Why aren’t we in a constant state of outrage?

 

My friend K asked me that the other night.  Good question.  Why aren’t we, I wonder?  We, most of us, get up every morning and go to work, we take care of our families, walk our dogs and pay our bills.   We try to quit smoking or lose a couple of pounds, call our moms on Mother’s Day, have a glass of wine for dinner, do our homework and make plans for vacation next summer.  We’re pretty ordinary, most of us.  We’re not savages hell-bent on destroying the foundations of the American Family.  We just want the same rights as everyone else.

The issue that outrages me the most is the fact that we cannot collect our partner’s Social Security benefits.  I know there may be no SSN benefits by the time I retire, and I know they won’t amount to much if there’s any money left.  But it does chap my hide in the most severe way imaginable that if I die first, my partner won’t get my SSN benefits.  Financially it may be a small thing, but in terms of civil rights I believe it is the grossest violation of all.

Here are some examples from right in our own small town that point to the total inequity of the situation:

My partner T works with an Eastern European woman who has been in the US for about 10 years.  She married her first husband, at her own admission, to get her US citizenship – which she did.  Then she divorced, remarried and is now working on getting citizenship for her current husband, who is also from Eastern Europe.

T’s boss is on his fourth marriage.  His current wife is from Asia.  She’s working on her US citizenship now.

One of her boss’s three ex-wives works for the same company.  She is currently on her third marriage and her spouse is on his second.

In case you’re wondering if T works at a big corporation where examples like this would be easy to collect, there are only 15 employees in her small company.  Between these three couples, there have been ten (10) marriages.  Three out of the six individuals were not born in the US.  All six are eligible to receive their spouse’s SSN benefits, but T and I are not.

I don’t question the right of any of these people to marry as many times as they’d like.  I don’t judge their choice of spouse, or wish any of them would ‘go back to where they came from’  (truly, I love these people).  And I most definitely do not want to deny them the right to collect their spouses SSN benefits.  I am just outraged that the same rules do not apply to me and my partner.  We are on our first ‘marriage.’  We were born and raised in the US, and have been together for almost 8 years.  What about that makes us less deserving to take advantage of a benefit fund we’ve both been paying into for almost 30 years?

Why isn’t everyone outraged all of the time?

Prop 8 in California, and other ballot measures across the country designed to deny citizens their civil rights, must be defeated.  Defeating these measures won’t grant us Federal marriage rights, but they are an important first step in the battle.

CA: http://www.noonprop8.com
CA: http://www.eqca.org
AZ: http://www.votenoprop102.com
FL: http://sayno2.com

If you know of other, relevant ballot issues, send them to me and I will post.

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2 Responses to Why aren’t we in a constant state of outrage?

  1. sonAmerica says:

    I noticed your blog mentioned Prop 8, and I wanted to respond with some thoughts on that. Prop 8 isn’t an issue about “rights”. It is about preserving the definition of “marriage” as between a man and a woman. Gay people can do what they want, and they can even enjoy many civil benefits through civil unions and the such. But that isn’t marriage. Gay people should be treated with kindness and respect, like anyone. Gay people aren’t the issue here nor the problem. The problem is that 4 arrogant judges in black robes sitting in their ivory tower overturned the express will of a clear majority of California citizens when they ruled by fiat and illegally legislated from the bench when they unilaterally redefined marriage. Prop 8 allows the citizens of California to say no to Judicial Activism and Judicial Tyranny. There are elements of the judiciary that are way out of control and are endangering the balance of power in our republic by getting involved in “legislating”. This has got to stop. Voting yes on Prop 8 will help put those elitist judges back in their place and let them know they cannot arrogantly overule the will of the people in a matter as fundamental to the future of civilization as the bedrock institution of marriage. That is something important enough that it should not be left to 4 elitist judges to impose by fiat.

    May I speak a word to my gay friends, neighbors, coworkers, and fellow-countrymen. You are a minority and I’m sure you recognize that. And that is ok. But please show kindness and tolerance for the rest of us and vote with us to help preserve marriage as between a man and a woman. I know you may not have any personal parochial interest in voting yes on Prop 8. But as your friend and neighbor, I’m asking for your vote to help preserve the definition of this institution that is so important. Thank you.

  2. achievementgap says:

    Please help me to understand, because I don’t, at all. How is the preservation of the definition of “marriage” as between a man and a woman beneficial to you, or to society?

    And, while I actually appreciate and understand your concerns about judicial activism, there is a history of it working to override the will of the people for the common good… in the 60s, with regard to interracial marriage. Judges overturned a decision of the majority of the people to grant the right of interracial couples to marry. 30+ years later, do you think that was the wrong thing to do?

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