We do have issues. Some are personal, some are within our
community, some are how we are treated within our countries,
and some are the misconception some people have about us.
Would you marry if you could? That is a huge commitment. You
could not just pack your bags and leave if you chose to, presumably
because of the financial intermingling of assets. There is a
lot to be said for just living together forever. In the heterosexual
world there is the option to marry or not. The marriage rates
are down, the divorce rates up and living together is a socially
So why marry? One reason is the tax benefit. For example,
married people get health coverage for spouses that is not
added salary to be taxed. Social security benefits are available
for survivors; death benefits and income are there for married
survivors. Children also are a trigger for people choosing
to marry. Some still feel the stigma of a "bastard" child.
However, society is much more forgiving these days about the
transgressions of the parents. There have been changes in
schools, health systems, and financial systems so that
marital status is less controlling than in previous generations.
However, for stability, for commitment, for security, for
assurance of parental influence, getting married remains the
standard precursor to a "family with children."
As more and more gay and lesbian couples decide to have
children - adopted, foster, or biological - new challenges
are dealt with on a state-by-state basis. Yet the most basic,
missing link is a legally sanctioned protection for the property,
inheritance and offspring of the non-traditional family.
Because of this, there is no automatic protection for any of the members of
the "family" structure, meaning that every aspect of social
protection must be created artificially.
The Civil Unions now recognized in Vermont may be the precursor
and role model for other states. Natural difficulties include
achieving reciprocity in other states and will occur over
the long haul. Yet each victory for civil recognition
will provide more stability and protection for the long term.
Congratulations to Vermont. Who will be next?
In view of the uncertainty of life, there is nothing more
important for survivors than an assurance that their quality
of life can be maintained upon the demise of a partner. Many
court cases are based on survival rights when there is no
will or testimony of the relationship. In such cases, "legal" heirs may assume
their inheritance without regard for long-existing but legally
unrecognized relationships. Put it in writing, have a will,
do the simple paper work to protect your partner from further
pain with your demise. Work with an attorney to get the legal protection you need for yourself and your family. This becomes even more important as marriage and domestic partnerships are offered in some states and not in other. Protecting the children must be paramount as geographic moves are made into hostile territory. We are all going to
die; get over it, and be proactive.
Marriage the new horizon
The past few months have just caused a social revolution and opportunities for gay and lesbian couples to marry. The legality of the marriages may be in question as states and cities are issuing marriage licenses. For a long time I thought getting married was really not necessary if we could have civil unions.
I have absolutely changed my mind about accepting less than full recognition of my relationship. In that regard Diane and I were married in Portland, Oregon on 19 March 2004.
And it does make a difference. We came home with this strange sense of legitimacy after being together for 15 years. There is a sense of legal recognition that may not be real but certainly feels that we have a societal recognition we did not have before. It is just a big, big deal for us as our love continues to flurish.
Out and Proud Every Day
Pritzker Military Library
Extensive private military library and more, available to public.
Intersex the unspoken sexual minority
The Intersex Society of North America (ISNA) is a nonprofit advocacy
group working on behalf of people with intersex conditions. ISNA's
mission is to end shame, secrecy, and unwanted genital surgeries for
children born with atypical reproductive anatomies. In the U.S.
alone, five children are subject to harmful surgeries every day.
ISNA advocates an ethically sound, patient-centered approach to
intersex treatment, and works directly with health care professionals
to change medical practices. ISNA also engages in public education
efforts to end the idea that intersexuality is shameful or freakish.