Thursday, April 11, 2013

Why We're Fighting

Some days, days like today, all I want to do is curl up on my couch and cry and hide and hug my wife.  Apparently in Missouri, a gay man was arrested for trying to see his partner in the hospital.  The sick man's family didn't want him there, and the nurse refused to look at the power of attorney papers they had.  He was handcuffed and removed from the hospital.  Now he can't return at all because the hospital has placed him under a restraining order.  You can read the full story here.

I am constantly told by straight people, both ally and enemy to the gay community, that full marriage is not required.  That we have the capability of being just as protected as any hetero couple out there if we just have the correct legal papers in order.  Well, here's a newsflash for those who agree with that idea:

THEY HAD THE LEGAL PAPERS IN ORDER.

One more time in case you didn't quite understand:

THEY HAD THE FUCKING PAPERS IN ORDER AND STILL WERE NOT PROTECTED.

Regardless of the fact that Obama signed something "guaranteeing" that we would not have to deal with situations like this, apparently we still do.  Full legal marriage would prevent things like this.  A stack of papers "simulating" marital status does not.  This poor man just wanted to see his partner, who was lying sick in the hospital, probably just wondering where his partner was.  There is no telling what the stupid family told him about the absence.  They were obviously not the most supportive of the relationship from what I can tell.

THIS is why we keep fighting for marriage. Not civil unions or domestic partnerships, but full, protected marriage.  Yes, we take these lesser items when offered because any protection is better than none at all.  I will sure as hell be in line May 1 when Leon County, Florida starts letting us register as domestic partners.  We need the protection.  Just last year my partner had to have a surgical procedure, and I damn near gave myself an ulcer being terrified and worried that if (Goddess forbid) something happened I would be denied access and decision making ability.  That her family, which is 6 hours away and Jehovah's Witness affiliated, would be the only ones allowed to choose what happened.  I live my life this terrified.  What if I get hurt at work or somewhere, and they don't let her in to see me or make decisions for me?  What if...what if...what if... 

I'm tired as hell of living life terrified.  I decided long ago that my orientation and relationship were not secrets to be hidden.  I have not once changed a pronoun or deferred a conversation because I was worried about the consequences.  I am proud to be who I am, and I am certainly proud to be with my awesome wife of 15 years.  She's amazing and beautiful and brilliant and wonderfully geeky, but my pride will not protect us.  It will not grant either of us the power to control decisions if the worst happens.  And apparently neither will those papers of approximation. Think about that the next time you want to tell me a union or partnership or talk with a lawyer will be enough.    


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