This week’s topic has long been rumbling around in the back of my brain, but I have avoided it because I don’t really like to discuss my political views in the open. However, the topic isn’t actually, or at least shouldn’t be, a political issue. I’ll keep it short and if I alienate readers, so be it. Some things just need to be said.
I was recently asked to review some requests for verification relating to my husband’s work. Basically they needed proof that our children are eligible to be on his insurance and proof that I am eligible to receive his life insurance should anything happen. Normally I skim these kinds of things, but for some reason I actually read this one. Under terms of eligibility for his spouse, the first qualification was that I be of opposite gender.
I did a literal double take. There is was, in black and white, not even fine print. In order for me to receive any of the legal benefits allocated to me by my husband, I had to be a woman. Now I am very much aware of the on-going debate regarding same-sex marriage in this country. It is probably the ‘hot button’ issue that most directly affects people I love and care about. I cheer the victories, no matter how small they may be; I am angered when those victories are almost immediately redacted by fearful politicians. But never have I seen in such simple terms this discrimination.
If the person with whom I share my life is not of the opposite gender, our relationship is worthless and I deserve nothing if he is taken away.
If we live together for X number of years but never get married, as long as I am of the opposite gender, I am entitled to the rights of his wife.
How can this still be happening?
What really sickens me is thinking of a family acquaintance who is in his 30s, working on his third marriage. He marries girls who are barely legal, produces children he can’t support financially or emotionally, and inevitably gets divorced. The current wife he married so she could get health insurance. They did have the decency to wait until his previous divorce was finalized–roughly one week.
Yet, my friends who have been together for 15, 20 years are denied not just the piece of paper, but the basic rights given to companions because they happen to be of the same gender.
I’m not saying all same-sex couples last; they don’t. They make mistakes and fall in and out of love just like the rest of us. Because they are human. But our country doesn’t give them the right to be like the rest of us . . . human.
After I read the paperwork, I brought up the sick feeling it left with me to my husband. He actually considers himself a Republican and is deeply spiritual, in addition to a biblical knowledge which puts most church goers to shame. His take was so clear, so right on, that I have to share it.
This is not a political issue. It is not up to the government to tell us who we can and can’t marry above the age of consent. This is a human issue.
And it shouldn’t be an issue at all.