Tag Archives: marriage

Queer Choices: marriage Equality at the Crossroads

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Eek! Marianne and I have just five days to go before out Wedding Weekend Extravaganza(!) begins. I’ve been busily getting the centerpieces for our table decorations procured, making a packing list for Thursday evening and trying to switch Friday’s outdoor ring exchange ceremony to a location with lighting because (as M pointed out yesterday) it gets dark by 6:25 p.m.

Anyhow, I’m currently at work catching up on my professional Twitter Feed and I came across the following gem from the Chronicle of Higher Education‘s blog. I’m including what I think are some of the best lines, but I really think you ought to read the post in it’s entirety.

Queer Choices: Marriage Equality at the Crossroads

Claire Potter

From the blog:

I must admit that sometimes when I am with heterosexual people who want to discuss the slow march toward equal rights, my queer soul seizes just a little bit. Please don’t take it personally if you notice. It means I am suffering the transformation from subject to object that occurs when I am discussing a lifetime of queer choices and dilemmas as if they were occurring in someone else’s life.

I think most GLBTQ folks have been there. We’re having a nice conversation at a dinner party and suddenly the topic turns to equal rights. To retain some semblance of decorum, we must separate ourselves from the topic of conversation (we as the “subject” must reframe ourselves as an “object” and pretend that the conversation is simply theoretical).

Even though I have accomplishments, money, a home, friends and a job, I actually know that the laws my life depends on are only a ballot initiative away, that other people’s feelings and insecurities about their straight families are widely perceived as justification for limiting the resources and rights available to my queer family.

I’ve written about this before. It’s a weird place to live, this space where I know that my rights and the laws that govern me are entirely dependent on how other people feel about their own families. And it sucks when 60 percent of the 30 percent of registered voters that came out to the polls in May were not comfortable enough with their own relationships so they chose to restrict the available choices for me.

 If life is a series of choices for everyone, queer life is a series of queer choices, of evasions, of making do, of coping with anxiety and with limitations.

She then goes on to give examples of the Family Rate for auto insurance that depends on how sympathetic the agent is to my specific situation; that only six states “recognize my humanity” while 19 states refuse any sort of legal protection (never mind marriage or civil unions) to GLBTQ folks in relationships; DOMA requires that GLBTQ folks that do live in states with marriage equality pay a separate tax rate at the state and federal levels; and knowing that a vast number of people think I can just abandon my “queer choice” of Marianne as a partner of almost five years for a man.

Oh what times we live in.  Why are our rights on the ballot? In that case, why not let the Taliban vote on whether women should go to school?

Shout out to Green Street UMC!

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Go Green Street

I’ve always known that Green Street is one heck of an amazing place, but now it’s official – Green Street was named “Best LGBT-Affirming Faith Institution in the Triad” for 2012 by Q Notes, a Charlotte, N.C.-based gay and lesbian newspaper.

During the Amendment 1 campaign, Green Street sort of became the go-to place to hold meetings, have events and get support from. Along with other houses of worship in Winston-Salem, we showed the so-called Christians who were actively voting against my rights as a lesbian that not all religious-based institutions feel the same way.

And Green Street did it all without ever catering specifically to the gay community, but by sticking to our 2009 Reconciling Statement which calls us to love everyone:

Green Street United Methodist Church is called to the ministry of the sacred worth of all people. We embrace as a gift the diversity of our neighborhood and the world. We celebrate our human family’s diversity of sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, age, faith history, economic status, marital status, physical and mental ability education, and any other difference, real or perceived. We affirm that all people are created in the image of God and as beloved children of God, all are worthy of God’s love and grace. We welcome the full inclusion of all people in the life and ministries of Green Street United Methodist Church as we journey toward reconciliation through Christ. We recognize that there are differences among us, but believe that we can love alike even though we may not think alike. We proclaim this statement of welcome to all who have known the pain of exclusion and discrimination in the church or in society and know that everyone’s participation in our ministries enriches us. We invite all people to join us in our faith journey toward greater love, understanding, and mutual respect.

I am so proud to be a member here and seriously, if you’re looking for a church in Winston no matter who you are, check us out. If you’re curious about some of the work we’re a part of, check my blog here and here.

Seriously…go Green Street!

Get your paperwork in order

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Over the weekend, Marianne and drove to Winston-Salem to celebrate the engagement of two friends she had set up about a year earlier.

As we were driving West, going about 70 miles an hour in the far left lane, I notice something in the roadway. As I was driving, I did my best to avoid it…to no avail. My right rear tire hits whatever it is and next thing I hear is a CRASH! and a Hissssssss…. one meant I had a flat, I didn’t know what the crash was.

Luckily Subarus tend to be crazy safe so I didn’t have a major blowout, just a slow letdown. As I change lanes and pull over onto the right shoulder of the road, I notice a silver car pulling up behind me.

How nice of them. They must be pulling in to see if I’m okay.

As I stop my car and Marianne and I get out, we turn around to say thanks to the folks behind us and see this:

HOLY CRAP!

Turns out we ran over an 8-10 inch piece of solid steel, about two inches thick. The thing weighed about 10 pounds. And then as we ran over it, we kicked it up and behind us into the right lane next to us…and into their front window.

