I saw this first over at Tales of the Sissy. Mark had this to say: 'Marriage vs. Civil Unions. I've even heard GLBT folks say they don't care about 'marriage' as long as a civil union would bring them the same benefits as marriage. But I always ask myself "Why would I settle for something less than equal?"'
I couldn't have said it better myself. Thanks Mark.
And now, on to business. In 2004, the Government Accounting Office identified 1,138 federal laws in which marital status is a factor in determining or receiving benefits, rights, and privileges. And these are just some of the benefits denied to gay and lesbian couples:
We cannot file taxes jointly, which results in higher taxes for us. Being gay is expensive. Maybe I should rethink it, and save a couple of bucks.
We have no legal right to visit a spouse in the hospital and can actually be barred from entering the room by medical personnel. Oh well, I hate hospital;s anyway.
We are not allowed to pass on our estate to a spouse tax-free, which creates a huge tax burden that can result in the loss of a spouse's home or business. Seriously, it's worth going straight if I can keep the house.
We can be fired just for being gay. I guess that's okay, because I can't afford it anyway, without the tax breaks and such. Gay and homeless, that's a double-threat. Or would that be homo-less?
We are denied special consideration for the immigration of a spouse, often resulting in a painful separation when a loved one is from a foreign country. God forbid we fall in love with a foreigner. Did you hear that Carlos?
We are ineligible to receive a spouse's Social Security pension or many other government benefits. But I guess that's okay, given the higher taxes, losing the house and being fired.
We do not have legal authority to make critical treatment decisions for their loved one. But why should we? We're less than. We're them. we don't matter.
We cannot ask for or receive domestic violence protection orders. Again, it costs more, we lose more, we can't make 'couple' decisions, and now we can't ask for or receive protection from violence.
Seriously, I should rethink this whole gay thing. This whole being less than, unequal, non-deserving, second-class-you-don't-matter-so-go-0sit-over-there-and-keep-your-queer-mouth-shut thing.
Or maybe not. Maybe, just maybe, I, and we, all of us, gay and the enlightened equality loving open-minded straight people--and you're out there I can hear you breathing--should rethink what's right, what's fair, what's equal. Maybe, just maybe, we should tell everyone we know, everyone we come in contact with, that we're gay, or that we know a gay couple, a gay person, and that we're tired of it. Tired of hatred and bigotry; tired of treating anyone.....anyone....like a second-class citizen, for any reason.
So, open your mouths and tell the world you're gay. Tell the world you're okay with gay people. It's okay. Really. It'll be okay. Carlos and I do it all the time; we shop as a couple and the checkers at Kroger's know us; we go out to dinner together and have celebratory champagne toasts on special occasions as a couple. I tell anyone who asks that my partner, my spouse, my better half, my significant other, is a man.
And so far, even here in Smallville, no one really cares.