Alex Blaze

Everything is not marriage

Filed By Alex Blaze | November 11, 2009 5:00 PM | comments

Filed in: Marriage Equality, Politics
Tags: domestic partnership, lesbian, LGBT, partner, rhode island

I'm more accustomed to calling out the idea that same-sex marriage will solve every problem that queer people face. No, it won't end school bullying, it won't give us all access to health care, it won't make our relationships any easier, it won't make people who don't like us respect us any more, it won't stop hate crimes, it won't make adoption rights equal everywhere, it won't stop the HIV epidemic....

And, on the other side, there are homophobes who seem to think everything is marriage. Even a law to allow people to bury their domestic partners:

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- An opponent of same-sex marriage, Governor Carcieri has vetoed bill that would have added "domestic partners'' to the list of people authorized by law to make funeral arrangements for each other.

In his veto message, Republican Carcieri said: "This bill represents a disturbing trend over the past few years of the incremental erosion of the principles surrounding traditional marriage, which is not the preferred way to approach this issue.

Seriously? That's marriage? The right to bury a loved one? The right to be buried by someone a person is building a life with instead of a possibly estranged family?

That isn't marriage at all, since one of the two people who would exercise this right would be dead and unable to marry. It seems like someone's got a bad case of the marriagestipation (that is, when someone just gets stuck on marriage when it comes to defining families or the LGBT rights movement and everything else is just... blocked).

The bill wouldn't have just applied to same-sex couples.

The bill, also sponsored by state Sen. Rhoda Perry and state Rep. David Segal, would add "domestic partners'' to the list, in current law, of people who can legally make arrangements for a deceased person's funeral, cremation or burial to include domestic partners if the deceased person left no pre-arranged funeral contract.

The legislation defines a domestic partner as someone who was in an "exclusive, intimate and committed relationship" with the deceased and had lived with him or her for at least a year prior to the death; is at least 18, not married to anyone else, not related by blood and who was financially "interdependent'' with the deceased as evidenced, for example, by a joint mortgage, shared credit card or domestic partnership contract.

According to its sponsors, the legislation is designed to provide rights to domestic partners regardless of whether they are of the same or opposite sexes.

And for good reason. There are plenty of elderly couples who don't marry because they don't want to lose Social Security or other benefits. Lots of straight people are putting off weddings while living together for many reasons, and, unfortunately, some of them will be putting it off forever. What happens if they don't have anyone else in their lives?

Considering the trouble it takes to leave create a will with instructions about who gets to plan a funeral, and the fact that lots of people don't want to think about death, all people who were close to a person who died should be available to make those decisions.

I didn't know that getting your body left at the morgue to be disposed of by the state if you didn't get hitched in this world was a "principle surrounding traditional marriage," but, hey, I'm sure Governor Carcieri's homophobia and conservative ideology make him an expert on the subject.

Deciding what happens after life is over... it's carnal. It's not about marriage and it's not a political football to use to advance a conservative agenda. Sometimes someone's unmarried domestic partner is the person who knows best, and they should have that right.

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What a jerk. RI is a 30 drive away from me, I'm in Mass and it could be a different planet.

I believe wholeheartedly that many same-sex couples would benefit greatly from the safety and security of having FULL AND EQUAL legal recognition.

That said, marriage referendums are losers for our side. Why did Referendum 71 pass? Because smart Washingtonians realized and recognized it was not full marriage. Had the Referendum been on full marriage, we may have been singing a different tune today.

We need to change the conversation to that of "BASIC RIGHTS" not "MARRIAGE." We need to change our language. When we let marriage rise to the top of the heap all of the time, it gives the right ammunition. Our Nation's founders--in all of their efforts to divorce the Government from the church--were a product of their time, and failed us on this point by not having the foresight to see that making marriage, a religious institution into a civil one, we'd be seeing nothing but problems in the future.

We need marriage, but the more we talk about marriage, the more that our enemies can link it to our other goals. We can't get Employment protections if the Far Right continues to convince their followers and the politicians in their pockets that its "one step to marriage and the defeat of the Family and Faith." If they can make the link, then our rights are doomed. Lets steer the conversation away from marriage.

I'm a big supporter of the DC marriage bill because its going to win. However, Michigan--my home state--beginning the process of repealing anti-gay Proposition 2 before they even have an Employment Non-Discrimination Act, is all just a mistake. They're never going to GET an ENDA if they start taking up marriage. Drop it.

Here in Illinois, we've met a lot of the pre-marriage benchmarks. However, I still would like to see ENDA passed nationwide and DADT repealed before we start talking MARRIAGE in Illinois. Just because we have stuff like ENDA doesn't mean we shouldn't be trying to help the REST of the nation get it!

My Partner and I simply want equal rights.