Monthly Archives: June 2013

Striking Down DOMA, what I hope it means

June 26, 2013
By Jean

It is said there are over 1,000 federal benefits for married couples that my wife and I might be able to enjoy now that we are a federally recognized married couple.

I am hoping striking down DOMA means that we can travel more freely in the United States, knowing that if one of us were to become sick or be injured and require hospitalization, we can make decisions about each others care. Nothing is scarier than being at the mercy of people who do not support your relationship who have the power over your healthcare decisions. Now my wife and I will have the ability to make the most loving decisions on behalf of each other’s well being anywhere in the US. We can no longer be denied the ability to say which meds are ok, which treatment plan or surgery or end of life care is appropriate. Making Healthcare decisions is a right afforded every married couple in the United States. Now it will be afforded us as well. We can travel with peace of mind.

We can hold hands anywhere in the US. I am hoping that one day when my wife reaches for my hand anywhere in the country, there will come a time, when I do not have to say to her, “not here, I don’t think it’s safe to hold my hand here.” Because DOMA was struck down, I feel safer knowing the Federal Government has our back. Our love is more recognized, more universal, more welcome, more a part of the human condition.

There are other benefits that I am hoping will follow. These are just a few of them:

— Survivors’ benefits: DOMA barred gay and lesbian couples from many entitlement and welfare programs, including doles tied to Social Security. Same-sex spouses will now be eligible for Social Security survivors’ benefits upon the death of a partner, among other forms of assistance, according to a December 2012 report by the Human Rights Campaign.

— Tax-free employee health insurance: Federal law has lagged behind the almost 40 percent of Fortune 500 companies who offer tax-free employer-provided health benefits to domestic partners. Health coverage for the spouses of gay and lesbian employees will now be available without any taxable strings attached.

— IRS perks: Gay and lesbian couples have historically faced a higher tax burden than traditional couples, according to M.V. Lee Badgett, the Research Director at the Williams Institute on Sexual Orientation Law and Public Policy at UCLA. Same-sex spouses can now claim a host of perks, from estate tax exemptions to head of household deductions. What’s more, same-sex spouses can file tax returns jointly, avoiding additional strain on wallets.

— Emergency leave: Present law does not offer gay and lesbian employees time off from work to tend to a domestic partner or that partner’s family member, according to the Human Rights Campaign. But the guarantees provided by the Family and Medical Leave Act will soon become available to same-sex spouses.

— Green cards and visas: There are an estimated 28,500 binational same-sex couples — meaning one partner is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident and one isn’t — but DOMA did not allow the former to petition for the latter to immigrate, according to the Williams Institute. But gays and lesbians may now lobby the federal government for green cards or visas for a non-Amer

Share

Adoption

I have been on several family gay cruises and have seen so many happy families with well respected kids that were so well cared for by their 2 dads or 2 moms.

I have a stepson that has gone on the cruises with us and at 20 years old he still asks when can we go again. On one of these cruises they had a teen rap section to discuss living in a gay family. We asked him if he wanted to go he said “no need, I have no issues”. To him we are a happy family and he has “no issues”.

Watching these happy kids so well cared for really strikes a nerve when Florida will not let gay couples adopt. There are so many kids that deserve loving homes and the attention they need. It makes me so sad to see loving families that want to adopt a child that are denied on the basis of whom they love. The fact that kids can be left to languish in the foster system instead of being put into a healthy loving home is a horrible statement about our societies values.

 

Share

Same Love

I was driving in my car a few weeks ago and a song on the radio came on and got my attention.  It was “Same Love” by Hip-Hop artist Macklemore.  My first impression was “oh yeah, some artist trying to write a tune about the gay community” but after listening to the entire song,  I was impressed.  When I returned home, I searched on google to learn more about the artists’ incentive to write it. Mackelmore grew up with 2 gay uncles on Capital Hill in Seattle Washington and has been around the gay community all his life.  He realizes that the only way to stop the gay community from being oppressed is to “talk about it, write about it” and bring it to the front of the class!   It’s sad to me, that we, as a family, are still a “novelty” that needs to be “fixed”.   Gay marriage, equal opportunities, equal rights, the freedom to be who we are…. is it that so difficult to accept?   We have come a long way but the road ahead is still one that is being paved.  It’s artists like Macklemore that help tremendously to make a difference.   Different?  Difference! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mINGKrtG3iw

Share