Wednesday, October 24, 2012

It's a basic right, not a "special" one

I have a friend I'm going to call Carl. He has made me laugh a million times. He has a story about meeting Diana Ross that I could hear 100 times and never get tired of. When we worked together back in the 1990s, I couldn't wait to get to the office every day because I loved working with him so much.

Carl has a long list of health problems, and I've no doubt he would be dead from such were it not for his being covered by the healthcare plan of his partner, whom I'll call Joe. It is only because Joe works for a company that allows domestic partners to be covered under the company's health insurance that Carl has the medical treatment he desperately needs.

No matter how many legal documents Carl and Joe might have drawn up by a lawyer, any hospital can prevent Joe from visiting Carl if he's hospitalized - and Mitt Romney wants to make sure that right is protected. And, Zeus forbid it, if Carl were to die, any funeral home could prevent Joe from making any arrangements regarding the service or Carl's final resting place, per the wishes of Carl's sibling, his closest blood relative and with whom Carl doesn't speak to for months at a time. Mitt Romney wants to make sure that practice stands as well.

If you vote for Mitt Romney, you are telling my friend Carl and millions like him: tough luck if you die. I love the health benefits I can give to/get from my committed partner, but I do NOT want you to have the same.

It doesn't matter how many legal documents this couple draws up - this couple that's been together longer than many of the straight married people I've known - because, as their union, their family, does not have to be legally recognized by the government.

It's happened in Florida. It's happened in Nevada. And while the spouse of every astronaut that dies receives benefits to take care of her for the rest of her life, the long-time partner of astronaut Sally Ride will not. It's happening all over the USA.  

If you are against gay marriage, you never have to attend a gay wedding. You can choose a community of faith (church, mosque, temple, whatever) that will never host a gay marriage (there are also still churches that refuse to marry what they consider an interracial couple, or people from different religions - take your pick!). You can refuse to invite any gay couple to your pool party. You can refuse to call someone a wife or husband. You get to keep all those rights.

But if you are voting for Mitt Romney, then you are denying basic human rights to millions of Americans that you yourself get to enjoy. Don't you DARE say to any of your gay friends, "Hey, it's nothing personal." It's absolutely personal. You can't participate in the denial of a person's basic civil rights and make it all better with a smile. You need to own what you are doing, completely, utterly, instead of being a coward and trying to sugar-coat your bigotry. You should post to your Facebook status update:

I don't want gay people to be able to visit their partners in the hospital, nor to allow a gay person to be covered under his or her partner's health care plan, nor to allow gay partners to receive the kinds of benefits a straight widow or widower would receive. I want you, a gay person, to sit alone while your partner's estranged family gets to make all funeral arrangements and take away his or her belongings. That's what denying gay marriage means, and I fully embrace and own that meaning.

Another friend of mine posted this to his status update today, and it's what inspired my own blog now:

If you plan on voting for Romney, then - in essence – you are voting against my civil rights as a person. There is no cherry picking around this. You can’t get just get one small slice of the Romney/Ryan pie – you must eat – Every. Last. Crumb. Of. It. 

I own my beliefs. I dare you to do the same.

Also see: Please De-Friend Me.

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