olliefree: (rainbow)
Congratulations to Vermont!

Marriage equality began last night as the clock struck midnight. I am so excited for all of my Vermont friends who can now be legally married, and have their marriages recognized.

Even if you're not in Vermont, you can celebrate with Ben & Jerry's, as they're renaming Chubby Hubby, Hubby Hubby for the month of September.

"At the core of Ben & Jerry's values, we believe that social justice can and should be something that every human being is entitled to," Ben & Jerry's Chief Executive Officer Walt Freese said in a statement. "From the very beginning of our 30 year history, we have supported equal rights for all people. The legalization of marriage for gay and lesbian couples in Vermont is certainly a step in the right direction and something worth celebrating with peace, love and plenty of ice cream."

I couldn't have said it better myself.
olliefree: (rainbow)
Isn't there always a "but"?

(via Mombian)

DC becomes one of the first few jurisdictions to pass laws protecting the rights of both parents when two women have a child together

(more here)

I was wondering if something like this was in the works when they decided to recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, given the rigorous hoops that same-sex couples have to jump through for a second parent adoption -  when they live in a jurisdiction where they are lucky enough to even get such a thing.

But to be honest - I was thinking more along the lines of researching what DC requires for step-parent adoptions, as I assumed the process would be more along the lines of that.

Oregon also recently ruled that if a biological mom's same-sex partner agrees to an insemination, they de facto have parental rights to the child, but the new DC law goes beyond that. In states where there is marriage equality, such as Massachusetts, if you are married, you get these rights as well - both partners, regardless of gender, are listed on the child's birth certificate from the get-go. But to have this in a jurisdiction that doesn't actually offer marriage equality is a huge step in the right direction.

But you said there was a but! you may be saying. Yes. And it's a big one. And that is that, while it's amazing to have these rights in places such as DC and Massachusetts, same sex parents still have to go through the expense (in time, money, and emotional energy) of getting a second parent adoption done in order to protect the non-gestational parent's rights. But why?

Because until DOMA is lifted, states that officially don't recognize same-sex marriages - as well as those that flat-out don't feel like it on any given day - do not have to recognize the non-gestational parent's right to be on a birth certificate. A birth certificate is an administrative form, and if a state or bureau doesn't recognize a same-sex union, then they are not required to recognize the parental rights that should automatically be derived from becoming a parent while in that union. Which is why lawyers have, for years, still been encouraging those in Massachusetts to still get a second-parent adoption, despite having these rights to be on a birth certificate from the start. A second parent adoption is done by court decree, and regardless of another state's standing on marriage equality, they are REQUIRED to abide by a court decree, therefore giving the non-gestational parent parental security, regardless of where they may travel. I'm assuming the same will be recommended for those couples fortunate enough to fall under this new DC ruling.

Just another example of why, while baby steps are good and important, DOMA is the big fight.

olliefree: (rainbow)
To bring you good news: As of 12:01am this morning, Same-sex marriages performed elsewhere are recognized in the District of Columbia.

While it's not a big step, it's a step nonetheless.

In my own jurisdiction, same-sex couples no longer have to pay (state) inheritance taxes on property. Now if only J and I owned property, or, you know. Were looking to die any time soon. Er.

olliefree: (rainbow)
Or trying to, at least.

I have to say this: I am not an impatient woman. (Yes, I can hear the laughter from here.) What I mean to say is that, given that politics and government were what I studied, with the intention of joining those despicable creatures that I later realized I couldn't put up working with, I understand that anything related to government is going to take at least twice as long as people think or want, and that's being on the very conservative side.

Yes, I would love to see DOMA repealed. As a woman who is legally married to her spouse elsewhere, having our marriage recognized by the federal government would have the greatest effect and benefit to my life. But I know that that is not a priority, especially given the state of the country when the new administration took office.

I admit I was a bit persnickety about the DADT thing, as I agreed with the legal scholars who said that, much as segregation in the military was ended by a President, so could this discriminatory issue. Yes, it would still be on the books, and it's important to have Congress remove it, but the President, as Commander In Chief could put out an order restricting the military from spending any money on the processes that enforce DADT. But, begrudgingly, I admit that I understand where the administration is coming from in the way they want to remove it. (That doesn't mean I'm happy about it. Just that I understand it.)

And the DOJ filing last week. On the surface, well, yes. As somebody who's now spent the majority of her working life in the legal field, I understood it. When a case is brought against you, you fight it. You move to dismiss, and you fight it in any way possible. That's what you do.

But then I read more of it. And it turned out to be more of the slanderous, baseless name calling that we've been hearing for years. While the DOJ (and I in no way, shape or form, think that Obama had a hand in crafting it, nor do I expect that he read it before approving it - if he did so personally at all) was absolutely right in that they have a duty to defend it, the manner in which they did so was despicable and disgusting.

Which left me not at all surprised by the White House's gesture last night. But oh, how I wish it could have been anything but a gesture. It certainly has no substance. This post ("If Barack Obama was Gay") very clearly and succinctly sums up what the LGBT community of Federal Workers will and will not get out of this Memorandum. Please read it, and then return.