The husband and wife both exited the vehicle, he was slightly bleeding from the shattered window glass that had fallen, she had glass all over her lap. The state trooper who eventually pulled in to make sure everyone was alright found it in the back seat of the other couple’s car. Seriously, if the gentleman in the passenger’s seat had been leaning over to tell his wife a story, or reaching for a drink in the cup holder, or any other of the 10 million things you do while riding as a passenger, he would have been killed. And I still have no idea how she didn’t jerk her wheel any and cause another accident.

Thankfully everyone was okay and, after a nice tire change by the AAA guy and a set of four tires later, Marianne and I were back on the road.

The whole incident got us thinking about (besides the obvious ‘hey your life could change in an instant’) how important it is for gay and lesbian couples who cannot get legally married to get any other sort of paperwork they can in order.

Currently, Marianne and I have no will, no powers of healthcare powers of attorney, no living will…nothing that makes us able to legally make decisions for the other if some freak accident (or a 10-pound hunk of steel) comes at us full force. Doing a quick Google search, I found the Human Rights Campaign Website that offers a list of what all LGBTQ folks should have. At minimum, it recommends:

  • Co-Parenting agreement (if there are children in the relationship);
  • Domestic Partnership agreement;
  • Donor agreements;
  • Durable Power of Attorney for Finances;
  • Health Care proxy;
  • Hospital Visitation authorization;
  • Last Will and Testament; and a
  • Living Will.

Some of this stuff is expensive, although I have found that certain “family-friendly” lawyers will do them for a slightly smaller fee.

 

You’re talking out both sides of your mouth David’s Bridal

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I’ve written before about how the entire Wedding Industrial Complex (WIC) is geared toward straight folks, bu when I went shopping for a wedding dress and finally, after much searching, ended up at David’s Bridal, I was kind of confused that they were so accommodating to me as a lesbian.

I’ve also written before about how much wedding spam I receive, but even in their emails to me, David’s Bridal has been mostly neutral on the straight/gay marriage descriptors.

Well, not anymore.

I received an email today with the subject “KATIE: Change Your Name the Easy Way” with a link to DB’s partner, a Web site called MissNowMrs.com.

When I opened the email, I kind of wanted to reach through the screen and choke whoever was on the other end of it.

After months and months of (trying to) ignore the fact that the WIC doesn’t really want to involve me, I get his in the face with it all over again.

And, for the record MissNowMrs.com, changing your name in a lesbian relationship in a state where your marriage won’t be recognized is NOT an easy thing at all. Bite me.

Get excited for our wedding registries!

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Equality for All!

Just a quick note in between M getting home at 9:30 pm and her heading out for ice cream at 11 pm…

We started our wedding registry at target online the other day and after about 15 items we kinda of sort of maybe needed…we ran out of ideas. The problem is that we’re grown adults who already have everything we need to furnish our home (and M said I couldn’t ask for anything for the cat. She thinks it’s tacky but Dear Abby begs to differ. Hmmph!) so asking for a better version of what we already had seemed like a waste to me.

We thought about what to do and finally came up with a solution.

We’re asking people to make a donation to either Equality North Carolina or the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, two fantastic organizations that work for causes both M and I are passionate.

So…there you have it. Simple. Easy. And no purchase of a $350 toaster necessary.

A 3-minute perspective change

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You’ve got to fight…for your right…well…just for your rights, actually.

Sometimes I love my job as a community newspaper education reporter. I always like it, but today I love it.

I’m writing a story about the North Carolina Pre-Kindergarten program designed to serve at-risk children who otherwise wouldn’t get a high quality education before they started Kindergarten. Long story short, the N.C. legislature wrote a section in their 2011 budget bill that placed a 20 percent cap on the number of at-risk children allowed to enroll in NCPK, as well as imposed a co-payment on children attending and drastically decreased the NCPK funding. Certain counties challenged the law and in July 2012 a judge ruled that the state was in the wrong – all eligible at-risk children must have access to NCPK with no “artificial barriers” like co-payments. The state balked and appealed the ruling but on Aug. 21, an appeals court upheld the July ruling.

All this matters because if the ruling stands and the state doesn’t appeal it (again), more than 700 children in my county could have access to a high-quality pre-k program they might otherwise never get.

As part of my story, I ended up speaking with Rev. William Barber, president of the N.C. State Conference of the NAACP who reminded me how important it is to continue to push for what’s right, regardless of party affiliation.

This shouldn’t be a Republican or Democrat issue. 144 years ago blacks and whites together guaranteed public education to every child (by way of the state constitution).

In the end, Barber said the legislature continues to hurt the most vulnerable in N.C.’s population, the 24.7 percent of the state’s children living in poverty, to protect their own interests.

This is bad for all children at risk. If you help children early, you ensure their success and ensure future of state and county.

Along those same lines, I got thinking about my rights as a lesbian in America. Currently North Carolina has a state legislature who just bullied an amendment that violates my rights through their ranks and got the voters to approve it in May and America is ripe to have the worst federal government in recent history for women and LGBTQ folks if voters don’t pay attention.

If the legislature can’t even abide by what’s been in the state constitution for 144 years, the right to a “basic, sound public education,” then what hope do I have that they will protect my (currently non-existent) rights to love who I want to love and to have all the legal protection necessary to care for my family?

I don’t, so it falls to me and other voters to get informed, educate others and work to gain legal and election victories in November and beyond.

Tuesday I was feeling a bit jaded and over the whole activist thing. Funny how one little three-minute phone conversation can change your perspective.