Monday, October 13, 2014

Wedding Week Repost: Equal Rights Aren't Special Rights

This first appeared on ISBL back in December 2008, and it reinfoirced the belief I had then, and the belief I have now, especially given that I am getting married this week, that, while some folks were all gung ho for Civil Unions, they were "less than."

Equal Rights Aren't Special Rights

This is a good day for gay marriage. Another step in the right direction, toward equality. 

After allowing civil unions, the New Jersey Civil Union Review Commission has come out with a report that says Civil Unions don't work, that the only fair, equitable solution, is for New Jersey to join Massachusetts and Connecticut, in allowing gay men and women the right to marry. 

Marry. Say it with me. Marry! 

Because, as they say, it is still 'separate but equal,' this civil union business. It creates problems for gay couples, and gay couples with children regarding medical care and so on. 

A few years back, when we were still living in Miami, Carlos had appendicitis, and we had to rush him to the Mount Sinai on Miami Beach for surgery. Of course, he's in absolute pain and we have to admit him and fill out paper work and all that rot, but I found something interesting. 

They were asking him who to notify, in case of emergency. He pointed to me; the nurse asked if I was his brother, or another family member. I thought I knew where this was going and I tried to jump in before Carlos answered, but I was too late. 

He's my significant other, Carlos said. 

The nurse gave us a look, stared at the computer screen for a moment, and then smiled. I get to use the new form, she said. We have a category now for same-sex couples, to put down the contact person as a significant other, or spouse or partner. She told us they hadn't been able to do so in years past and it created difficulty for gay couples. 

Now, I could make decisions for Carlos if necessary. I could stay in the room with Carlos while he was hospitalized. i was allowed to wait in the Family Waiting Room when he had surgery and the doctor came out after the procedure to tell me Carlos was fine. 

I would have hated to be at Mount Sinai in 'years past' and been denied visitation because I wasn't family, been denied information because I wasn't family, denied being treated equally because I wasn't family. 

Of course, now we're in South Carolina and I don't know if that same generosity of spirit, that understanding of what makes a family, what makes a couple, exists here. But New Jersey is showing us that it can, and it should. 

I don't want to be treated differently than anyone else, I want to be treated the same. 


anne marie in philly said...

and now alaska has same-sex marriage! YAYZ!

BloggerJoe said...

I remember, about ten years ago, I had accidentally come out to many people through an inadvertent email, and I was explaining it to a close friend. At that time, he didn't understand why we wanted to be married. He said civil unions should be good enough. I asked when "separate but equal" had ever worked in our country. Last week, I asked him if he wanted to join Tim and I and two other close friends for our courtroom ceremony and his answer was "Hell, yeah!" People change, attitudes change, and, thankfully, policies and laws change.

viktor kerney said...

Change is coming whether they like it or not

Mark in DE said...

I have always agreed with you that civil unions are not equal. They create a different classification, and 'different' is inherently not 'equal'. In our case we had a civil union anyway because in our state it gave the same benefits as marriage and allowed me to get on my husband's insurance. Fortunately it was converted from a civil union to a marriage the following year.

Happy wedding week!

Mitchell is Moving said...

Can't believe how things are changing! I've always been frustrated with people who couldn't understand why our legal status (as a couple) mattered. I would always use medical emergencies as an example.