Yes, they are good things to have. I won't deny that. But that shouldn't be put out there as appeasement. Those benefits are things that should be granted automatically. Along with all the others. And DOMA prevents you from offering health insurance to their partners? Well, then, how is it possible that my company, among many many others in this country, provide health insurance to Domestic Partners? It's not DOMA forbidding it - it's because the policies in place that run the federal agencies say that it's only available to married couples, and DOMA says that married couples can ONLY be straight.

That means that you COULD offer health insurance benefits to partners of federal employees, but choose not to.

Shame on you.

I won't go into the myriad other problems I have with this, but I want to say:

President Obama,
My wife and I, and the family we are planning, are loyal citizens. Of this country, but also of yours. You are our President, and even if we hadn't voted for you, you would be our President. You promised many things, and I know that while not all promises can be kept, lately you have been showing that your promises mean less than nothing. You stood silently while states granted marriage equality - and as one state took it away. Your spokespeople have been made to look like fools, referring reporters and questions back to your statements a year ago during the campaign. These latest moves have been worse, though, than the silence. They show that the government of our country that I am so proud of shows not a lick of respect for me or my family.

Please fix this. You can, and you know how. If you believe, truly, as you stated during your campaign, that marriage equality should be a state-by-state issue, then allow it to be so. While I know that the repeal of DOMA is not something that can happen in a year, let alone overnight, say, publically, that it is WRONG. Show us, and all of America, that you know right from wrong. Show America that you are who we thought you were. Condemn those who move us backwards in the fight for equality and fairness.

You can do this.

You've made, and allowed to be made, wrongs. Now make them right.

olliefree: (Default)
Here, have a video. Found via Pam's House Blend, it's really fantastic.

olliefree: (rainbow)
This article is an excellent description of one of the main reasons that I am so staunchly for marriage equality, and for the repeal of DOMA. I put J on my insurance last year for a few months when she changed job, as her new employer had a 90 day period of non-coverage (not untypical in the non-profit world). I can't think if she even needed to go to the doctor in that amount of time, but I don't regret it for a minute - and I'm very thankful to have had the ability to do so.

But it gave me a giant kick in the balls come tax time. And off my paycheck.

That is not equality. We a married couple, we have our marriage certificate, we should be able to do simple things such as this without having to pay a penalty.

And there are people out there, using this as an excuse to argue against marriage rights for LGBT citizens, saying that the states and government would lose money, having to provide things like social security benefits to widowers, and by losing those extra tax dollars that we pay, when we're able to put our partners on our insurance, and that insurance companies would lose money by converting individual policies to family policies (as opposed to the wingnuts who say that insurance companies would lose money because LGBT people get sick more often than regular people. Really? REALLY?!? and even if that bit of insanity were true, these are - generally - people who are already covered; it just costs more to get the policy). And that absolutely infuriates me.

As it is right now, Marriage is a special right, and the people arguing against marriage equality, for whatever the reason, want to keep us from having access to the simple rights and responsibilities that they take for granted. I've said before that it "doesn't matter to me what other states do" and that remains truer than ever. Obviously, I want equality to win out over hatred and ignorance, but until the Federal Government gets rid of DOMA, no matter how many states attain marriage equality - be it through the courts, through bills, or through one day, hopefully, a vote of the people - most of what we want in those rights will still be out of reach, because these things are through the Federal Government, and not State Governments.

Obama has said it's a State Issue. If he truly believes that, then the only real way to let it be a state issue is to let the federal government recognize the marriages from those states (or countries) that have granted marriage equality.

Text of the article behind the cut. )
olliefree: (Default)
There's a fun but not quite safe for work (depending on your work; just some foul language and finger-giving) video behind the cut. Not normally my style of talking back to the opposition, but I couldn't help but smile.

Video behind the cut... )
Meanwhile, I'm waiting anxiously for the Maine House video feed to start - they'll be voting on LD1020, Maine's Marriage Equality Bill, which the Senate passed last week. Yeah, that means beware twitterspam.
olliefree: (rainbow)
New York's Governor Paterson has re-introduced the state's Same-Sex Marriage Bill

Will New York be the next state to ratify Marriage Equality? That I don't know, and I'm not willing to place bets on. When the bill was first introduced in 2007, it made it past the house, but not the senate, and I don't know nearly enough about the constituency and representation of the state as a whole to make any guesses.

But I do feel that people standing up and saying the things that Patterson did today, of making this a big issue, is important. I think it's extremely important to make the statement that the Governor of the state is against the kind of passive discrimination that exists when there isn't marriage equality. Over 1,100 rights and responsibilities that you do not get when you have a Domestic Partnership or a Civil Union. That's not fair or equal. Whatever you may think of how he's handled other issues in the state, I have to say that today, I'm impressed.

I am not in any way attempting to instruct either the majority leader of the senate or the speaker of the assembly. They know their houses they will introduce their bills at the appropriate time. I am here to speak against those who I think are antagonistic and antithetical, and always have been, not only to Marriage Equality, but for EQUALITY for Gay and Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered citizens, who have stoked the flames of what is really an honest difference of opinion, or maybe even a little trepidation in favor of making sure that no legislation is ever passed at all, and I will not permit it on my watch. It's time to take a stand.


[. . .] rights should not be stifled by fear. What we should understand is that silence should not be a response to injustice. And if we take no action, we will surely lose. Maybe, we have already lost.


olliefree: (Default)

June 2014

2223 2425262728


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags