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Posts Tagged ‘Sen. Savino’

1,000+ Reasons for Marriage Equality

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

“What are we really protecting? We have a wedding channel. We are giving away husbands on a game show.” – Senator Savino

1000 reasons for marriage equalityThere is a list of more than 1,049 benefits and protections available to heterosexual married couples. These range from federal benefits, such as survivor benefits through Social Security, sick leave to care for an ailing partner, and tax breaks. They also include things like family discounts, obtaining family insurance through your employer, visiting your spouse in the hospital and making medical decisions if your partner is unable to. Civil Unions protect some of these rights, but not all of them.  If you receive a marriage license, it is recognized in any state. If you want to have a Civil Union, then it will only be honored in the state that provided it and does not hold the same protections.

The United States Constitution guarantees equality for all. Marriage and civil unions are not the same. Creating equal access to marriage is the only fair way to ensure equality for gay and straight couples alike.

According to Lambda Legal Defense, more than 1,400 legal rights are conferred upon heterosexual married couples in the United States. On the website, http://lesbianlife.about.com/od/wedding/f/MarriageBenefit.htm, they list twenty-five:

1.   Joint parental rights of children
2.   Joint adoption
3.   Status as “next-of-kin” for hospital visits and medical decisions
4.   Right to make a decision about the disposal of loved ones remains
5.   Immigration and residency for partners from other countries
6.   Crime victims recovery benefits
7.   Domestic violence protection orders
8.   Judicial protections and immunity
9.   Automatic inheritance in the absence of a will
10. Public safety officers death benefits
11. Spousal veterans benefits
12. Social Security
13. Medicare
14. Joint filing of tax returns
15. Wrongful death benefits for surviving partner and children
16. Bereavement or sick leave to care for partner or children
17. Child support
18. Joint Insurance Plans
19. Tax credits including: Child tax credit, Hope & lifetime learning credits
20. Deferred Compensation for pension and IRAs
21. Estate and gift tax benefits
22. Welfare and public assistance
23. Joint housing for elderly
24. Credit protection
25. Medical care for survivors and dependents of certain veterans

Just last week, my home state of New York, denied Marriage Equality by a vote of 38-24. It seems strange that after 15 years of being in a loving relationship with my partner, I am denied the rights of someone who could apply for a marriage license without hesitation as long as they are heterosexual. Senator Savino said it best in her testimony, We have nothing to fear from love and commitment.”  

Many of us have been made to feel less than at one point in our life because of the color of our skin, because we are women, because of our age. We all have a voice. Now is the time to speak up for Marriage Equality. I am committed to my life partner through sickness and health, for richer and poorer, until death do us part. How committed are you to equality?

If you were denied your right to collect your spouse’s social security benefits, would you sit and do nothing? If you had to pay taxes on your spouse’s health insurance benefits, would you sit and do nothing? If your spouse lay gravely ill in the hospital and the hospital denied you rights to make medical decisions, would you sit and do nothing? If you and your spouse adopted a child, but you were denied joint adoption rights, would you sit and do nothing?

Would you say it was just not the right time for these basic rights to be given to you? Tell me what date, day, and time will be the right time and I will be there. In the meantime, now is my time.

Mary Anne

For a clear picture of Marriage Equality, please listen to New York State Senator Savino testimony.

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