fiance.
I’m here to tell you how the ban against same-sex marriage in South Carolina affects me. A 29-year-old female teacher who works hard to support herself and her family.
When I got my job four years ago, I put my dad as a sole beneficiary. If something were to happen to me, all of my life insurance money (and there’s a bit), would go to my father. It would easily cover the cost of my funeral, my debt, and and take care of my animals for a long time. I cannot change my beneficiary unless I have a life altering event happen that puts me back into a state of “open enrollment.” I can’t do this unless I get married, have a child, or some other huge event. I cannot legally get married in South Carolina, which means that if something happens to me, Erin will NOT get my life insurance money. Luckily, my dad is not an asshole and loves Erin to death as if she were his own, and he wouldn’t leave her high and dry, but this could be easily fixed if the judges were allowed to legally marry us. I’m lucky. There are couples out there who don’t have families as wonderful as mine.
I work for the state, and as a state employee, I have some of the best health insurance in the state. It comes straight out of my pay check, it has a super low deductible, and it covers pretty much everything that I need and want it to. I, luckily, do not need to use it very often, but it’s there for when I do. When Erin moved to South Carolina, her health insurance plan couldn’t follow her. She had to cancel it and get new insurance. South Carolina opted out of the Universal Health Care stuff, so Erin was forced to get a plan that she could afford. This insurance plan has a high deductible, and so it’s like not even having health insurance because she has to pay for everything anyway. If we could get married, Erin could go on my health insurance. We could cancel her current plan and just have her under mine, which would reduce any possible medical bills by 80%.
Last year, for the first time ever, I ended up itemizing my tax deductions. If Erin and I were married, we could file our taxes together and save ourselves quite a bit of money. Married couples can potentially save hundreds of dollars in tax money simply because they were able to get legally married in the state where the live. Instead, Erin and I have to spend extra money to file our taxes separately from one another. The cost of filing the taxes sometimes almost cancels out the amount of money we get, or it reduces by at least a gas tank full.
When Erin and I have children, I will be carrying. The children will be born via sperm donation to me. My name will go on the birth certificate, and for Erin’s name to go on the certificate, we’d have to have a lawyer and have someone from the state come out and observe our home. Then we’d have to go to the state and pray that the judge approve second-parent adoptions. It won’t matter if Erin was there every step of the way through the pregnancy, birth and child’s life. She will not be considered the parent of OUR children, legally. In heterosexual couples, married or not, this is NEVER an issue. “Oh, you’re the father? Okay, sign here.”
If something were to happen to me, our children wouldn’t legally go to Erin. They’d go to my family, probably my parents or my sister. It may not matter if I put it in a Will saying that they need to go to Erin. It won’t make a difference how old they are or if my family wants them to go to Erin too. The state would have every right to deny her access to her children because they aren’t legally hers. Even if I carry her biological child at some point, that child won’t legally be hers because he or she came out of me and not her. Can you imagine if your children went to your family instead of their father or mother because the state came in and said, “Sorry, but they aren’t legally theirs.”
Speaking of something happening to me, if I were to get into an accident and be placed in ICU, Erin may not get to be with me because she’s not legally “family.” If I end up dying, she might not be able to sit with me and hold my hand. She may not get to say goodbye to me. She may not get to make the final call in whether or not they “pull the plug,” regardless of any paperwork we have written up to the contrary. She may not be allowed to follow through with my final wishes of donating my body to a medical university, or my organs to a donor program, or cremating me and planting my ashes in the earth. My family could easily come in and tell the hospital no, and because we’re not legally allowed to marry, the hospital would side with my family. Now, again, my family isn’t a bunch of jerks, and they wouldn’t do this, but it’s a possibility.
And it’s something that happens to loving, committed couples all over the country every single day.
Like I said, I’m not here to tell you that homosexuality is okay. I’m not here to tell you that you have to accept me and my lifestyle and my family and relationship. I’m not here to tell you that you need to just “suck it up” and “get over it.”
I’m here to tell you that when you shout that same-sex marriage shouldn’t be allowed to happen because you personally believe that homosexuality is sin, you aren’t shouting it out to the nameless thousands…
You’re shouting it at a 29-year-old female from South Carolina who’s family is being denied rights that you get to enjoy every day. You’re looking straight at me and saying, “You don’t get to see your best friend who you’ve spent years with every day die. You don’t get to say goodbye. Your children don’t get to go live with their other parent if something happens, and their other parent doesn’t get the benefits from your life insurance policy.”
You’re looking right at me and saying, “You are not as good, not as human, as I am.”
This isn’t about what you think or feel about homosexuality. This isn’t about giving people “special rights.” I’m not asking you to believe homosexuality is okay. I’m asking you to let my children stay with their other parent if something happens to me. I’m asking you to let me take care of my family in the event of an accident. I’m asking you to allow me to provide adequate health insurance benefits to those I love. I’m not asking you to believe that homosexuality is not a sin. I’m asking you to believe that I’m a human that deserves to be able to do everything you do for your family… for mine.
Posted on October 17, 2014, in Love, Random Rants, Relationships, The Gay Agenda and tagged #EqualityNow, Bisexual, equality, Gay, gay marriage, GLBT, lesbian, Lesbian Relationships, LGBT, Love, marriage, queer, Random Rants, Relationships, same-sex, same-sex marriage, Transgender. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.