Why am I so outraged about the outcome of last Tuesday's vote?
Let me spell it out for you.
Recently in our lives, Nancy and I have been embroiled in "family issues". Her Dad died two weeks ago on Tuesday, all the related issues that go with that sad situation have us both on edge and really stressed out. Add to that, my Mom lives with us and has the beginning inklings of a health issue, the details of which I won't go into yet as nothing has been confirmed. Both of us are being pulled in opposite directions, doing our level best to be supportive of and helpful to our family. We are worried and concerned about our family.
Us. Love. Responsibility. Respect. Caring. Support.
[Bahram Maskanian, defines family] "A family is a primary social group in any society, typically consisting of a man and a woman, or any two individuals who wish to share their lives together in a long-term committed relationship with one another, raising offspring and usually residing in the same dwelling.
Family is the main building block of a community; family structure and upbringing determines the social character and personality of any given society. - Family is where we all learn: love, caring, compassion, ethics, honesty, fairness, common sense, reason, peaceful conflict resolution and respect for ourselves and others, which are the vital fundamental skills, and family values, necessary to live an honorable and prospers life in harmony, in the world community."
The Definition of Family.
Governor Baldacci signed the Marriage Equality bill into law last spring here in Maine. That law gave legal backing to our family and all other families in Maine. We had the rights that we'd fought for for so long and so hard. It was right in our hands...
We have what's called the People's Veto in Maine. http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/elec/peoppak.htm
Before the law could officially go into effect a Peoples Veto was enacted. The political process in action....
In essence the veto was asking that a right, a law that the legislators and Governor agreed upon was to be put to a peoples vote to over turn it. To remove a right that was given. To take something away from a group of people.
What decade are we in again??
Tuesday, the law was repealed.
What did that do exactly?
Well... I'll tell you.
One of the arguments was that we already had the ability to have a civil union or a domestic partnership.
Would you give up your marriage license to get one of these?
What does your marriage license afford you that these don't?
At the very least your marriage license allows you - without question, to go into your husband or wife's hospital room and hold their hand as the die.
To support your spouse on their deathbed... without question - access to your family.
Nancy and I don't automatically get that right. When I was in the hospital last year for my knee replacement, we had to FIGHT with the recovery nurses to let her in to see me after surgery. Even though we placed her on all the forms and spoke to everyone we could that she was my next of kin...
Your marriage license grants you, the surviving member of this union to your spouses Social Security and pensions, if they are larger than your own... financial security, financially responsible for each other.
Responsibility for your family.
Nancy and I don't automatically get that. Should she pass before I do, the mortgage on this house will be automatically paid off... but can I, on partial disability, working a part time job and getting the occasional teaching gig with my artwork, could I afford to keep this house up alone? I doubt it.
By repealing this law they have denied us and every other gay and Lesbian family the right to be legally and financially responsible for each other.
That's what the repeal of this law did to us on Tuesday.
Rights were taken away from me.
Today, in 2009.
However, mostly I'm ashamed of our society and I vow to educate people about my life.
Education and telling my truth... that's what will change this wrong.